Akimitsu Takagi Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

One of Japan’s leading writers of detective and espionage fiction, Akimitsu Takagi garnered both popular success and critical acclaim during his lifetime. His intricate and cleverly plotted police procedural s are favorites of fans of the genre. Critics applaud his creation of psychologically intriguing human beings, whether the characters he presents are the victims, the criminals, or the investigators. Additionally, Takagi expanded the form and focus of the Japanese detective novel to more closely parallel contemporary life. He was among the first Japanese authors to write a novel in the financial-fiction genre. His varied repertoire includes historical thrillers, industrial crime fiction, and courtroom dramas. [Kirishima, Saburo]}

Equally important are Takagi’s portrayals of Japan and its citizens in the postwar era and in the decades of recovery, the 1950’s and 1960’s. Takagi’s cityscapes provide an image of a culture and a people in transition. In several works featuring State Prosecutor Sabur Kirishima, the courtroom becomes a microcosm of Japanese culture, a place where concerns about changing values and ethics, innovations in business and industry, and tensions between generations and between genders can be voiced, if not necessarily resolved.

The growing appeal of Takagi’s novels among English-language readers bodes well for additional translations of his detective novels, which range from police procedurals to accounts of industrial espionage. Critics have compared Takagi’s work favorably to that of another master of Japanese detective fiction, Seich Matsumoto, the popular author of Ten to sen (1958; Points and Lines, 1970) and Suna no utsuwa (1961; Inspector Imanishi Investigates, 1989).

Akimitsu Takagi Bibliography

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Brainard, Dulcy. Review of The Tattoo Murder Case, by Akimitsu Takagi. Publishers Weekly 244 no. 52 (December 22, 1997): 41. Looks at the novel as a complex tale of obsession set in postwar Japan. Comments on Takagi’s emotionless style of writing.

Munger, Katy. Review of The Informer and Honeymoon to Nowhere, by Akimitsu Takagi. The Washington Post, July 25, 1999, p. X08. Examines Japanese morality and social structure through the lens of Takagi’s police procedurals. Also critiques the author’s techniques and characters.

Williams, Janis. Review of Honeymoon to Nowhere, by Akimitsu Takagi. Library Journal 124 no. 13 (August, 1999): 147. Classifies the novel as a conventional but ultimately satisfying police procedural.

Williams, Janis. Review of The Tattoo Murder Case, by Akimitsu Takagi. Library Journal 123 no. 2 (February, 1998): 113. Enumerates the complicated family relationships that intertwine with Japanese traditions and a complex story line in Takagi’s novel.

Zaleski, Jeff. Review of Honeymoon to Nowhere, by Akimitsu Takagi. Publishers Weekly 246 no. 22 (May 31, 1999): 71. Compares novels written by Takagi to those written by mystery writers Patricia Highsmith and William Irish and identifies their connecting thread: characters entangled in compelling but potentially lethal intrigues.