chapter  2
26 Pages

The period of development

While the career of Akutagawa was at its height, other events were already taking place in the Japanese literary scene to prepare the way to a more favourable climate for the encouragement of imaginative writing. One important development was the establishment of the magazine Shinseinen (New Youth), which was eventually to provide a vehicle for the publication of science-fiction-type stories. It first appeared in 1920, and was to remain on the scene until 1950. It rapidly became established as the Mecca of tantei shosetsu (detective fiction) which the editor Koga Saburo divided into two kinds: honkaku (regular) and henkaku (irregular). He designated as honkaku any story which concentrated on theoretical riddle-solving; anything else he called henkaku. Science fiction was included under the henkaku classification, and thus went through those formative years under the title of 'irregular detective fiction'.