According to Wikipedia, “crime in Japan is lower than in all other industrialized countries”, and it is still decreasing. Apart from some states in the US, Japan is also the only country in the G8 to carry out death penalty executions (in South Korea for example, it is a legal form of punishment, but it has not been carried out for many years). Crime in Japan is therefore mostly white-collar crime on the one hand, and quite atrocious homicide on the other hand. importation of weapons is strictly regulated by law, so most killings are committed with knives.
Though the crime rate is low, the Japanese are quite fond of detective stuff. And, you have to admit, they are good in such riddles. The first manga I ever read, was Detective Conan and I was sold immediately. I have always been a fan of detective stories and whodunits. I read all books of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and I swear by Agatha Christie and her (Belgian!) detective Hercule Poirot. I discovered more and more Japanese suspense and mystery writers like Edogawa Rampo, Keigo Higashino and Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. I also like to watch Japanese suspense and crime drama. These are my favorite ones:
1. Mr Brain mixes detective work with neuroscience and psychology. The cases are thrilling and original (especially the second and fifth in my opinion).
2. Boss is funny and exciting at the same time. Although it’s immediately obvious who’s the culprit at the beginning, it’s still interesting to see how they are going to solve it.
3. Liar Game An expert swindler helps a naive girl to win the Liar Game. A lot of lies, strategic thinking and unexpected twists.
4. Bloody Monday I wrote about this drama in my blog on Aum’s legacy and Japanese pop culture.
5. Death Note A classic masterpiece. In possession of a note-book with killing power, the protagonist decides to kill every criminal in the world. I prefer the anime version over the manga and live action movie. The popularity of Death Note, however, caused a sad incident in Belgium. Four teenagers killed a young man, cut his body in pieces and left a note with “watashi wa kira desu ( I am the killer)” – a direct reference to the manga.
7. Galileo An eccentric physicist solves with the help of a rookie cop several crimes.
8. Kurosagi A drama about fraud (sagi 詐欺). Kurosaki as a fraud cheats the money back from frauds. I mentioned this drama before in a post about economics and drama.