Soji Shimada

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In this Japanese name, the family name is "Shimada".
Soji Shimada
Soji Shimada in Black.JPG
Born October 12, 1948
Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
Occupation Novelist
Nationality Japanese
Period 1981–present
Genres Mystery fiction


Soji Shimada (島田 荘司 Shimada Sōji?, born October 12, 1948) is a Japanese logic mystery novelist. Born in the city of Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.


Soji Shimada graduated from Seishikan High School in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture, and later Musashino Art University as a Commercial arts design major.

After spending years as a dump truck driver, free writer, and musician, Shimada made his debut as a novelist in 1981 when The Tokyo Zodiac Murders (formerly known as Astrology's Magic) remained as a finalist in the Edogawa Rampo Award.[1] His most well-known works include the Detective Mitarai Series and the Detective Yoshiki Series.[1] His works often involve themes such as the death penalty, Nihonjinron (his theory on the Japanese people), and Japanese and international culture. He is a strong supporter of amateur Honkaku (logic) mystery writers. Following the trend of "Shakaiha Mystery" (Societal Logic mystery) led by Seicho Matsumoto, Shimada was the pioneer of "Shinhonkaku" logic mystery genre. He bred authors such as Yukito Ayatsuji and Shogo Utano, and he led the mystery boom from the late 1980s to present day. As the father of "Shinhonkaku," Shimada is sometimes referred to as "The Godfather of Shinhonkaku" or "God of Mystery.”

Though a grave critic and writer, Shimada is not the harsh, grim character that many imagine him to be; in fact, he is quite friendly in person. One could get a sense of his character in his humor mysteries such as Soseki and the London Mummy Murders and Let There Be Murder, Any Kind of Murder. These books, especially the latter, involves an extravagant mystery trick as well as elements of satire, confusion, youth, and survival. These colorful themes made the book into a great hit, and were made into a short series. In recent years, Shimada has begun a new challenge—an animated series called the "Taiga Novels," collaborated with the renowned illustrator Masamune Shirow. Upon its kick-off in January 2008, he and Shirow plan to create a twelve-book series through the Kodansha BOX publishers.[2] On top of the BOX, Shimada holds a column in the celebrated magazine, the Weekly Shincho. He is also heading two newly founded Amateur Mystery Novel contests—first, "The City of Roses Fukuyama Mystery Award"[3] for amateur writers in Japan, and the "Soji Shimada Logic Mystery Award"[4] in Taiwan, sponsored by Crown Publishing company. Even past the age of sixty, Shimada's passion for writing has become stronger than ever: he is truly the maestro of Shinhonkaku mystery.

Works available in English[edit]

Short story

Major Works (in chronological order)[edit]


Detective Kiyoshi Mitarai Series[edit]

  • "The Tokyo Zodiac Murders" (占星術殺人事件 Senseijutsu Satsujin Jiken (1981 Kodansha Press)?)
    • "The Tokyo Zodiac Murders Revised" (改訂完全版 占星術殺人事件 Kaitei Kanzenban Senseijutsu Satsujin Jiken (2008 KodanshaPress) ?)
  • "Murder in the Crooked Mansion" (斜め屋敷の犯罪 Naname Yashiki no Hanzai (1982 Kodansha Press) ?)
    • "Murder in the Crooked Mansion Revised" (改訂完全版 斜め屋敷の犯罪 Kaitei Kanzenban Naname Yashiki no Hanza (2008 Kodansha Press) ?)
  • "Kiyoshi Mitarai's Greeting" (御手洗潔の挨拶 Mitarai Kiyoshi no Aisatsu (Short story collection 1987 KodanshaPress)?)
  • "The Knight Stranger" (異邦の騎士 Iho no Kishi (1988 Kodansha Press)?)
    • "The Knight Stranger Revised" (改訂完全版 異邦の騎士 Kaitei Kanzenban Iho no Kishi (1997 Harashobo Press)?)
  • "Jack the Ripper—One Hundred Years of Solitude" (切り裂きジャック・百年の孤独 Kirisaki Jack Hyakunen no Kodoku(1988 Shueisha Press)?)
  • "The Dance of Kiyoshi Mitarai" (御手洗潔のダンス Mitarai Kiyoshi no Dansu(Short story collection, 1990 Kodansha Press)?)
  • "The Cannibal Tree of Dark Hill" (暗闇坂の人喰いの木 Kurayamizaka Hitokui No Ki (1990 Kodansha Press)?)
  • "The Crystal Pyramid" (水晶のピラミッド Suisho no Pyramiddo (1991 Kodansha Press)?)
  • "Vertigo" (眩暈 Memai (1992 Kodansha Press)?)
  • "Atopos" (アトポス Atoposu (1993 Kodansha Press)?)
  • "The Ryugatei Murders 1 + 2" (龍臥亭事件(上・下) Ryugatei Jiken (Jyo/Ge) (1996 Kobunsha Press)?)
  • "The Melodies of Kiyoshi Mitarai" (御手洗潔のメロディ Mitarai Kiyoshi No Melody (Short Story collection, 1998 Kodansha Press)?)
  • "Locked Room: P" (Pの密室 P no Misshitsu (Novella collection, 1999 Kodansha Press)?)
  • "The Last Dinner" (最後のディナー Saigo no Dinner (Short story collection、1999 Harashobo Press)?)
  • "Phantom Russian Warship" (ロシア幽霊軍艦事件 Roshia Yurei Gunkan Ziken (2001 Harashobo Press)?)
  • "Hollywood Certificate" (ハリウッド・サーティフィケート Hollywood Certificate (2001 Kadokawa Shoten) ?)
  • "The Devil's Revelry" (魔神の遊戯 Majin no Yugi (2002 Bungeishunju Press)?)
  • "St. Nicolas' Diamond Shoes" (セント・ニコラスの、ダイヤモンドの靴 Sento Nikorasu no, Diamondo no Kutsu (2002 Harabshobo Press)?)
  • "Jack the Ripper of Kamikochi" (上高地の切り裂きジャック Kamikochi no Kirisaki Jack (Novella collection, 2003 Harashobo Press)?)
  • "Nezishiki Zazetsuki" (ネジ式ザゼツキー Nezishiki Zazetsuki(2003 Kodansha Press)?)
  • "Illusions from Ryugatei (1 + 2)" (龍臥亭幻想(上・下) Ryugatei Gensou (Jyo/Ge) (2004 Kobunsha Press)?)
  • "The Phantom of the Skyscraper" (摩天楼の怪人 Matenrou no Kaijin (2005 Tokyo Sougensha)?)
  • "The Drowning Mermaid" (溺れる人魚 Oboreru Ningyo (Short Story collection 2006 Harashobo Press)?)
  • "UFO Boulevard" (UFO大通り UFO Oodori (Novella collection 2006 Kodansha Press)?)
  • "The Adventures of Satomi Inubo" (犬坊里美の冒険 Inubo Satomi no Bouken (2006 Kobunsha Press)?)
  • "The Final Pitch" (最後の一球 Saigo no Ikkyu (2006 Harashobo Press)?)
  • "The Allegory of Ribeltas" (リベルタスの寓話 Ribeltas no Guwa (Novella collection、2007 Kodansha Press)?)
  • "Shinshindo, Sekai Isshyu" (進々堂、世界一周 Shinshindo,Sekai Isshyu (Scheduled for publication in 2009 Kodansha Press)?)

Detective Takeshi Yoshiki Series[edit]

All works, with the exception of "The Fading "Crystal Express,"" have been published by Kobunsha Press. A portion of the works have been adapted into a TV series by TBS: Takeshi Yoshiki Series.

  • "Overnight Express "Hayabusa": the Wall of 1/60 seconds" (寝台特急「はやぶさ」1/60秒の壁 Shindai Tokkyu Hayabusa 1/60byo no Kabe (1984– Dramatized into TV episode 1)?)
  • "The Izumo Legend: 7/8 of a Murder" (出雲伝説7/8の殺人 Izumo Densetsu 7/8 no Satsuzin (1984)?)
  • "Crane of the North: 2/3 of a Murder" (北の夕鶴2/3の殺人 Kita no Yuzuru 2/3 no Satsujin (1984– Dramatized into TV episode 3)?)*
  • "The Fading "Crystal Express"" (消える「水晶特急」 Kieru Suisho Tokkyu (1984 Kadokawa Shoten) ?)
  • "A 2/2 Chance of Death" (確率2/2の死 Kakuritsu 2/2 no Shi (1985)?)
  • "The Blueprint of "Y"" (Yの構図 Y no Kozu (1986)?)
  • "Ashen Labyrinth" (灰の迷宮 Hai no Meikyu (1987– Dramatized into TV Episode 2)?)
  • "The Night Rings a Thousand Bells" (夜は千の鈴を鳴らす Yoru wa Sen no Suzu wo Narasu (1988)?)
  • "Yutai Ridatsu Satsujin Jiken" (幽体離脱殺人事件 Yutai Ridatsu Satsujin Jiken (1989– Dramatized into TV Episode 4)?)
  • "Kisou, Ten wo Ugokasu" (奇想、天を動かす Kisou, Ten wo Ugokasu (1989)?)
  • "Hagoromo Densetsu no Kioku" (羽衣伝説の記憶 Hagoromo Densetsu no Kioku (1990)?)
  • "Words Without "Ra"" (ら抜き言葉殺人事件 Ra Nuki Kotoba Satsujin Jiken (1991)?)
  • "Asuka's Glass Shoes" (飛鳥のガラスの靴 Asuka no Garasu no Kutsu (1991)?)
  • "As Tears Go By (1, 2)" (涙流れるままに(上・下) Namida Nagarerumamani (Jyo/Ge) (1999)?)
  • "The Portrait of Yoshiki Takeshi" (later changed to The Shining Crane) (吉敷竹史の肖像(2002年 「光る鶴」に改題) Yoshiki Takeshi no Shozo (Hikaru Tsuru) (2002)?)



Notes and references[edit]

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