The detective novel's novelty: native and foreign narrative forms in Kuroiwa Ruik's Kett no hate
Author: Silver M.
Source: Japan Forum, Volume 16, Number 2, July, 2004 , pp. 191-205(15)
Abstract:As a Meiji-period import, the detective novel makes a telling case study in the complexities of Japanese cultural borrowing. This article underlines the hybrid nature of one typical translated detective novel, Kuroiwa Ruik's Kett no hate (The consequences of a duel), which is an often loose rendering into Japanese of the French writer Fortuné Hippolyte Du Boisgobey's novel Suites d'un duel. On the one hand, the translation makes overt appeals to Meiji-period readers' hunger for the modern, the novel, and the foreign; on the other, it conspicuously recycles narrative conventions of the dokufu-mono, or 'poisonous woman story', a popular Meiji-period genre whose representations of alluring but ruthless silver-tongued female criminals had deep roots in the old, native tradition of gesaku, or 'frivolous writing'. This melding of the new and the old in Ruik's translation suggests the necessity of revising our current models for understanding cultural borrowing, which rely too heavily upon the notions of straightforward Japanese imitation or, alternatively, of Western cultural dominance.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2004-07-01