Book Review: Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination

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Edogawa Rampo is known as the Father of Japanese mystery writing. If you are into mystery or horror, read this book! There are nine short stories in this book, and I’ll be talking about two stories that left lasting impressions on me.

1. The Human Chair

I was sucked in the story before I realized it. The writing is superlative! It’s about a person who stays inside a chair and his experiences of people sitting on him. It was weird but it was right up my alley. I was so fascinated, I could not stop reading.

Then I read Junji Ito’s retelling of the story! Junji Ito is a popular mangaka who specializes in horror manga. Junji retells The Human Chair with an alternate ending and I loved it. I recommend reading Rampo’s short story then reading Junji’s manga.

2. The Red Chamber

Have you ever thought about the perfect crime, and if such a thing is possible? This short story talks about the perfect crime, and it does have logic to it. Several examples are provided in this story. One line I loved from the story was, “Not any ordinary type of murder, I told myself, but murder which would baffle even Sherlock himself!”


It was interesting to see that Sherlock reference but it makes sense because Rampo was influenced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was also interesting to see Edgar Allan Poe’s influence on Rampo’s writing, because Poe was a significant figure to Rampo’s work.

This shouldn’t be surprising, but many of these stories are about murder and a lot of the times they are told from the murderer’s perspective. I get that it’s not for everybody!

I Won a Book Giveaway!

I feel really lucky sometimes because I won another giveaway, and it’s a great one! In my life I’ve won four giveaways but I used to find many four leaf clovers so maybe that has something to do with it. I actually don’t think there’s a correlation LOL.

The giveaway I won this time was hosted by our fellow blogger friend, Neha, who runs Biblio Nyan, a blog on books, anime, self-care tips, and more. I won their 500 follower giveaway and got a $30 gift card to buy any books of my choosing from Book Depository or Amazon. I got FIVE books from Book Depository!

1. Edogawa Rampo’s Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Jon recommended this book to me a while back so I’m happy that I finally own it! I read one of the short stories called The Human Chair, and it was honestly the most interesting story I’ve read in my life. I might blog about it one day, and write about Junji Ito’s version of it as well.

2. Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination 

I’ve been borrowing my friend’s Poe book for months so I’m happy that I finally own my own copy.

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3. Monkey by Wu Cheng’en

This book is also known as Journey to the West and is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. This story was published in the 16th century and many anime, including Dragon Ball, were loosely based on this story. Some of the earliest Japanese animation were inspired by the Chinese animation of Journey to the West.

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4. Desire by Haruki Murakami 

Haruki Murakami is one of my favourite authors. I’ve read a number of his books. This is a collection of his short stories.

5. Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination

I’m giving this one to a friend.

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I’m honestly surprised by how many books I got. When I found out that I won, I thought that I would get two books so this really exceeded my expectations. The books were delivered in a timely manner and I’m really happy with everything. Thank you so much Neha for everything. ❀