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The Curious Casebook of Inspector Hanshichi: Detective Stories of Old Edo
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The Curious Casebook of Inspector Hanshichi: Detective Stories of Old Edo

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3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  102 ratings  ·  22 reviews
"That year, quite a shocking incident occurred...." So reminisces old Hanshichi in a story from one of Japan's most beloved works of popular literature, Hanshichi torimonochō . Told through the eyes of a street-smart detective, Okamoto Kidō 's best-known work inaugurated the historical detective genre in Japan, spawning stage, radio, movie, and television adaptations as we...more
Paperback, 335 pages
Published January 15th 2007 by the University of Hawai'i Press (first published 1937)
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Capsguy
I didn`t mind the read for what it was, I just wish that Hanshichi`s antagonists put up more resistance when he had them cornered. Seemed a bit too easy for him to track down and subdue the criminal elements.

Pretty good book for learning about Edo period and eras before, with the translator having notes at the bottom of the page for elements the average foreign reader may not be acquainted with. (Change of city names over time, festivals, shrines, plays, prominent individuals, cultural aspects a...more
J.
Sep 21, 2011 J. rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: day trippers
Shelves: asia, japan, mystery
What we have here is a group of stories written between the teens and thirties of the 20th century, about Edo Japan of the 19th century-- wrapped up in 'detective' clothing. Mr Kido was something of a literary entrepreneur, and like Conan Doyle and Wilkie Collins, was a serials writer in the then-newly-popular vein of detective fiction.

The actual crime and detection aspects are pretty much secondary, though, in a compilation easily enough seen as nostalgia for a bygone era. It's a difficult com...more
Leslie
An enjoyable collection of stories. Hanshichi is sometimes called the Japanese Sherlock Holmes, but the comparison is misleading. The stories were written in the 1920s and 1930s, and the retired Hanshichi tells them to a younger friend in Tokyo in the 1890s, looking back to cases in Edo in the 1850s before the Meiji Restoration and the transformation of Japan. So, unlike the evocation of contemporary England in Doyle's stories, these are deeply nostalgic, looking back to a vanished world divided...more
Vicki Beyer
These short stories reveal the life and times of a city and its inhabitants in a time of social and political change. Our guide on this adventure is not the narrator but his "source", the detective Hanshichi, whose knowledge, insights and judgement solve cases with a practicality that is refreshing. These are "whodunits", but the reader doesn't become so absorbed in figuring that out, because there is too much to savour on the canvas of life and social interactions that is painted for us.
G.R.
'The Curious Casebook of Inspector Hanshichi' is comprised of fourteen tales, all but one (the first) recounted by the retired Inspector Hanshichi himself (by this time, purported to be well over seventy years old), and retold to us by the young narrator. The first tale begins in the 1880s, when the narrator, then a boy of ten, hears of the elderly Inspector Hanshichi for the first time from his Uncle K, with the following thirteen stories being told to the narrator, ten years later, by the dete...more
Yoake
Cosas que todo el mundo sabe de Hanshichi porque las reseñas se han encargado de mencionarlo una y otra vez: que Hanshichi es un detective en el Japón de los samurais (ésta es fácil porque lo pone en la portada), que su autor creó sus aventuras después de leer una historia de Sherlock Holmes en 1916 y quedar impresionado, que el nombre del detective se escribe en japonés con dos signos y con siete trazos (shichi) y que “permanecerá siempre como uno de los más famosos dentro de la literatura popu...more
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en http://lecturaylocura.com/hanshichi-u...

Según voy eligiendo libros para este monográfico de literatura de género (tengo que reconocer que en esta ocasión casi nada está premeditado, excepto algún caso que sí tenía decidido), la posible selección va cambiando y, de hecho, se suman libros y se caen otros. Uno de los que se han unido es este que comento a continuación, ya que me pareció que daría un poco de variedad; además, me serviría para hablar de la editorial Quaterni y su labor d...more
Lindz
A collection of short stories from an early Japanese mystery writer. They are all reminisces to a younger listener, about Inspector Hanshichi's exploits as a detective. It was both a fascinating trip into the world of Edo, and dull at the same time.

The stories proceed very deliberately. He's very formal and careful in his writing, spelling everything out. Everything from murderous emotions to afternoons at a tea shop are described in the same level tone. Although I'm sure this is a cultural diff...more
Damián Vives
Cuando tras la restauración Meiji ingresan en Japón los avances científicos y tecnológicos de occidente, también lo hacen las corrientes literarias y, poco después, las narrativas de género. Inspirado en sus lecturas del Sherlock Holmes de Conan Doyle, Okamoto Kido da forma al primer policial japonés con su personaje Hanshichi. Formado por su padre en los valores tradicionales del Japón antiguo, Kido se ocupa de marcar una añoranza por el pasado instalando las aventuras de su personaje en el Jap...more
Maja
This book owes much of its charm to nostalgic descriptions of everyday life in 19th century Tokyo/Edo, but the detection part of the stories leaves something to be desired,. Hanshichi's feats are often a result of sheer luck or mere guesswork, which may come across as naive to contemporary readers.
I'm also still undecided on whether the fact that I'm left sympatizing more with the perpetrators than with the hero or the victims should count as a fault or as a virtue of the book.

On a slightly dif...more
Made DNA
It's an excellent study in short (serial) fiction from Japan during the Meiji Period.

Inspector Hanshichi has been an inspector in old Edo for decades, solving everything from mysteries to murders. Well-known and respected, he has the support of younger men under his wing. It is one of these men to whom the Inspector recounts the greatest mysteries he has faced.

Combining Japanese myth with mayhem, murder and mischievousness, this collection of 14 short stories is a fantastic look at life in Japan...more
Francis
Entretenido... muy entretenido. Me ha gustado.
Hanshichi es un detective japonés de la época feudal en Edo. Resuelve magistralmente una serie de casos que son narrados por el sobrino de K. el primer "cliente" de Hanshichi.
Las historias(los casos) están muy bien narrados. Además es una gozada disfrutar de las explicaciones del japón feudal y la cantidad de detalles que se nos muestran sobre cultura, religión, tradición y sociedad. Un pequeño tesoro, además todo notablemente influenciado por Conan...more
Sandra Wagner-Wright
I enjoyed the "Curious Casebook of Inspector Hanshichi." It's a bit like reading an Agatha Christe cozy mystery, or the "Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee." Not recommend for people looking for thrillers, but if you'd like to learn more about Late Tokugawa Japan, this could be the entry way.
Kavita
This was a pretty good book and my first in Japanese detective fiction. Inspector Hanshichi sets out to solve all kinds of cases, assisted a LOT by Lady Luck and chance encounters. The background is pretty easygoing and the mysteries are not very well put-together. But it was still delightful to read because of the details of everyday life in 1800s Japan and the deep characterisations in even the shortest story. The stories just flow along taking you with them. There are plenty of mentions of mo...more
Sae-chan
Like watching jidai-geki. Mystery-wise, horrible. Story-wise, about the lives and people in Edo period, picturesque.

Actually what I like the most was the fact that sometimes the mystery wasn't completely solved. Some things we still didn't understand how they came to be. I thought it was like a challenge to the know-it-all modern society.
Kate
May 14, 2012 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: books
"The unsung Sherlock Holmes of the Edo era" indeed. Very enjoyable collection of murder mysteries set in pre-Meiji Restoration Tokyo. The tensions between upholding the law, and maintaining social order and peace, were probably the most interesting part.
Vespertine
If you wish to discover the Japanese Meiji era (end of the 19th century) through picturesque characters and entertaining crime investigations, I'd recommend this collection of intriguing short stories.
Ana
Mar 09, 2013 Ana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ana by: Quelibroleo
Shelves: japanese, mystery
Este libro ha sido todo un descubrimiento. Ha sido una lectura amena, divertida y sencilla en la que he aprendido mucho del Japón feudal (costumbres, tradiciones y supersticiones). Muy recomendable.
Ben Wooller
Extremely interesting to read to get a sense of the time and culture (though the dialogue is Americanised). Most stories are good but some rely a little too much on luck to be solved.
Karen
An interesting collection of short detective stories set in feudal Japan but written between the wars.
Luke
A fun read. A must for anyone interested in either Edo period Japan or detective fiction.
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Fantasmas y Samurais. Cuentos modernos del viejo Japón Fantômes Et Kimonos Hanshichi Torimonochō Hanshichi Torimonochō 6 Hanshichi Torimonochō 4

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