An Analysis of the Influence of Sherlock Holmes on Modern Japanese Anime

The purpose of this project is to explore the links between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and detective fiction in a more modern genre: anime.  The culture of modern day Japan differs vastly from Holmes’ London of the late 19th century.  Nevertheless, Sherlock Holmes is a pivotal character in the development of detective fiction, and the idea of the analytical detective has gained popularity in many forms of media.  I want to analyze the influence of Doyle’s creation on a foreign culture through a medium that is not widely studied.  Anime is essentially a Japanese style of animation, and it is the name given to all Japanese cartoons.  Sherlock Holmes embodies traits that are universally appreciated as ideal for analytical detectives and how this is reflected in modern Japanese anime.  My research will concentrate on the commonalities in the personality traits, deductive reasoning, and interpersonal relationships that are shared by all of the detectives.

The first step in this process is to analyze the earliest works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s that contain Sherlock Holmes, beginning with A Study in Scarlet and continuing with the stories that develop his character.  It is important to study not only his character, but also his methods of detection and how he interacts with the people in his environment and with the setting itself.  The anime that I will focus on is Case Closed, but I will also reference Kindaichi Case Files, Sherlock Hound, Death Note, and other anime that Holmes has influenced.  All of the detectives that I will study use Holmes as a prototype, emulating him to varying degrees.  I want to understand the aspects of Sherlock Holmes that translate into other cultures and are recognized and appreciated.


  1. Totally stalking this.

    Also, I am NOT creepy at ALL, what.