Sunday, October 25, 2020

Gold Mask by Edogawa Rampo

Gold Mask by Edogawa Rampo

A spectre is haunting Tokyo - the spectre of the Gold Mask. An urban legend grows rapidly, spread by word of mouth to the point that the newspapers report on the rumors. A person with a gold mask, seen bundled up with hat low peering into a Ginza shop window, again at the scene of a tragic accident spotted by a shopkeeper, seen on the street by an elderly woman this time also wearing a gold cloak, again seen ...

Then a brazen robbery carried out by the Gold Mask shows that this is not a mere urban legend. Famed detective Kogorō Akechi is brought in to help the police capture the thief. But the Gold Mask is no ordinary thief, he and his gang seem unstoppable and ruthless. What follows is a cat and mouse game in which one is not always sure who is the cat.

Joining the story is a surprising visitor from France. Arsène Lupin, the first gentleman thief to go by that name, and his lover the young Japanese woman Fujiko. What role will they play in the story? I won't say as that will be far too much of a spoiler. Instead I recommend that if you are interested you get ahold of a copy of this work by the grand master of Japan's golden age of crime and mystery fiction.

The novel is available from Kurodahan Press in a translation by William Varteresian in both paperback and as an e-book.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Of nuns and divorce?

My latest addition to my Recommended Japanese Live Action Cinema web pages is Kakekomi Onna to Kakedashi Otoko, a tale set during the early 1840s in Kamakura. Love, abuse, and fleeing government censorship all bring together the main characters to the location of the story, the Buddhist nunnery Tōkeiji which aided women in getting divorced. Don't expect much sword fighting in this historical drama, tho' naginata do end up playing a role. Do expect a fine dramatic tale with a bit of humor.