[You may want to check the warning on this blog's translations.]
This a translation of a short detective story by 大阪圭吉 (OOSAKA Keikichi, 1912-1945), first published in the Japanese magazine Shinseinen (新青年) in 1936. I've called it "A Ginza Ghost", but you might prefer "The Ginza Ghost"; there's no article in the Japanese. You can read the original online at Aozora Bunko here. The four stories that I've read by this writer all feature amateur detectives; but they are not the aristocratic dilettantes that the word suggests. They are all professionals in some modern specialist work, sometimes in a management role, but still closely involved with the actual work (the director of a marine biology laboratory, for instance). This story shares with another famous Oosaka story, とむらい機関車 ("Funeral Train") a narrative approach which gives the narrative viewpoint to a whole neighbourhood. There are certainly better stories by Oosaka than this one; and I wouldn't want to claim too much for it. But I think it's an effective mystery, and the evocation of thirties Ginza could be interesting for western readers.
There are only five named characters in the story, TSUNEGAWA Fusae, her daughter Kimiko, her employee Sumiko, her lover Tatsujirou, and the detective NISHIMURA. We don't learn the surnames of Sumiko or Tatsujirou, or the first name of Nishimura. I've written Tatsujiro in the story, because that's how the name would mostly be written in English.
Where I could easily translate with an English expression, I have. I'll try to explain everything else here in advance.
Ginza: a Tokyo district, at that time very lively, and very modern, with many cafés.
ken: an old Japanese length measure, 1.8m.
tsubo: an old Japanese area measure, 3.3 sq. m.
well beam pattern, a shape with two crossing vertical and horizonatal lines, like the kanji for well, 井.
yakko kite: this is actually the point in the translation where I'm least confident. The symbol 奴 has various meanings: slave, person (derogatory) and I think I've seen it used dismissively for an (unspecified) thing. But here this is the only thing that seems to fit from what my dictionary or the internet offers me. The yakko kite is a traditional kite shaped like a man (a servant, hence the name).
Shinbashi: a Tokyo district just south of Ginza.
National Lamp: a popular square shaped (bicycle) lamp of the time, made by the company that later became Panasonic.
Story after the break.