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Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,744 Ratings  ·  175 Reviews
Collected in this chilling volume are some of the famous Japanese mystery writer Edowaga RampoOCOs best storiesOCobizarre and blood-curdling expeditions into the fantastic, the perverse, and the strange, in a marvelous homage to Rampo's literary mentor, Edgar Allan Poe. "
ebook, 242 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Tuttle Publishing (first published 1956)
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Bill  Kerwin

Edogowa Rampo--just say his pen name quickly three times to discover how much he loved Edgar Allen Poe--is considered the first and foremost writer of Japanese mystery fiction. He is also much more.

His stories, structured as popular "entertainments," are designed to convey all the pleasures of genre, and yet they possess an elegance and intellectual complexity greater than mere popular works. In this Rampo resembles Borges, and yet the two writers are very different. Borges is more philosophica
Aug 01, 2011 Mariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: armiel
Recommended to Mariel by: ramlie
The perfect murder. Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination, or, as it should have been called, How to do the bloody deed and get away with it without facing criminal charges or the accusing finger of society (the bird, probably). No civil suits, no karmic payback! No coming back as a roach in the next life, that's right. It's essentially the same perfect murder in a lot of the stories. The getting away with it the appeal rather than the murder (wouldn't anything else work just as well?). It ...more
Having just finished off The Science Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe, I wasn't quite ready to fully return to the world of novels. Luckily this book was recommended for this month's book club read and very perfectly the author's name is a pseudonym, a play on Edgar Allan Poe. Say it out loud: Edogawa Rampo. Get it?

These stories are certainly not as gruesome as some of Poe's, and they're certainly not as long as some of Poe's either. But these are good too, in their own right. If nothing else, they're
Lee Foust
Jan 09, 2014 Lee Foust rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent narrative craftsmanship shines forth in these tales. Quite enjoyable from the first story to the last in a crystalline manner. True to his American namesake, Edgar Allan Poe, a couple of these tales of Rampo's feature those weird moments of horrific imagery that makes Poe's tales so unique--even when there is little in the way of plot to recommend them--and in other tales, the careful step-by-step plotting of the mystery story is at work, revealing the narrative like a gallery worker s ...more
Oct 23, 2011 Clint rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 20, 2007 Tosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Edogawa Rampo (say the name out loud) is one of the great literary figures in 1920's Japan. His short stories are a combination of erotica mixed with horror. Within Japan he is probably one of the most well-known writers - and rightfully so, because's he fanastic.

If you like gothic drug induced sexy stories - then this is for you. A must for those Opium nightmare nights!
Favorite stories; The Human Chair, The Caterpillar, The Hell of Mirrors.

Loved The Caterpillar, a war veteran is so disfigured and maimed that he resembles a caterpillar. I read that it was banned in nationalistic war mongering Japan, wonder why. It was also recently made into a movie.
Nesa Sivagnanam
This is apparently the first volume of its kind translated into English way back in 1956. There are nine rather odd stories. Certainly they are unlike similar tales coming out of the West.

There is a story of a quadruple amputee and his relationship with his wife. He's a war hero but is effectively a caterpillar now wrapped in his clothes. It's a tragic, terrible tale of two people bound and trapped together.

Then we have a very ugly carpenter who makes a chair destined for a hotel. The chair is
Nov 30, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-red-circle
I found this at an Oxfam bookshop in Manchester, and it made my day. Best find of 2011! And this isn't the Rampo book I have already ordered through my local bookshop (and has yet to arrive). How lucky is that?

The Human Chair: My favourite. It's all gone a bit "Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected".

The Psychological Test: How to catch a criminal with word-association games.

The Caterpillar: Disturbing.

The Cliff: Not amazing.

The Hell of Mirrors: Nuts. I liked this line: "having now reached the age
Rebecca McNutt
These different strange and surreal stories reminded me a lot of stories like Dark Water and The Ring - very different and very well-written.
Sep 06, 2015 Pustulio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ohhh señor que joyita de autor es esta eh!

Tiene todo para que sea mucho más famoso de lo que siento que es. Tal vez estoy en un error pero al menos aquí en México es muy desconocido.

Un autor que en todas sus historia tiene algún tipo de twist, muchas veces puedes intuir o al menos imaginarte que es lo que va a pasar pero en la mayoría los twist si son una gran sorpresa. Es demasiado sádico a veces pero nunca más de lo que la historia necesita.

Quiero más libros de él.

Y ahora Japón:
Winter Branch
Aug 07, 2007 Winter Branch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people that like weird stories
Shelves: fiction
Cool, creepy, nicely crafted short stories from Japanese writer Edogawa Rampo. Sadly, very little of his work has been translated. The only shortcoming of this collection is that the themes of the stories start to blend together. But most of the stories are 5 star status such as the two stand-outs The Human Chair (a guy hides himself inside a chair to experience contact with others), The Caterpillar (a limbless war veteran is slowly tortured by his resentful lover).
Amy Gentry
Jun 24, 2016 Amy Gentry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where has "The Human Chair" been all my life? I can't believe it took me this long to read the 20th-century Japanese weird-fiction writer Rampo. This short selection of stories was not only the first Rampo to be translated into English, but, according to the translator's preface from 1956, the first collection of any Japanese mystery stories to be translated into English. Some of the stories are truly disturbing, others silly; all of them are amazing in one way or another. For lovers of ETA Hoff ...more
Aug 08, 2014 Doug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird, mystery
These nine stories are not horror but often not-quite-not-quite horror, and sometimes are something like mystery tales but with a twist of examining the psychological motivation behind the mystery more than anything like the crime. This combined with an excellent translation by James B. Harris imbues Ranpo's collection with an immediate sense of the classic and a helpful dose of the lurid and pulp. Much like the obvious influence of Edgar Allan Poe, Ranpo [note: Edogawa Ranpo is a play on E.A. P ...more
Chris Cabrera
Although I'm not an avid reader of Poe, many of these stories do resonate with the dark aura that his stories had. I can concur with what I heard about other authors injecting more of Japanese culture, tradition, and philosophy into their detective fiction versus Rampo's stories that borrow places, names, but still feel very vague and not entirely "Japanese". It might alienate those looking for something with a tinge of Japanese culture but certainly welcomes the reader worldwide who are just lo ...more
Gardy (Elisa G)
Stavolta mi sento di dover fare un distinguo per giustificare la votazione.

Edogawa Ranpo è un grandissimo scrittore di mistero e di detective stories, quindi per il contenuto della raccolta mi sento di consigliare vivamente (come ho fatto da ben prima della pubblicazione) questo volume: seppur tra alti e bassi, l'immenso "la sedia umana" e gli ottimi "la camera rossa" e "il viaggiatore con il quadro di stoffa" sapranno darvi quel piccolo brivido che alcuni lamentano di non provare più dopo la l
Dec 30, 2012 Bei rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Presented in short stories, these tales did not strive for technical complication in plots, but guided the reader through the entwining lane ways in the darker part of human psyche. There is a lot to miss about classic Japanese mystery writings in early 1900s, and this is an excellent introduction to Rampo's universe.

Many elements in this book are of typical fascination in this genre: mirrors, wells, twins, sleepwalking, obsessions… Not all the stories are about killing, and not all the killing
Jan 03, 2013 Feras rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Divided as "Tales of Imagination", pieces of intrigue & psychological thrillers, and "Tales of Mystery", crime stories. Besides in the introduction no actual distinction is used in the book, the nine stores are randomly ordered. The themes are really different, in all the crime stories only one features a detective figure and he's not even the main character. The focus is generally on the Perfect Crime, with the murderer narrating the story. Very cool I thought.

The stories are generally very
Apr 26, 2008 Dfordoom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-gothic
The stories in Edogawa Rampo's collection “Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination” are ostensibly mysteries; in fact Rampo (according to the introduction) was Japan's first writer of mysteries. Many of these tales deal with obsessions of one kind or another. Often sexual obsessions, or obsessions connected in some with sex or have a sexual element. Some stories aren't crime stories at all - “The Hell of Mirrors” is simply about a man obsessed by mirrors, obsessed to the point of bringing abou ...more
Dec 04, 2007 Decendant_of_Darkness rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who like to read about people killing each other
Could you imagine being trapped in a crystal ball, killing people with simple words such as look out, or even killing your two husbands? No, well in the book Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination, by Edogawa Rampo has stories about all these things. But the most common thing in the stories, although this does not apply to every single one of them, is that it somehow involves murder. For example in the story The Red Chamber this guy kills 99 people, with simple words such as “LOOK OUT” or “ ...more
juan carlos
Jul 25, 2015 juan carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grandes cuentos de suspenso que te muestran lo retorcido de la mente humana, gustos macabros que te aterraran y te pondrán la piel de gallina. Estas historias van desde el arte sombrío hasta el romance trágico paranormal. Obsesiones y asesinos inteligentes navegan en estas paginas provocando risas macabras y sangre de victimas inocentes.

También los giros paranormales en estas historias dan un toque formidable que todo lector amante del terror aplaudirán.
May 28, 2015 Justine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I can't believe I never read something by Edogawa Rampo considering "Edogawa Conan". I guess I never thought something of his had been translated. But here it is!

A mix of short stories that are more horror than mystery. I always thought Edogawa Rampo was a mystery writer like Arthur Conan Doyle, but his stories definitely have more a dread aspect than mysteries would.

From this collection, it seems that Edogawa Rampo had an interest in the perfect crime. What precisely would be the perfect crime
Oct 19, 2015 Lokidm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hoy he terminado este libro por tercera vez.

Edogawa Rampo recuerda al mejor Poe, con relatos llenos de fantasía, misteriomisterio y terror.

Cada uno de los relatos de este libro te sumergen en distintos mundos, mundos que posiblemente ya has visitado con otros autores, pero vistos de un nueva, e inquietante, forma.

Posiblemente, mis favoritos sean la Cámara Roja y La Butaca Humana, pero todos ellos son fabulosos.
Las historias policiales son las más flojas de esta colección de relatos puesto que no incluyen ningún giro inesperado en la resolución de los crímenes; en contraste, la lectura de las de terror o misterio me resultó mucho más amena. De todos modos es un libro que se lee rápido y para mí finaliza de forma inmejorable porque mi favorito fue precisamente el último relato, El viajero con el cuadro de las figuras de tela.
Luke Farr
May 05, 2011 Luke Farr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Few people realize that Edogawa Rampo takes his name from the Japanese pronunciation of "Edgar Allen Poe" (Edoga Waram Po if that helps) but in this collection of short stories the inspiration is clear. This book contains stories of the macabre and the shocking that ultimately could be taken right out of a collection of Poe stories. "The Human Chair" included as the first story, is definitely one of his more famous stories. However I would suggest that my favourite from the collection is "The Tr ...more
May 07, 2009 Jimmy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-100
Edogawa Rampo derived his pen name from the classic American thriller writer Edgar Allan Poe. And as such, Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination Paperback is a collection of short stories that emote the same sense of foreboding that his American counter-part did. Set primarily in the phantasmagoric culture of early 20th century Japan, each story captures the reader's imagination as it blurs the line between what is real and what is not. Prepare to question even what YOU think is true in this ...more
May 10, 2016 Chupacandrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You will never look at an armchair the same way again.
3 1/2 stars. Some of the visuals will live in my brain for a long time.
Overall: Keeping to the themes of ero-grosteque & crime, I enjoyed some stories more than others. Bless the foreword by Welch, as I've found confusion rather than closure at most of the sudden ends of the short stories. I felt like I was missing some crucial pieces, say the moral and/or intent of the story and my misplaced queasiness, but mostly I wonder the thoughts of other fellow readers who have skidded across the same words as me. Towards the end, I can't but wonder what strike Edogawa ...more
Denisse Garza
Jun 19, 2015 Denisse Garza rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, 3-stars
Taro Hirai escribe bajo el seudónimo de Edogawa Rampo, que es el nombre de Edgar Allan Poe en japonés. Basándose únicamente en el título del libro y en el nombre de su autor, creo que sabes muy bien qué esperar de este libro.

Este libro tiene 9 historias cortas:

La butaca humana
El test psicológico
La oruga
El precipicio
El infierno de los espejos
Los gemelos
La cámara roja
Los dos inválidos
El viajero con el cuadro de las figuras de tela

De todas las historias, mis favoritas fueron la del infierno de los
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Hirai Tarō (平井 太郎), better known by the pseudonym EDOGAWA Rampo (江戸川 乱歩), sometimes romanized as "Ranpo Edogawa"), was a Japanese author and critic who played a major role in the development of Japanese mystery fiction.
More about Rampo Edogawa...

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