Japanese crime fiction
Time: 19:30 - 21:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HLT279
Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)
Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.
What is the course about?
This online literature course covers both classics and new developments in Japanese crime literature, beginning with the ‘master of mystery’ Seishi Yokomizo and his private detective character Kosuke Kindaichi, who have recently found new audiences through their republication in 2020. By comparing Yokomizo’s approach to the traditional structures of crime literature, we will draw parallels with Western historical detective fiction and its development. The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji, also republished in 2020, provides another avenue for understanding the honkaku school of writing and its place within the ‘Golden Age of Detective Fiction’. We conclude by discussing a more recent text, Out by Natsuo Kirino, and the perspective of women in this field, along with the more overt presentations of violence, poverty and social isolation.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
• The distinct styles of and parallels between ‘Golden Age of Detective Fiction’ in both Japan and Britain
• The popularity of ‘traditional’ (honkaku) mysteries in Japan
• Issues such as poverty and social isolation presented in contemporary Japanese crime literature.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Recognise recurring themes in Japanese crime literature
• Have an awareness of how these themes relate to contemporary Japanese culture
• Recognise categories such as honkaku (‘traditional/orthodox’) mysteries and groups such as the Honkaku Mystery Writers Club of Japan.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
Some basic knowledge of both Japanese culture and major texts in Western crime literature would be beneficial for comparative purposes but is no means necessary, it is primarily a course for anyone interested in the subject. All texts are discussed in English translation.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Some short contextual lectures with Powerpoints, but this course is primarily an interactive mix of large group work and discussion with some smaller group discussions in breakout rooms. Work outside class is reading the set texts and any necessary secondary reading.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will need to obtain copies of:
The Inugami Curse by Seishi Yokomizo (2020, Pushkin Vertigo)
The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji (2020, Puskin Vertigo)
Out by Natsuo Kirino (2004, Vintage Classics Japanese Series)
The tutor will provide digital materials and/or links to any additional secondary reading.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look for other international literature courses on our website at www.citylit.ac.uk/courses under history, culture and writing/literature/fiction.
Dr Beatrice Ashton-Lelliott completed her PhD in English Literature at the University of Portsmouth, examining the autobiographies of nineteenth-century magicians and representations of conjuring in Victorian literature. Her other research interests include contemporary Japanese literature, occulture, Romanticism and fantasy fiction. She has been awarded a JSPS postdoctoral fellowship at Waseda University in Tokyo for 2022.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.