Ryonosuke Akutagawa (1892 - 1927)
Akutagawa was a fan of non-Japanese writers such as Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Baudelaire, and he blended his Japanese sensibilities with his love of Western literature. His mother was insane, and he later feared that he was slipping into madness. At the age of thirty-five, he committed suicide by overdosing on Veronal. His stories deliver hard impact, poetic beauty and depth-plumbing psychological sketches. Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon film is based on Akutagawa's "Rashomon" and "In a Bamboo Grove."
"In a Grove" by Ryonosuke Akutagawa
"Autumn" by Ryonosuke Akutagawa
Akutagawa's suicide letter, July 24, 1927
(great authors main page)
List of Works
"A Day in the Life of Oishi Kuranosuke"
"Absorbed in Letters"
"From Withered Fields"
"Death of a Christian"
"Christ in Nanking"
"In a Bamboo Grove"
"Words of a Dwarf"
"The Early Life of Daidoji Shinsuke"
"The House of Genkaku"
(not a complete list)
"Then stealthy footsteps came up to me. I tried to see who it was, but the darkness had closed in all around me. Someone - that someone gently pulled the dagger from my chest with an invisible hand. Again a rush of blood filled my mouth, but then I sank once and for all into the darkness between lives." - from the testimony of the dead man, "In a Bamboo Grove"
"I plan to write this story in a single sitting tonight in time for the deadline I'm facing tomorrow. No, I don't 'plan' to write it: I absolutely have to write it." - narrative intro to "Green Onions"
translations by Jay Rubin
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