Organized Panel Session
The development of detective fiction cannot be separated from colonialism. For example, crimes in the Sherlock Holmes series are often linked to Britain’s colonies or peripheries of London at the time. Kuroiwa Rukiō’s short story, “In Cold Blood” (1889), which has been generally known as the first detective story in Japan, also hints at the problem of colonialism: a murder occurs in Tsukiji, which used to be a foreign settlement. Geographical backgrounds of some Japanese detective fictions were Japan’s colonies themselves as Sato Haruo’s Taiwan set “Strange Tale of the Precepts of Women’s Fan”(1925) demonstrates as well.
It is said that the firm establishment of Japanese detective fiction genre was made by Edogawa Rampo’s early works. However, the linkage between crimes and colonies is generally absent in his fictions. Crimes in Rampo’s works rather derive from the weakened human relations in the midst of the rapid urbanization. Then why are crime narratives carried out only in the metropolitan in Rampo’s fictions? In this paper, I place the development of Meiji and Taisho detective fiction in its close relationship with colonialism and attempt to answer the question of the ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’ with Rampo’s short story, “The Twins (1924).” In the story, a younger brother secretly returns to Japan from colonial Korea and kills his older brother. After committing the murder, the younger brother then fakes as his older brother. This story provides a clue to understand the obscure relationship between Japanese detective fiction and colonial Korea.