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

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  333 Ratings  ·  56 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 torimonocho. Told through the eyes of a street-smart detective, Okamoto Kido's best-known work inaugurated the historical detective genre in Japan, spawning stage, radio, movie, and television adaptations as wel ...more
Paperback, 335 pages
Published January 15th 2007 by the University of Hawai'i Press (first published 1937)
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Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan
The serialized short stories of inspector Hanshichi by Okamoto Kido were very popular in Japan between World War I and II. This book is a compilation of 14 of these stories. A very informative introduction about Kido and the cultural impact of the Hanshichi stories was also provided by the translator.

Hanshichi is by no means Sherlock Holmes. Most of the cases are solved by the most absurd of coincidences, or as Hanshichi would say "if this isn't a case of dumb luck, I don't know what is". As suc
Jul 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: japan
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
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Inspector Hanshichi has been referred to as the Japanese Sherlock Holmes. That's not exactly true because the two are very different. Hanshichi is a police detective, not a private detective, and he is a lot easier to get along with than Holmes. However, they ARE both brilliant and solve apparently impossible crimes. Okamoto Kido wrote the Hanshichi stories over a period of 20 years (1917-1937), though the stories were set in the period of the 1840s to the 1860s. Ian MacDonald has translated 14 ...more
Vanya Prodanova
Бяха едни прекрасни моменти, четейки за случаите на Ханшичи. Колкото голяма да беше аналогията с Шерлок Холмс, толкова и различно беше всичко. Не съм голям почитател на японски романи, описващи и развиващи се в далечните минали японски времена, но с разследванията на Ханшичи не ми беше въобще трудно да се потопя във времето и да се насладя на прочетеното. Книгата носи онова толкова характерно спокойствие и лежерност на японските романи, което търся и във всички други книги, но не намирам все още ...more
Cam *tactile seeker*

I have developed a new habit, over the years: when I have no idea what to read next, but crave some Japanese literature, I go to my favorite library, start scanning and closely observe every spine, determining if its color and title font look interesting.

You might definte it superficial and lame, I adore it. I've borrowed quite a few books following this method, and not a single one has disappointed me, so far.

When I read the title of Okamoto Kido's newly translated short detective stories, I r
These were nice, a few of them were intriguing and the rest were still fun to read.
Noa Velasco
Intentaré ser sintético como la ropa del Decathlon.

Varios relatos en los que el detective de Kanda resuelve casos "like a boss". Entretenido, pero a día de hoy resulta previsible y a veces decepcionante.

::¿Te ha gustado?
Menos de lo que esperaba del Sherlock Holmes japonés del s. XIX.

::Independientemente de lo anterior, ¿crees que es un buen libro?
Soy muy fan de lo japo y, aunque he visto bastante cine, soy un profano en la narrativa japonesa. A mis ojos —poco rasgados—, este libro tiene una est
Nov 17, 2015 rated it liked it
I found this book while exploring a section of my uni's library that I've never been to before. I was the only person in there and it was creepy too, but eventually, I didn't mind the eerie feeling because I found lots of books by Russian, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Japanese authors! I wanted to take home a lot of books, but I was only one book away from the check-out limit, so I chose Hanschichi torimonocho because the idea of a Japanese Sherlock figure intrigued me. And the cover was excellen ...more
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
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: day trippers
Shelves: mystery, asia, japan
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
Vicki Beyer
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Kristina Andreeva
Не бях очарована от книгата, защото стилът ми беше скучен. Трудно ми е да оценя останалото в разказите именно заради този факт.
Много ми допадна обаче корицата на книгата - изключително тематична! Харесаха ми й калиграфските букви в заглавията, макар че честно да си кажа - трудно ги разчитах.
Ако сте пропуснали, ето едно ревю за книгата от другия книгоядец в блога:
Angelica Zubieta García
En este libro nos encontramos con Hanshichi, un inteligente detective que con su astuto e hábil sentido de intuición logra conseguir la información exacta con grandiosos interrogantes. Siempre te lleva la delantera!.
También contamos con una excelente introducción de Linea de tiempo en la historia japonesa, cultura, tradición, arte; de esta forma nunca te vas a perder en la historia.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Siempre resulta interesante leer cosas de escritores de otros paises.
Dark Chocolate
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Много леки и приятни истории. Случаите са кратки, стегнато представени и тук отсъства онзи цинизъм и перверзност, чиито елементи често се откриват при поредицата от японските загадки например. Не е Шерлок Холмс като сложност на случаите, но дедукцията и опита на Ханшичи определено са водещи в разрешаването на ситуациите. Прави отлично впечатление добрата редакция, с липсващи правописни грешки и множеството пояснителни бележки (+въведението) за атмосферата, вярванията, йерархията и други, характе ...more
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Las comparaciones son odiosas, pero como lo dice en la introducción de este buen libro, Kidō se basó en Sherlok en algunos casos para la creación de este libro. Una añoranza por el antiguo Edo. Hanshichi un excelente investigador comparte sus casos con un joven. Donde mucho ven seres mágicos del Japón, el detective descubre cómo los humanos somos arrastrados por nuestras debilidad y cometemos crímenes.
The best thing by far about this book is the description of the Edo period, which to me is fascinating. The stories, however, were not very engaging.
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

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
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
'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
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book is a collection of short stories set in the Japanese capital Edo (modern day Tokyo). The stories were set in 19th century Japan just before the start of the Meiji restoration. This marked the time when Japan began to modernize rapidly by adopting western practices and many feudal customs.

The protagonist is inspector Hanshichi (half-seven), a mid level detective in the Japanaese capital's police force. The stores all have the same basic structure. The author narrator runs into Hanshichi
Café de Tinta
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
El autor japonés Okamoto Kidô, enamorado de Sherlock Holmes, se planteó crear a un detective japonés inspirado en su personaje preferido. Pero, ¿Cómo adaptar la mente racional del personaje de Conan Doyle a una época en la que las supersticiones estaban a la orden del día en una sociedad como la japonesa?
Hanshichi, que es como llamó a su personaje, es un detective que antepone la lógica racional ante los casos más variopintos: campanas que suenan solas, mansiones malditas, hechizos, desaparicio
May 10, 2015 rated it liked it
I used to live in Japan, so this book brought back many memories. I am not sure that someone who didn't have that Japanese connection would fully appreciate or understand the intricacies of this story.

This caesbook needs to be read and appreciated for what it is - old fashioned mystery novels, set in a time before technology, and when people believed in spirits, ghosts and being honourable above anything else.

Written as several short case stories from Detective Hanshichi's recollection, it tel
Sep 04, 2015 rated it liked it
These were popular stories written by Kido Okamoto about Edo in the Tokugawa Era as seen from Tokyo in the Meiji restoration (the first stories appearing in the 1920s). Inspector Hanshichi's cases can be compared to those of Sherlock Holmes, but there's a big difference. Holmes's Victorian London is portrayed as a stable, comfortable place occasionally rocked by violence caused by a perturbation from the edges of Empire: South African diamond miners, Indian half-castes, the Italian Black Hand, M ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Está bien. No me ha desagradado pero claro si te lo venden como el Sherlock Holmes a la japonesa, las expectativas son altas. Muy bien en cuanto a la descripción del Japón feudal y de samurais.
Pueblos, ciudades, entorno rural, vida y costumbres muy bien narrado.
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
Mar 14, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book is a curiosity - stories about the "Japanese Sherlock Holmes" that are quite popular in Japan but have never gained a lot of traction in the U.S., apparently. The most interesting section of this first book of stories is the introduction. The reader is given the history, which is fascinating. The stories themselves are simple and not very mysterious - I'm thinking quite a bit is lost in translation. They probably would appeal more to folks who are very interested in Japanese history an ...more
Jul 23, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a charming collection of what are essentially early 20th century Japanese cozies, little mystery stories that aren't too difficult for the reader to solve with a detective vaguely reminiscent of Columbo. The stories are told from Tokyo but set in Edo, which is fascinating from a historical perspective, and there's an easy flow to the translation that makes reading a breeze, not always something that happens with this particular language transition. My only issue is my pet peeve about con ...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
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