Week 1: 本陣殺人事件

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Week 1

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Start Date: Jan 1st
Next Part: Week 2

Reading:

Week Start Date Chapter Names Page Count
Week 1 Jan 1st 「三本指の男」、「本陣の末裔」、「琴鳴りぬ」 ~28.5

Discussion Rules

  • Please use spoiler tags for major events in the current chapter(s) and any content in future chapters.
  • When asking for help, please mention the chapter and page number. Also mention what version of the book you are reading.
  • Don’t be afraid of asking questions, even if they seem embarrassing at first. All of us are here to learn.
  • To you lurkers out there: Join the conversation, it’s fun! :durtle:

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Proper Noun Readings

Name Reading Notes Proof
井上 英三 いのうえ えいぞう Narrator’s friend (Chapter 1: 三本指の男)
一柳 賢蔵 いちやなぎ けんぞう Head of the family, eldest son, 40 yo, philosopher, lives with his parents
一柳 糸子 いちやなぎ いとこ Kenzou’s mother, widow, 57 yo (Chapter 2: 本陣の末裔)
一柳 妙子 いちやなぎ たえこ Second child, eldest daughter, lives in Shanghai
一柳 隆二 いちやなぎ りゅうじ Third child, second son, 35yo, doctor in Osaka
一柳 三郎 いちやなぎ さぶろう Fourth child, third son, 25yo, lives with his parents
一柳 鈴子 いちやなぎ すずこ Fifth child, second daughter, 17yo, lives with his parents
一柳 良介 いちやなぎ りょうすけ Cousin of the five children, 38yo
一柳 秋子 いちやなぎ あきこ 良介’s wife
久保 克子 くぼ かつこ 賢蔵’s fiancé
久保 林吉 くぼ りんきち 克子’s father, deceased, fruit farmer
鈴子’s cat

Quick tip about a detail that confused me when I read the first chapter, that I embarrassingly didn’t figure out until I watched a movie adaptation:

マスク means like, the kind of mask we’ve all been wearing the last couple of years. I remember struggling to picture what kind of mask could cover only part of his face and still be a usual enough sight that everybody wasn’t constantly remarking on it instead of the number of fingers, and somehow I got stuck confusedly imagining like, Phantom of the Opera style masks and the right image just never occurred to me despite wearing one whenever I went outside. :sweat_smile:

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I am finding this book to be a bit easier to read compared to パノラマ島綺譚. Not sure if this is because of personal styles (the authors and/or mine) or if the 30-40 years between the two books make a difference. パノラマ島綺譚 has very long compound sentences!

I quite enjoyed the description of the 三本指の男. I hope this is not considered spoiler since one might reasonably expect to read about the man from the chapter title. (:

I found it interesting that in both 本陣殺人事件 and パノラマ島綺譚, the narrators have an explicit relationship with the readers. Is this customary for Japanese novels? Novels from that particular time period or specific genre? Intersections of all of the above?

My favorite phrase from this week is “眼光紙背に徹する”!

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It’s definitely something I’d associate with mystery novels, especially older ones like these, not anything particular to Japanese novels I don’t think.

From what I’ve seen both Yokomizo and Ranpo (but especially Ranpo - I mean, even his pen name is a reference) seem to like to insert their influences into the story, often talking about like, Murders in the Rue Morgue or The Mystery of the Yellow Room or what-have-you, as the narrator or detective explores options and describes how the mystery at hand is different than those. And while I haven’t read a ton of the works they reference, it seems probably common to me in that kind of mystery to have a narrator separate from either the detective or suspects, to draw the reader in, like Watson narrating in the Sherlock Holmes stories as though he’s describing real events to an audience. And I suppose the self-insert narrator is one variety of that.

They also definitely knew and worked with each other, so I bet their understanding of the genre and how to write it informed each other’s (especially Ranpo influencing Yokomizo, since he seemed to have been established in the industry first).

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I found it hard to read personally. Probably cause it’s pretty old and there’s lots of kanji I’m not used to. Also lots of descriptions. I prob missed a lots of info but I got the general info about it.

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Can we get a list of characters for this book?

😅

Would do it myself but I’m out of town for the holidays and just barely managing to finish the reading for the week as it is.

Also, if anyone was confused like I was about the name 糸子刀自… I found the following explanation on the internet.

糸子(いとこ)はその未亡人の名前です
刀自(とじ)は年輩の女性を敬愛の気持ちを込めて呼ぶ称。

And here I was thinking 糸子 was an alternate reading for 従兄弟… How stupid I was! Never heard of that name or honorific title before. The second chapter with all of those names and family member descriptions was definitely the most difficult of the three.

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Thanks for the heads up :sweat_smile: I will track the names as I read and will put them up here.

I must confess I have barely started reading yet as I also wanted to read significant portions of three :woman_facepalming: other books this week… I managed to read all I wanted in those three, and now I need to get cracking on 本陣 from today :crazy_face: I hope I can make it…

But luckily from next week there is only 本陣 and two others so there is hope :sweat_smile:

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I have the Japanese Wikipedia page open in a tab on my browser for the characters (:

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Nice, thanks!

Sorry all, I haven’t managed to finished Week 1 yet, and therefore could not collect all the names. Maybe you’re now happy with the wikipedia page, but if not, I’ll keep collecting them! (Or if somebody posts a list fore each week, then I’d be happy to put them up in the OP.)

I got intrigued by the list of references, and especially since the authors’ names were katakana-ized in the most horrible of ways (to my ears), I wanted to find out more about them. In case y’all are also interested, these are the works:

ルルーの「黄色の部屋」: Leroux’ The Mystery of the Yellow Room - Wikipedia
ルブランの「虎の牙」: Leblanc’s Les Dents du tigre (Arsène Lupin) — Wikipédia
ヴァンダインの「カナリア殺人事件」と「ケンネル殺人事件」: Van Dine’s The Canary Murder Case (film) - Wikipedia and The Kennel Murder Case (film) - Wikipedia
ディクソン・カーの「プレーグ・コートの殺人」: Dickson Carr’s The Plague Court Murders - Wikipedia
スカーレットの「エンジェル家の殺人」: Roger Scarlett’s “Murder among the Angells”

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Fresh off part 1!

What an interesting start! I really like the intro, and the way the information is being told. It could have been just a boring chapter full of details, but it wasn’t. :slight_smile: The fact that we got such a detailed layout right off the bat is making me think we’ll have an actual shot at guessing the plot during the telling, too. I had to re-read the sentence that began the recount of the ‘three fingered man’ at the 飯屋 to catch the scene shift, but other than that it was just a lot of vocab lookups. (48 highlights in just this first part, and a bunch of google image searches!)

Gallery

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紅殻色 (taken from a travel blog金沢 travel blog

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金屏風

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建仁寺垣

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枝折り戸 (taken from here, where I also found a cool, hidden door in the 建仁寺垣 itself.)

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お釜帽, from a movie adaptation.

And then I spent a good long while reading up on all those measurements.

Numbers

Apparently there’s different 尺, the one most commonly used now being 曲尺(かねじゃく), so that’s the one I went with. This book isn’t that old. :eyes:

1尺は約30.3センチ
1歩は6尺で、約1.8メートル。
1坪は6尺平方で、約3.3平方メートル
1間はふつう6尺(約1.82メートル)

Here’s a post on the history of road width in Japan, and where I first learned that a 二間道路 is 3,6m wide.

I do still have questions, too!

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Does someone know the reading for 内塀? For 外塀 I found そとべい, so I’m guessing it’d be うちべい, maybe without rendaku, but I couldn’t find anything.

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Then, about a page or so before the end of part 1, when the お主婦たち are talking, there’s a part I’m not sure I fully understand.
林さんの娘だっていうじゃないか、えらいものをつかまえたね、また。……玉の輿か。そんなにいいきりょうかい、お主婦さん

My best attempt at parsing (or putting kanji to that mess):
そんなに いい 器量 かい
Is she that good looking (to marry into richness)?

Having worked through it now, I’m pretty satifsied with the outcome, actually. Especially since 器量がいい is something you can say about (especially) a woman. Still, if anyone has something to add to my understanding, that’d be great,

Onto part 2~

72 highlight for parts 2&3 combined, a couple google searches for the clothes, but that’s about it. :slight_smile:

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Yeah, you have it right!
The 主夫 and the 馬方 are gossiping about the upcoming wedding between the 旦那 of the 一柳家, who is in his 40s, and a young woman in her mid-twenties of no particularly important background at all (林さん apparently refers to her father running orchards, since I’m pretty sure I remember that coming up later).
So for her, it’s marrying up in status and wealth.
So “そんなにいいきりょうかい” is suggesting a reason for that - “is she that good looking?”
But then the conversation continues saying apparently no, that’s not it. The groom taught at a women’s college where the bride attended, and it was their intellectual conversations that caused the groom to passionately fall for her.
So the humorous conclusion between these (older, lower-class) gossipers is やっぱり, women need to be educated these days. You can get a rich husband that way!

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