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Mr. Moto: Improbable International Man of Mystery

Mr. Moto: Improbable International Man of Mystery Mr. Moto, a fictional Japanese detective, achieved mass popularity through a series of 1930s films starring Peter Lorre. Moto was the creation of successful writer John P. Marquand (1893–1960), whose novels depicted a Japanese international spy quite different from the genial Mr. Moto of film. Revisiting the original Mr. Moto novels illuminates a Japanese character who rationalized Japan’s 1930s continental expansionism in ways that might have been acceptable to many Americans. Although Marquand intended to present Mr. Moto as a “moderate” and reasonable Japanese agent and generally present East Asians in a positive light, it is difficult to see the novels as doing anything more than buttressing prevailing racial and ethnic stereotypes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of American-East Asian Relations Brill

Mr. Moto: Improbable International Man of Mystery

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2015 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
Subject
Classics Revisited
ISSN
1058-3947
eISSN
1876-5610
DOI
10.1163/18765610-02201002
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Mr. Moto, a fictional Japanese detective, achieved mass popularity through a series of 1930s films starring Peter Lorre. Moto was the creation of successful writer John P. Marquand (1893–1960), whose novels depicted a Japanese international spy quite different from the genial Mr. Moto of film. Revisiting the original Mr. Moto novels illuminates a Japanese character who rationalized Japan’s 1930s continental expansionism in ways that might have been acceptable to many Americans. Although Marquand intended to present Mr. Moto as a “moderate” and reasonable Japanese agent and generally present East Asians in a positive light, it is difficult to see the novels as doing anything more than buttressing prevailing racial and ethnic stereotypes.

Journal

Journal of American-East Asian RelationsBrill

Published: Apr 10, 2015

Keywords: Mr. Moto; John P. Marquand; American views of Japan; Japanese continental expansionism; racial stereotypes; Edwin O. Reischauer; Japanese-American internment

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