An Unsolved Mystery: The Paragraphs Omitted from Edogawa Ranpo’s “The Human Chair”




A comparison between a translation and its original sends the author on a quest to explain a seeming discrepancy between the two versions. Edogawa Ranpo’s 1925 story “Ningen isu” contains four paragraphs that have been silently omitted from James B. Harris’s 1956 translation, “The Human Chair.” The omitted passage treats the theme of political assassination, and it is plausible that the omission is not accidental. Investigation into the matter, however, has not yet clarified how the passage came to be omitted. The author of the present paper describes how he structured a lesson on Edogawa’s text, summarizes his students’ contributions to a discussion of the omitted passage, and offers some observations on the benefits of disseminating seemingly inconclusive research results.


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