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Mr. Moto: Improbable International Man of Mystery

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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.

Affiliations: 1: Knox College mschneid@knox.edu

10.1163/18765610-02201002
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/content/journals/10.1163/18765610-02201002
2015-04-10
2018-11-21

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