Japanese Crime Literature

Course Dates: 12/05/21 - 16/06/21
Time: 12:30 - 14:30
Location: Online
Japanese crime literature is reaching new audiences, with many classics being translated into English for the first time. This course explores a range of Japanese mysteries, detectives and their recurring themes, from ‘locked room’ classics to the dark side of human nature – with many murders along the way.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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SKU
183829
Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £103.00 Concession £79.00

Course Code: HLT223

Wed, day, 12 May - 16 Jun '21

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

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.

Tutor biography:
Beatrice Ashton-Lelliott is a PhD researcher and seminar tutor in English Literature at the University of Portsmouth. Her doctoral thesis examines the autobiographies of nineteenth-century magicians and representations of fictional conjuring in Victorian literature. She also worked on the British Library’s ‘In the Spotlight’ research project, contextualising nineteenth-century playbills and periodical reviews. Her other research interests include contemporary Japanese literature, occulture, Romanticism and fantasy fiction.

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.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
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.

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
• Draw comparisons between ‘Golden Age’ texts in Japan and Britain.

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?

Includes some short contextual lectures with power points, 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 secondary reading given by the tutor.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

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)

I will provide digital materials and/or links to any additional secondary reading.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Please see other literature courses on our website at www.citylit.ac.uk/history, culture & writing/literature/fiction.

Beatrice Ashton-Lelliott

Beatrice Ashton-Lelliott is a PhD researcher and seminar tutor in English Literature at the University of Portsmouth. Her doctoral thesis examines the autobiographies of nineteenth-century magicians and representations of fictional conjuring in Victorian literature. She also worked on the British Library’s ‘In the Spotlight’ research project, contextualising nineteenth-century playbills and periodical reviews. Her other research interests include contemporary Japanese literature, occulture, Romanticism and fantasy fiction.

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.