Book: Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination


My fascination with Japan is not limited to anime and manga. I absolutely love the food, the culture and fashion, the country itself and more recently the books. I have yet to learn Japanese, although years of anime watching has given me a basic understanding of certain often used words. Still, to be able to read Japanese books, I require them to be translated into English. So it was my good fortune that allowed me to find a rare translated Japanese book at the library. In addition it was a mystery book, filled with short stories by Edogawa Rampo, the father of Japanese mystery writing. Oh the joy!

Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination consists of 10 short stories, from the titles they may sound like horror stories akin to those Japanese horror movies that are so popular (and way too scary). However not all of them are that horrific, if I were to classify them, they would probably fall into  the psychological suspense kind of genre. The stories play with your mind, they are gripping and many contain a twist. For me, this is what makes mystery books so fun to read.

The twist! It really makes my heart leap. The growing realization of what is to come as the story unfolds and as you reach the climax, the end turns out just the way you expect it to, but no the story doesn’t end there. Bam! You’re hit with a twist that makes you smile with glee. Admittedly most of the twist makes the story itself less twisted and seems to lessen the horror of the story. Of course not all the short stories in the book contain a twist, some are just really well crafted (sometimes perverse) stories. The styles or story telling changes from story to story, but they are all interesting and I enjoyed most of them. Some creeped me out a little, but as a whole the book was a good read. It took me about a half a day to get through.

In addition at the end of the book there was a list of books by Tuttle publishing, titles from Japanese writers that they’ve translated to English. And guess who I found on that list? Dazai Osamu who wrote No Longer Human, which was the first story to be animated in Aoi Bungaku. I’ve already watched that episode and now I can’t wait to find the book to read! Oh the excitement! This list has become my guide to more Japanese books, which hopefully can be found in the library.

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  1. […] was mentioned I remembered the short story I read from Edogawa Rampo. Lo and behold it was that particular story that got turned into a film. Can I just say that this side of Japan that is […]

  2. […] been brought to the world by Tuttle publishing, who incidentally published Edogawa Rampo’s Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination which I reviewed. I will probably write a post on Tuttle Publishing soon, but in all honesty, this […]



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