Advertisement for Rampo’s Debut

Although Shinseinen was open to contributions of detective stories, most contributions disappointed the editors as nothing but a copy of foreign classics. Rampo’s first story, “Nisen dōka” (「二銭銅貨」; English: “The Two-Sen Copper Coin”), was a pleasant surprise for the chief editor, since he thought it was the first “true” detective story written by a Japanese writer.

The magazine issue featured Rampo’s short story as “creative detective fiction” (sōsaku tantei shōsetsu; 創作探偵小説). The added prefix “sōsaku” (creative) further complicated the classification of detective fiction, since the binaries were no longer foreign and domestic, but foreign and creative. (Saito, 48) In this advertisement for the issue that would feature Rampo’s debut work, the editor dedicated a paragraph to express his excitement of reading Rampo’s work, and insisted that this was the first story that is “no inferior to the foreign ones.” This line appears in the advertisement for the spring supplement issue, in which editors previewed the stories they selected. The original text reads as below:

真に外国の名作にも劣らない、いやある意味に於ては外国の作家の作品よりも勝れた長所をもった純然たる創作が生まれたのである。

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