Japanese mystery novelist Kyotaro Nishimura dies at 91

Courtesy of Bungeishunju Ltd. / Jiji Press
Kyotaro Nishimura

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Prominent Japanese novelist Kyotaro Nishimura, known for his travel mystery series, died of liver cancer in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, on Thursday. He was 91.

Nishimura, whose real name was Kihachiro Yajima, was born in Tokyo in 1930.

After drifting from one job to the next, Nishimura started writing novels. In 1965, he won the Edogawa Rampo Prize for his novel “Tenshi no Shokon” (A Scar of an Angel).

With his novel “Blue Train Satsujin Jiken” (The Blue Train Murder Case) released in 1978, Nishimura opened up a new genre of travel mysteries involving tricks that use train services. His travel mystery series, including those featuring imaginary police detective Shozo Totsugawa, in which actual train stations and names of trains across Japan appear, drew popularity and many were made into television dramas.

He won the Mystery Writers of Japan Award for his novel “Taminaru Satsujin Jiken” (The Terminal Murder Case) in 1981.

In 2001, a museum displaying items related to Nishimura’s works opened in the town of Yugawara in Kanagawa.