Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Kogoro Akechi. Kogoro Akechi was created by "Edogawa Rampo," the pseudonym of the Japanese author Hirai Tare, and appeared in a number of stories and thirteen novels from 1925 to 1955, beginning with “Dzaka-no-Satsujin Jiken” (1925).
Kogoro Akechi is a Great Detective. Kogoro Akechi was the first major detective in Japanese fiction who was created by a Japanese author. Like his model, Sherlock Holmes, Kogoro is proficient at the martial arts (judo, in Kogoro’s case), is skilled at disguise, and is aided by a group of urchins, called the Boy Detectives Club; the most prominent member of the Club is the beautiful boy Yoshio Kobayashi, who eventually lives with Kogoro and acts as his virtual wife. Kogoro smokes Egyptian cigarettes to help him think. His arch-enemy is the Fiend With Twenty Faces.
Kogoro is active in Tokyo early in the 20th century. Initially he is a shaggy-haired “intellectual vagabond” with no fixed job who loafs around his room in a boarding house. Eventually he becomes an elegant dandy, albeit one whose rooms, above a tobacconist's shop, are filled with books rather than clothes. His modus operandi is based more on psychological analysis than on deductive reasoning, although he's quite capable at that, too. In several cases he reveals a surprising depth of knowledge about sado-masochism, which is necessary in those cases which have a psycho-sexual tinge.
* I'm including the Kogoro Akechi stories and novels in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because of their historical importance. In the history of Japanese detective fiction, there is Before Kogoro Akechi and After Kogoro Akechi. Hirai Tare so idolized Edgar Allan Poe that Hirai's pen-name is a Japanization of Poe's name; Hirai succeeded in being the Edgar Allan Poe of Japanese mystery and detective fiction. This is so both because of the Great Detective model that Hirai drew upon and because of what the Kogoro Akechi stories evolved into, a reflection of Hirai's own psycho-sexual obsessions that doubled as stories that were much more about the psychology of the hero and the villains than about actual crime solving. Hirai made the Japanese detective story that appealed to both mystery readers and those readers interested in stories that took long, scrutinizing looks into human souls.
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