• SHARE

Japan boasts an impressively large and growing body of native-grown mystery fiction that dates back to the 1920s. A widespread perception exists that this genre developed as an offshoot of imports from the West, but this is not quite the case. When it comes to Japan’s crime-related literature, China can claim introduction rights.

The chronicle “Honcho Oin Hiji” (Parallel Cases From Under the Cherry Tree), published in 1689 by popular writer Ihara Saikaku (1642-93) — and published in English by The Univeristy of Haiwaii Press in 1980 under the title “Tales of Japanese Justice” — contains accounts of several dozen historical court cases heard by the shoshidai, the shogun’s regional deputy in Kyoto. Most cases involved the exploits of a famous judge named Itakura Shigemune (1586-1657) — although Ihara never refers to Itakura by name, but simply uses the general term gozen, or “His Lordship.”

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)