1930s Shanghai has long captivated people for its lurid underworld, usually presented in the form of the notorious Green Gang. However, there was a brief period in Old Shanghai where a new batch of gangsters rose to prominence, and their story is told in Paul French’s Devils of Shanghai.
China Dawn by Robert L. Duncan is a historical epic novel from 1988, spanning the years of 1931 to 1981, moving through various locations, from Tokyo to Shanghai, to Manchukuo, to Singapore, to Paris.
Babylon Berlin returns for a third season, taking us back to the hectic and hedonistic days of 1929 Berlin. This season (or series as the Brits say; staffel fur die Deutschen) follows Detective Gereon Rath and his assistant/sidekick Charlotte Ritter as they investigate the strange murders on a movie set, committed by a mysterious and nightmarish Phantom. With them are enough side characters and subplots to give Deadwood a run for its money.
Japanese cinema has never gained widespread acceptance in the West, save for Godzilla and Kurosawa films. But those are only a tiny pinprick of Japanese films, which cover all genres, including war. Aside from Tora Tora Tora and Letter From Iwo Jima, there haven’t been many movies that show war from a Japanese perspective that have gained traction in the West. I’d like to change that with 5 Japanese war movie recommendations.
1931 was an important year in Japanese history. Casual research of this era will have a brief overview of the invasion of Manchuria in September, and vague references to a coup d’état which put the Army in charge. In truth, there was no armed coup d’état in 1931, at least none that were successful. However, the March Incident (Sangatsu Jiken 三月事件) came close.
Edogawa Ranpo has become synonymous with Japanese horror and mystery fiction. Using a pen name based off of Edgar Allen Poe, (try saying it three times fast), the author Taro Hirai wrote many short stories and novels as Edogawa Ranpo (sometimes Romanized as Rampo). Like his namesake, Ranpo wrote mostly horror and mystery stories, basically introducing the genres into Japanese literature. While Ranpo has a plethora of material to choose from, here are my recommendations on where to start with his writing and films based off his work.