Serialization of Juvenile Detective Stories Featuring Akechi

English translation of “The Fiend with Twenty Faces”
English translation of “The Boy Detectives Club”

In the 30s, not only “serious” short stories for general magazines but also his serials attracted the eyes of the military government that considered those “immoral” writings disturbing the feelings of the people in wartime. Rampo was thus compelled to write even more “diluted” detective fiction for children, which resulted in a series of juvenile literature—The Boy Detective Clubs series—starting from Kaijin Nijūmensō (怪人二十面相; English: The Fiend with Twenty Faces) in 1936. Ironically enough, it was not Rampo’s serious detective fiction but those juvenile novels—despite their low quality—that most faithfully realized the format critics’ expectation for “authentic” detective fiction. Here, the genius detective Akechi Kogorō, who first appeared in his “serious” short story in 1925, is transformed from a bored intellectual in quintessentially Japanese attire to a sophisticated modern gentleman in white suits. (Saito, 122)