死仮面(金田一耕助 Reading Club)

I envy your reading speed. My motivation has been flagging recently because I have a lot of reading to catch up with but can only read 10-20 pages an hour in Japanese. Wish I knew a way to increase my reading speed while still getting the same level of comprehension and enjoyment. :thinking:


“The same level of comprehension and enjoyment” might be debatable, since I could probably have stood to slow down and savor things a bit more, at least with 死仮面, and I didn’t mention (or track) how many hours I took (I had big stretches of time to read on the weekend, and there’s definitely a capped max speed since it’s not like it wouldn’t take fairly long to read a few hundred pages in English anyway).

But for what it’s worth I think the #1 thing that helped me access different reading speeds is magazines! Having a constant barrage of mixed articles and stories covering a full range of like, interest levels on my part, definitely helped practice the parts in my reading brain involved with like, skimming, zeroing in on information I care about, absorbing gists, and not being intimidated by lots of text flying by.

I think it’s just one of those things that pops in over time though, so conveniently or inconveniently by having too much to read in too little time you’re already doing exactly the right thing to do! :sweat_smile:


I finished the first part of 上海氏の蒐集品 yesterday!

I sort of expected to take the rest of the week to finish it after the first part was so full of terms and descriptions. But then after deciding I didn’t care about those much beyond ‘some type of tree’, ‘a bird kind of animal’ I got into the flow and finished parts 2-5 in pretty much one sitting.

Good thing too, because whenever I thought the exposition was done, a new wave of description came in, haha.

As usual, very flavorful 人間関係 and atmospheric setting. After a nice, heartwarming start with the collector and the girl building a relationship to each other, it all seems to be heading rather towards drama and tragedy. But what did I expect, a man not to be interested in a woman he watched grow up from a little girl? :upside_down_face:

The town dynamics are super interesting though, especially all the red light Ryokan.

I’ll somehow hold off until next week to finish it and read rodan’s spoilers!


Nothing very spoilery in here and it’s all from the first 20 pages or so:

I was trying to figure out from the geographical clues where we are, but couldn’t do it, beyond the obvious “somewhere in what is going to become the urban sprawl west of Tokyo along the Tama River”. You’d think “can look west across the Tama” plus “railway that runs north-south and also crosses fhe Tama” would narrow it down more…

I suspect the “K映画” who own the land the protagonist has built his house on may be (thinly anonymised) 角川映画, a film studio set up by the publisher Kadokawa in 1976 and whose first movie was 犬神家の一族…

This story was apparently written in 1980 and is pretty much the last thing the author wrote before he died.


Oh, huh! I was curious about the studio at the time but didn’t find another K candidate and didn’t know the story was written so late.

I tried to find confirmation and a specific location, but I only found this line in the wikipedia article for 角川映画: “日本のメジャー映画会社と違い、自社で人員を抱えず、撮影所も持たずに製作するため、最も頭を悩ませる部分を負担せずに済む、効率の良い「おいしいとこ取り」の製作手法であった[3]。” which seems to say that Kadokawa (at least starting out?) didn’t have their own filming studio (which it sounded to me like the one in the story was).
Searching 角川映画 撮影所 just seems to give results about the modern Kadokawa studio, after they bought Daiei, and that one would have been the Daiei studio still at the time.

I wonder if maybe it’s just K映画 in name (since the Yokomizo connection is obviously very strong) on a fictional studio? Or I probably overlooked something… That’s one thing I regret about reading those stories so quickly is I didn’t take the time to poke around on maps like I’ve enjoyed in the past. :sweat_smile:


Yes, I suspect you’re right, since reading on a little bit it’s clear about the dates – 上海氏 moves to the area in 1958, first meets the girl in 1959, and it’s now 1963. This is all obviously well before the real Kadokawa studio was set up.

Also, for some reason I kinda want this to be the danchi Shizuku lives in in Whisper of the Heart. It’s not a million miles away, at any rate…


Finished 上海氏の蒐集品.

Nope, nothin’ else to say about it.

EDIT: Okay, one thing. This story reminded me of the quote “subtext that is rapidly becoming text.”


Well, finished 上海氏の蒐集品.

Not my favourite kind of story – with this one I was more feeling “well, better get this done, there’s only another 30 pages” quite a bit of the time.

The 解説 had a few interesting details:

Firstly, although 上海氏の蒐集品 was indeed published in 1980, apparently it had been lingering in the author’s drawer for years and was probably written in the mid-1960s, i.e. much closer to the time it was set. That means it can’t have been based on the real Kadokawa studio.

Secondly, apparently not all of the 死仮面 we read was written by Yokomizo! The original was serialized in a magazine over eight issues, and they could only find seven out of the eight, so two chapters of the story in this book were written by 中島河太郎, who wrote the 解説 and is the person who’s been assembling Yokomizu’s collected works for the publisher. (The two rewritten sections are 妖婆の悲憤 and 校長の惨死.)


Also just finished the short story (rather late) and that was exactly my thought. :face_with_diagonal_mouth: Satisfying to be done though!


I have to say, my lack of interest and snail’s pace on the short story was causing me to get behind on my other reading, so I’m setting it aside for now. I’ll try to get back to it at some future time when I’m ahead of schedule with my other books. :sweat_smile: