The mystery genre has been, and is, enormously popular in Japan. One of the most popular author in Japan is a mystery writer – Jiro Akagawa.
In this country where guns are strictly regulated and rare and the crime rate is relatively low (but there are organized crime groups known as the Yakuza), crime fiction is universally admired and avidly consumed.
Crime stories had a rather early start in Japan as evidenced by the publication of a collection of criminal cases by Saikaku Ihara in 1689.
The 1880s, however, marked the real onset of the mystery literary genre as western authors including Jan Christemeijer, Poe, Doyle and Freeman were translated and published.
The first Japanese authors also arrive on the scene at this time – Ruiko Kuroiwa published “Three Strands of Hair” in 1889 and also adapted a number of Emile Gaboriau’s Paris-based stories to a Japanese context.
Also, Rohan Koda published a detective story entitled “Surprise” in 1889. Haruo Sato, a poet, completed a crime story entitled “The Finger Print” in 1919 and wrote an essay in 1924 about mysteries and their “romantic and erotic origins”. The essay had a huge influence on later Japanese writers.
By the way,
Japan is a mysterious country, sometimes.
In this time, I collected some what you would surely wonder at during a trip.
◉ Many couples in Japan celebrate Christmas like Valentine’s Day. It is definitely more of a “lovers” holiday in Japan.
◉ Poorly written English can be found everywhere, including T-shirts and other fashion items.
◉ There are four different writing systems in Japan; Romaji, Katakana, Hiragana, and Kanji.
◉ More than 70% of Japan consists of mountains, including more than 200 volcanoes.
◉ Religion does not play a big role in the lives of most Japanese and many do not understand the difference between Shintoism and Buddhism.
◉ the trains are so crowded railway staff are employed to cram passengers inside.
◉ Coffee is very popular and Japan imports approximately 85% of Jamaica’s annual coffee production.
◉ Japan’s literacy rate is almost 100%.
◉ When you use the restroom in someone’s home you may need to put on designated bathroom slippers so as not to contaminate the rest of the home.
◉ Japan is the world’s largest consumer of Amazon rain forest timber.
◉ When moving into an apartment it is often required to give the landlord “gift” money, usually equal to two months’ rent.
◉ Most toilets in Japan have a built-in bidet system for spraying your backside. These are known as washlets and are now the norm in homes and nicer restrooms. However, in some train stations and other public restrooms you may still find the traditional Japanese “floor toilet”.
◉ Japan is the largest automobile producer in the world.
◉ Men might shave their heads to apologize. Not common these days.
◉ Women might cut their hair after breaking up with a boyfriend. Again, not common these days.
◉ On average there are around 1,500 earthquakes every year in Japan.
◉ The Japanese language has thousands of foreign loan words, known as gairaigo. These words are often truncated, e.g. personal computer = paso kon. The number of foreign loan words is steadily increasing.
◉ Average life expectancy in Japan is one of the highest in the world. Japanese people live an average of 4 years longer than Americans.
◉ The first novel, The Tale of Genji, was written in 1007 by a Japanese noble woman, Murasaki Shikibu.
◉ The term karaoke means “empty orchestra” in Japanese.
◉ In a Sumo training “stable” the junior rikishi Sumo wrestlers must wash and bathe their senior sumo wrestlers and make sure their hard to reach places are clean.
◉ Raised floors help indicate when to take off shoes or slippers. At the entrance to a home in Japan, the floor will usually be raised about 6 inches indicating you should take off your shoes and put on slippers. If the house has a tatami mat room its floor may be rasied 1-2 inches indicating you should to take off your slippers.
◉ Geisha means “person of the arts” and the first geisha were actually men.
◉ It was customary in ancient Japan for women to blacken their teeth with dye as white teeth were considered ugly. This practice persisted until the late 1800’s. The American style smile (big, wide, and white) would have been seen as “exposing too much bone”.
◉ In addition to a “boneless smile”, small eyes, a round puffy face, and plump body were considered attractive features, especially during the Heian period.
◉ Some Japanese companies conduct a morning exercise session for the workers to prepare them for the day’s work.
◉ In Japan non-smoking areas are difficult to find in restaurants, including family restaurants. Many of Japan’s politicians have interest in the tobacco industry and anti-smoking laws are almost non-existent. If you are planning a trip to Japan you may want to think twice if you are sensitive to tobacco smoke.
◉ Many companies hire people to hand out small packages of tissues which include a small advertisement flyer. Some non-Japanese are surprised when they are handed a free package of tissues.
Now that you know some interesting facts about Japan you probably want to see some interesting places to visit in Japan ☺️