Ryunosuke Akutagawa's 5 recommended works - If you want to taste a masterpiece medium and short story with excellent sharpness, Akutagawa is the right choice! Recommended for both beginning and expert readers!

Akutagawa Ryunosuke Yukio Mishima and Japanese Literature

Five recommended works by Ryunosuke Akutagawa - If you want to taste a masterpiece medium and short story with excellent sharpness, Akutagawa is the one for you!

Previous ArticleFive of Osamu Dazai's recommended works--some of his best works for beginning readers!"In the previous article, we introduced Osamu Dazai's recommended works, and in this article, we will introduce Ryunosuke Akutagawa, another representative Japanese writer.

Here is a quick profile of Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927)Wikipedia.

Akutagawa Ryunosuke(1892-1927)
Born in Tokyo. Graduated from Tokyo Imperial University with a degree in English Literature. While still a student, he began writing, and his short story "The Nose" was highly praised by Soseki Natsume. Later, he published "Rashomon," "Imogoshi," and "Yabu no naka (In the Yabu)," a story about the dynastic period based on Konjaku Monogatari, and "Du Zi Shun," a fairy tale based on a Chinese legend, one after another. He became a favorite on the Taisho literary stage, publishing a series of novels such as "Gears," "A-Among the Cogs," "Imojiru," and "Yabu-naka," a children's tale based on a Chinese tale. He left behind a number of posthumous manuscripts, including "Gears" and "A Fool's Life.

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Yukio Mishima and Osamu Dazai, whom we have introduced so far, are truly two extremes. They are writers with opposite styles of writing and opposite ways of life. For this reason, it is thought that there may be quite a difference in likes and dislikes regarding these two writers.

In contrast to these two extremes, Ryunosuke Akutagawa has a middle-of-the-road style that is just as good.

When I say "middle-of-the-road and moderately good," I am only comparing it to the works of Mishima and Dazai. The sharpness of his work is outstanding.

I recommend this collection of works at the highest level as an introduction to reading. Of course, even the experts will be surprised at the depth of these works.

So let's get started.

The Spider's Thread.

spider silk

The Spider's Thread" is the first children's literature written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, and is a famous short story that is also famous as a Buddhist tale. As a Buddhist monk, I have seen and heard the story of "The Spider's Thread" in many Dharma talks and Buddhist books, and I believe that this story has been familiar to the Japanese people as a whole, beyond the framework of temple-related works.

However, it is also true that it is not easy to have a chance to read this work again as an adult. I myself have not read this novel for quite a while this time.

Now, as the novel goes, a thread of salvation is draped over Gedanta, who has fallen into hell. This was Buddha's final mercy and test. However, as we all know, Khandata's egotism pushes others away and he tries to save himself. Then, the thread is broken, and he goes straight back to hell....

Reading it again, I cannot help but be amazed at how such a dramatic development unfolds in just five pages in a paperback book. The "Bungo Navi: Ryunosuke Akutagawa," which I quoted earlier, also describes this as follows.

Ryunosuke Akutagawa is a genius chef who has enclosed the microcosm in the vessel of the short story.

Akutagawa does not try to greedily put the whole picture of a person, society, or history on a single platter. Instead, he simply extracts one or two of the most memorable episodes and puts them on a single small plate. How vivid are the sections and chapters of these episodes.

Yes, it is this sharpness! Akutagawa has done a masterful job of cutting out the most important essence, arranging it with a minimum of words, and presenting it before us on a small plate. This is brilliant!

The Spider's Thread" is a perfect example.


Rashomon, nose

Rashomon" was published in 1915 and was written by Osamu Dazai'sRunning MerosThis is a short story familiar from school textbooks as well as

The story takes place in Kyoto during a period of natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, and famine. A man is sheltering from the rain under the Rashomon Gate. The whole of Kyoto is in a miserable state. There was nothing to eat, nothing to sell, and even Buddhist statues and implements were destroyed and sold as firewood.

Because of such a situation, Rashomon was abandoned in disrepair and became a hangout for outlaws and even a morgue for corpses. A man came upon Rashomon.

Suddenly, he found a ladder leading up to Rashomon's tower, and as he climbed up, he felt the presence of someone. There, I met a creepy old woman. She was silently pulling out hair from a corpse.

I approached him fearfully and asked him why...and that is the major flow of Rashomon.

Well - even so, Akutagawa's short story technique is brilliant! An eerie presence appears in the darkness of the night after ascending Rashomon. Even as an adult, I still find myself engrossed in the story, wondering what is out there. It's almost like a cinematic technique, and the sense of realism is incredible.

In this work, Akutagawa decisively captures the moment when a man embarks on a path of evil. The last part of the work, in which the subtle psychological state of this man is exquisitely captured, is a masterpiece.

And one passage in this "Rashomon" has left a great impression on me. Here it is.

I'm choosing the means to do something about something that's out of my control.quitting (one's job)(of one's business) slowThere is no If you choose to,mud wall with a roofroofed mud wallunder or on the dirt of the roadside,(death from) starvationstarving to deathAnd then they would bring them to the gate and discard them like dogs. And then they bring them to the gate and dump them like dogs.

Shinchosha, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, "Rashomon, nose" p. 10

'I'm going out of my way to make things out of control.quitting (one's job)(of one's business) slowThere is no such thing."

These words have a power that can only be experienced by adults who know both the sour and the sweet sides of life. The older you get, the more you realize the power of these words. Rashomon" is harsh. It shows us the harsh and severe state of the world as much as possible. It is precisely because of these words that the story that follows comes to life. This is exactly what it means to embark on the path of evil. It is truly a wonderful work.

The Nose

Rashomon, nose

Rashomon" was not very popular in the magazines in which it was published, so it did not receive any response immediately after it was written, but "Nose" was highly praised by Soseki Natsume, and was the work that catapulted Ryunosuke Akutagawa to the literary world. This work marked the beginning of the lifelong master-disciple relationship between Soseki Natsume and Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

As mentioned in the introduction above, "The Nose" is a humorous story about a monk who struggles to shorten his nose, which hangs down to the bottom of his chin, and succeeds in doing so. The work is also described in "Ryunosuke Akutagawa's Navi" as follows.

The Nose" and "Imojiru" are works of advice regarding human desires. Suppose you do something good, and as a reward, God, Buddha, or the heavenly bodies tell you, "I will grant you whatever you wish. What would you wish for? Money? Career, fame, or power? Or perhaps "love" for some people? Some might say, "Health and longevity.

However, this "wish" is a tricky thing. Akutagawa teaches his readers that there are things that human beings "should not wish for" and "things that will not come true no matter how much we wish for them.

In "The Nose," the monk with the long nose wishes for a "short nose" and achieves it, but as a result, he loses his identity. In other words, the monk has wished to become not "himself" but "someone who is not himself at all. A barren wish that only escapes from reality makes people unhappy.

Shinchosha, "Bungo Navi: Akutagawa Ryunosuke," p. 24-25

Indeed, "The Nose" skillfully depicts such barren wishes of human beings with the long nose as its subject.

And the commentary at the end of the book says that this novel was written by the Russian writer GogolThe NoseIt was also explained that he had referred greatly to the

Nicolai Gogol (1809-1852)Wikipedia.

Gogol also wrote an excellent short story on the very theme of "The Nose. Akutagawa wrote "The Nose" based on this masterpiece. Imo porridge" included in this book is also based on Gogol's "The Nose".The Mantle.The following is a list of some of the most important works of Russian literature in Japan. I feel that the influence that Russian literature has had on Japanese literature is extraordinary.

Akutagawa wrote "Rashomon" based on Japanese classics and "The Nose" based on Russian literature. After all, nothing comes from nothing. I felt that any masterpiece begins with tireless training, insight, and previous research. In the commentary at the end of the book, Akutagawa's creative attitude is described as "piling up reference books in his study, as if he were writing a thesis. Akutagawa created these works as if he were conducting literary research.

It was a masterpiece that also taught me how to be a writer.

Hell Hath No Name."

heck-bent on robbing a robber

Jigokuhen" is Ryunosuke Akutagawa's masterpiece short story that makes us think about what art is.

This story is set in the Heian period. Akutagawa wrote this work with reference to "Uji Jigai Monogatari" and "Kokin Shokumon Shu".

The main character, Yoshihide, was the most prodigious painter of his day, and his uncanny and realistic works were highly acclaimed by the public.

But he had a problem. His character was just bad. He was stingy, shameless, lazy, greedy, arrogant, proud, and always hanging his reputation as the country's number one painter right under his nose. Naturally, he is a hater.

However, there was only one aspect of this man that could be considered a beauty. He loved his daughter very much.

Unlike her father, the daughter was truly beautiful, kind, and sincere. Her work ethic and personality earned her the favor of the Grand Lord. This daughter is the key to the story of "Jigoken," but more on that later...

This is the story of Yoshihide, the greatest painter of his day, and his "hell paintings.

This eerie tale of mystery is a first-rate work in the fullest Akutagawa style. Hats off to the author for his masterful exploration of the mystery of how Yoshihide's horrific masterpiece was created and the insanity of an artistic genius. It is easy to see why this work is regarded as one of Akutagawa's greatest literary masterpieces.

I would highly recommend this work.



Kappa" was written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa just before his suicide.

This work is the story of a man who wanders into the land of the kappa and satirizes the world we live in through the strange world he sees there.

Even in the world of kappa, their way of life is almost the same as that of humans, with the only difference being their physical structure. They do not live in a river, but in buildings similar to those used by humans on earth, and they lead lifestyles similar to ours. However, their values and ethics are completely different from ours. What does the man think when he sees this discrepancy? Will he be able to return safely to the human world?

Through "The World of Kappa," Akutagawa poignantly questions the state of Japan.

How unique and humorous are each (each and every?) kappa! How unique and humorous each kappa is. And how eerie....

It is horrifying to think that this work was Ryunosuke Akutagawa's desperate protest, a warning for the end of his life. He committed suicide less than a year after the publication of this work.

It will soon be 100 years since the death of Ryunosuke Akutagawa. But even 100 years later, Akutagawa's works have never faded. The power of literature has been passed on to those of us living today.

This reading was a reminder of these major trends in Japanese and world literature, and of the great significance of "otherworldly stories. There is no doubt about it. Kappa" is a masterpiece.


If you ask me who is my personal favorite Japanese writer, I would say Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

I like Yukio Mishima and his influence is huge, of course, but my simple favorite is Ryunosuke Akutagawa. I don't like or dislike Yukio Mishima anymore. I feel that I was completely gripped by him before I knew what was going on.

Ryunosuke Akutagawa, on the other hand, I admire purely for his work and style. He is so smart, sharp, and full of wit. I can't help but marvel at how he is able to capture so much of the world in such a short story.

I love the Russian writer Chekhov. He was also a master of short stories. I tend to admire such writers.

Ryunosuke Akutagawa is highly recommended for beginning readers. It is easy to read, and moreover, the story is compact, so it can be read easily. This work can be safely recommended for those who have not yet developed their reading stamina. If you are not ready to read a full-length work, we recommend that you start with Akutagawa.

I would also highly recommend Akutagawa to reading gens as well. No, it is precisely because you are a professional reader that his greatness will be felt in a reverse way.

I feel from the bottom of my heart that I am glad to have met Ryunosuke Akutagawa at this time. I highly recommend this author.

These are the "5 recommended works of Ryunosuke Akutagawa - If you want to taste a masterpiece medium and short story with excellent sharpness, Akutagawa is the one for you! Recommended for both beginners and experts!" This is the end of the article.

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