Rashomon Gate Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Rashomon Gate

St. Martin's, Jul 2002, 24.95, 352 pp.
ISBN: 0312287984

In eleventh century Heian Kyo, Japan, Sugawara Akitada knows that he has attained his career ceiling in the Ministry of Justice as a minor bureaucrat. Clerking is simply boring, but that is what Akitada does now and he realizes will continue to do until he is retired. Having no permanent woman in his life except his disappointed mother, Akitada's only passion is solving crimes, a task that he actually has had success at solving.
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Akitada's former law professor at the Imperial University asks his one time student to investigate an apparent blackmailing scheme that needs thwarting before it becomes public knowledge and damages the schools' reputation. Seeing a chance to escape the doldrums of his work, Akitada accepts the assignment. Pretending to be a newly appointed teaching assistant, Akitada begins his investigation into who his blackmailing a professor. However, a seemingly separate second case surfaces that places Akitada in danger from wrong doers with high level connections. On the other hand the obstinate Akitada finds romance too.

The key to enjoying this strong eleventh century Japanese mystery is the names that though add realism to the locale take a bit of adjusting by westerners so as to not lose track of who does what to whom. The story line is brimming with imagery that enables the audience to feel like a visitor to what was once Kyoto. Akitada is a fascinating character disenchanted with his present life with no hope for the future yet gives everything to solving his cases. I.J. Parker writes an appealing tale that showcases her talent to paint quite a picture for historical mystery fans to enjoy.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Rashomon Gate

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   1600-1899 What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   life in that culture Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   Japanese


Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Japan

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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I.J. Parker Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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