Tsurugi no Hawatari (The Sword’s Edge)

The Sword’s Edge

剣の刃渡り [Tsurugi no Hawatari]

Date of first narration: 1892. Detective story. Origin unknown. (Also published with the following titles: Kanda Taketarô, Kuruwaza Taketarô, and Kyokugeishi.)


The story of an acrobat who makes overtures to the daughter of a man whom he has murdered. Set in London. The acrobat has a lover, two male companions and a dog.

(Source: Morioka and Sasaki)

Tsurugi no hawatari illust - Copy wbsite
A scene from the stenographic book version of Henry’s tale.

Gihei Matsumoto, who lives in the north of London, has received 5,000 yen from Zenkichi Shimada, the chief of a steel foundry, as payment for making a steam operated machine. But he is robbed by a man who enters via a window and dies of stab wounds. Gihei’s daughter, Oshizu, learns that the criminal has entered a show tent. The criminal is the acrobat Sekaitei Tohichi. However, in court, Tohichi walks free due to a lack of evidence. Oshizu learns that the wife, Omine, has been captured by Tohichi. Oshizu, with the help of Yamanaka and his son, follow Tohichi’s pet dog to find out where he is hiding, but they end up getting trapped in a cellar. Oshizu escapes, but is held up by a highwayman, whereupon she is rescued by a man called Kanda Taketarô. Kanda is actually Tohichi, who is scheming to make Oshizu his wife.

Meanwhile, Shimada’s son, Ichitarô is in love with Oshizu. When Omine hears from Ichitarô that Tohichi and Oshizu are to marry, she is angered because she intended to be the wife of Tohichi. On the day of the wedding, Omine confesses that Kanda is Tohichi. Omine is shot with a pistol by Tohichi, but Tohichi is arrested. Ichitarô and Oshizu marry happily.

(Source: Itô)