Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Tuttle, Tokyo and Rutland, VT: 2007, English; Rashomon originally published 1915 in Japanese
ISBN: 9784805308820

From the Publisher. This collection of short stories includes "In a Grove", a psychologically sophisticated tale about murder, rape, and suicide; "Rashomon", the story of a thief scared into honesty by an encounter with a ghoul; and "Kesa and Morito", the story of man driven to kill someone he doesn't hate by a lover whom he doesn't love.
"There are enough Swiftian touches in Akutagawa to show his hatred of stupidity, greed, hypocrisy and the rising jingoism of the day. But Akutagawa’s artistic integrity kept him from joining his contemporaries in the easy social criticism or naive introspection…What he did was question the values of his society, dramatize the complexities of human psychology, and study, with a Zen taste for paradox, the precarious balance of illusion and reality."—Howard Hibbett, from the Introduction of Rashomon and Other Stories

Moody but powerful are these six short stories exploring the darkest depths of the human soul.

Short stories translated by Takashi Kojima; introduction by Howard Hibbet.

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Hartmut Esslinger

I was 13 when I read “Rashomon” for the first time. I even made a chart showing how the different facts could match up so differently from each person’s point of view. Then I saw the movie by Akira Kurasawa. And finally I learned in Japan that Ryunosuke Akutagawa had been both a genius and a mentally ill man, ultimately taking his own life.

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