Rampo's repetitions: The doppelganger in Edogawa Rampo and Tsukamoto Shin'ya

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Psychoanalytical discourse has been instrumental in forming the figure of the doppelganger as a coherent concept and genre of film and fiction, typically linking it with notions of 'the uncanny' and 'repetition compulsion'. In this paper, I explore the functions of the figure of the doppelganger in a text that repeats across (and in effect foregrounds the relations between) two separate historical moments: Edogawa Rampo's short story 'The twins' and Tsukamoto Shin'ya's subsequent adaptation of this story titled Gemini (Edogawa 1969; Tsukamoto 1999). In these texts, the doppelganger appears in relation to other motifs such as feigned amnesia and concealment of memory, the deployment of confessional narrative strategies, as well as the problem of adaptation, in effect addressing the stakes of questions of repetition. Moreover, when situated against the constellation of discourses (e.g. psychoanalysis, urbanization, visuality) that are constitutive of its formation as a concept and genre, the doppelganger also serves as a productive point of departure from which to articulate the stakes of the critical practices through which objects of investigation are produced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-182
Number of pages22
JournalJapan Forum
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Edogawa Rampo
  • Tsukamoto Shin'ya
  • doppelgangers in film and literature
  • psychoanalysis
  • repetition compulsion

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