Science, Folklore, and Ecology of Knowledges in Aoyama’s Detective Conan Anime




mass media, folklore, detective fiction, Japanese animation, Detective Conan, ecology of knowledges


During the Anthropocene, science and folklore have been efficient explanatory models of the world. However, numerous studies suggest a convergence of both perspectives in contemporary mass media productions, being Japanese animation a clear example. The aim of the research presented here was to analyse how science and folklore are integrated and opposed in Aoyama’s Detective Conan, an anime where cases often happen in rural Japan and where folk references confront Conan’s detective reasoning. To reach this objective, a comprehensive qualitative and quantitative study of the presence of folklore in this work—through aspects such as characterisation or narratives—was conducted in 75 cases and over 155 episodes which include references to folklore in their background, plot, or characters. The analysis revealed that, when folklore and science interact, rational thinking is usually preferred over folk beliefs; characters are stereotyped according to their genre or origins; and, more importantly, supernatural beliefs can be included in detective fiction without being ridiculed by the most rational characters.

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Author Biographies

Alba Quintairos-Soliño, University of Vigo

Bachelor in Translation and Intepreting (Universidade de Vigo) and a Master's degree in East Asian Studies with specialization in Japanese and General Studies (Universidad de Salamanca, Spain). PhD candidate in Translation & Paratranslation and a part-time lecturer in Translation at the Department of Translation and Linguistics of Universidade de Vigo (Spain). She is also a Senior Research Support Technician for the Erasmus+ project Global Citizenship and Diversity Management Skills in Higher Education (GLOBDIVES) developed at the same institution. A member of the Research Group on Literary and Cultural Studies, Translation and Interpreting (BiFeGa) of Universidade de Vigo, and the Research Group on Phraseology and Paroemiology (PHRASEONET) of Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (Spain).

Her academic background also includes training received at Dalarna, Malmö, Karlstad and Umeå universities (Sweden), among other institutions. Regarding her doctoral studies in Translation & Paratranslation, she enjoyed a research stay at the Stockholm University (Sweden), where she could deepen her knowledge on Manga Studies. In 2020, Galicia's regional government, Xunta de Galicia, granted her a research fellowship at Centro Ramón Piñeiro para a Investigación en Humanidades so she could become a specialist in Phraseological Studies. Nowadays, she is still a collaborator, participating in the METAFRAS international project as an external researcher. Research interests: paratranslation of the image/text relationship; paratranslation of manga and comics; representation of Otherness in Pop Culture; Gо̄shо̄ Aoyama's works; transdisciplinary analysis of the Japanese media-mix and/or contemporary literature; analysis of cultural translations and cultural bias; Children's and Young Adult Literature; Phraseology.

Key publications:

Quintairos-Soliño, Alba. (2022). “Cuando el símbolo se malinterpreta: paratraducir Japón al margen de dinámicas orientalistas” (pp. 229-248), in Yuste Frías, José & Garrido Vilariño, Xosé Manuel (eds.), Traducción & Paratraducción I: Líneas de investigación. Berlín: Peter Lang.

Ojeda García, Francisco Miguel & Quintairos-Soliño, Alba. (2021). “El cuento más allá de la tradición literaria: el Taketori Monogatari como paradigma de la globalización de referencias culturales”, in Cultura, Lenguaje y Representación, 25, pp. 265-284. [].

Quintairos-Soliño, Alba. (2020). “Contemporary Japanese Folktales Represented in Anime: The Paradigmatic Case of InuYasha” (pp. 273-285), in Brugué, Lydia & Llompart, Auba (eds.), Contemporary Fairy Tale Magic: Subverting Gender and Genre. Leiden: Brill.

Quintairos-Soliño, Alba. (2020). “La representación del ‘otro cultural’ en Japón: el caso de Detective Conan e InuYasha“, in Anuario de Investigación en Literatura Infantil y Juvenil (AILIJ), 18, pp. 63-86. [].

Francisco Miguel Ojeda-García, University of Granada

PhD candidate in Social Anthropology with a FPU fellowship at the Department of Social Anthropology of the Facultad de Filosofía y Letras in Universidad de Granada (2019 - nowadays). He collaborates with the Research Group on Applied Sociocultural Studies (SEJ-208) of Universidad de Granada. He holds a Master's degree in East Asian Studies with specialization in Japanese Studies (Universidad de Salamanca, 2017-2018) and a Bachelor's degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology (Universidad de Granada, 2013-2017).

Research interests: Social Anthropology; anime; myth persistence nowadays; content analysis; Anthropology of Sexuality; identity.

Recent publications:
Ojeda-García, Francisco Miguel & Ogáyar-Marín, Francisco Javier (2022),
"El camp español se hace digital: procesos de activación patrimonial
gay/queer mediante Instagram", in Revista de Humanidades, núm. 47, pp.

Ojeda-García, Francisco Miguel & Ogáyar-Marín, Francisco Javier (2022),
"La transmedia Digital Monster como patchwork mitológico-creencial:
sincretismo y reconfiguraciones de mitos, leyendas y creencias en la
configuración del Mundo Digimon", in Amaltea. Revista de Mitocrítica,
núm. 14, pp. 1-11.

Ojeda-García, Francisco Miguel & Quitairos-Soliño, Alba (2021), “El
cuento más allá de la tradición literaria: el Taketori Monogatari como
paradigma de la globalización de referencias culturales”, in Cultura,
Lenguaje y Representación, núm. 25, pp. 265-284


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Miyashita, H. (2017). Common Motifs and Storylines between Japanese Folktales and Modern Manga and Anime [Master’s essay]. The State University of New York.

Ogáyar-Marín, F. J. and Ojeda-García, F. M. (2016). El mito en la modernidad a través del anime japonés. Revista Nuevas Tendencias en Antropología, 7, 111–132.

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Quintairos-Soliño, A. (2020b). Representation of the ‘Cultural Other’ in Japan: The Case of Detective Conan and InuYasha. Anuario de Investigación en Literatura Infantil y Juvenil, 18, 63–86.

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How to Cite

Quintairos-Soliño, A., & Ojeda-García, F. M. (2024). Science, Folklore, and Ecology of Knowledges in Aoyama’s Detective Conan Anime. Íkala, Revista De Lenguaje Y Cultura, 29(1), 1–17.