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Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,951 Ratings  ·  213 Reviews
En los encantadores y hasta a veces terribles relatos de Akutagawa -afirma Jorge Luis Borges- discernir con rigor los elementos orientales y occidentales es acaso imposible... Cierta tristeza reprimida, cierta preferencia por lo visual, cierta ligereza de pincelada, me parecen, a través de lo inevitablemente imperfecto de toda traducción, esencialmente japonesas. La extrav ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1927)
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Nandakishore Varma
For a person drunk on the film society culture prevalent in Kerala during the Seventies and Eighties, "Rashomon" is a magic word.

Akira Kurasowa’s film enjoys cult status among movie buffs. It is rivetting in its presentation of “truth” in many layers, presented as a conversation among three people: a woodcutter, a priest and a commoner who take shelter under the ramshackle Rashomon city gates to escape a downpour. The story is the death (murder?) of a man, the rape (?) of a woman and the capture
Feb 08, 2010 Kimley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Obviously the difficulty of rating collections of stories is the fact that they don't necessarily all rate equally. About a third of these stories are easily knock-out 5-star fantastic. The other two-thirds I'd rate mostly 4 stars with a few 3 stars. All worth reading and in general I think this is probably a good intro to Akutagawa's work in that it contains a nice cross-section of his work from the earliest historical stories to his later primarily autobiographical stories.

I personally preferr
May 03, 2010 Praj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Akutagawa known as the “Father of Japanese short stories” stays true to his designation with this collection of metaphysically refined stories. The rendered stories: - The Grove, Yam Gruel, Rashomon, Martyr to name a few; highlights Akutagawa’s preference for macabre themes of immortality, depression, virtue, chaos and death. These stories encompass a constant battle of skepticism prevailing over virtue of morality v/s existence of evil.

In Rashomon, the act of the ghoulish old woman picking ou
Dec 03, 2015 Zanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First read in 2007

In his characteristically measured, conversational introduction to this book, Murakami Haruki tells us that Akutagawa is his third favourite author in the modern (post 1868) Japanese canon (after Soseki and Tanizaki). Rather than giddily enthusing about the author, Murakami carefully contextualises him in Japanese literature and culture. Akutagawa lived during a brief period of prosperity and political liberalism between WWI and the Depression in 1929, and combined appreciative
Good, but...

Yes. I did it. I've committed one of the ultimate literary sacrileges of all time. I read Akutagawa Ryunosuke in translation when I could have read it in original Japanese. I am guilty as charged. I just couldn't resist a book with such a cool cover and Murakami's introduction plus his trusted Jay Rubin doing the translation.

Having said that, I did read it along with the actual Japanese text in front of me to see how well Jay Rubin has grappled with difficult early 19th-century Jap
Apr 22, 2016 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm a big fan of the movie. The title story, interestingly, is not the same as the movie. Well, at least most of it. It's the following story in the collection, "In a Bamboo Grove," that Kurosawa based his masterpiece on. It's a good story, but not, by far, the best in the collection. (The title story "Rashomon," which precedes "Bamboo Grove" is one blackest stories I've ever read.) It's one of those rare instances where the movie is better than the story it's based on. It's not that the story i ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
When I read my first Murakami, a compilation of short stories called "After the Quake," I was amazed by his refreshing originality. Some of his stories, indeed, had the effect of an earthquake to me. There were jolting, sudden and unexpected turns. In one, a man and a woman, after a brief introduction, make love. Then, out of nowhere, the man felt a sudden impulse to kill her. In another story, the characters were on a beach. Tears suddenly flow down from the eyes of one character, then they tal ...more
Jun 15, 2015 umberto rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan
Reading Ryunosuke Akutakawa's "Hell Screen" is like reading Edgar Allan Poe. However, "Rashomon" here was merely the inception of the 1950 film directed by Akira Kurosawa since, according to the Translator's Note, the director used only the first two short stories (Rashomon & In a Bamboo Grove) and Shinobu Hashimoto helped him rewrite the whole screenplay.
I'm sorry I've never seen the film before, however, some 40 years ago I read its screenplay in Thai. Therefore, it's interesting to find i
Madhulika Liddle
It’s hard to review something like Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories: it’s too complex, too often inducing a “What was that I read?”, too deep, and yet approachable, very readable.

I found this book by chance while surfing Goodreads, and was immediately attracted by Rashōmon, since I am a fan of Kurosawa’s, and am all admiration for that particular film (the plot of which, ironically, draws more from Akutagawa’s In the Bamboo Grove than it does from Rashōmon itself).
Oct 09, 2013 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-red-circle
In his (undated ... perhaps 2006?) introduction, Haruki Murakami gives us what he thinks would be Japan's 10 most important "writers of national stature". They are writers that "left us works of the first rank that vividly reflect the mentality of the Japanese people ... [the works] must have the power to survive at least a quarter century after the writer's death. ... The important thing is whether each of them as an individual human being embraced an awareness of the great questions of the age ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
The interpreted stories included in this collection reflect an intelligence that is well-read, perceptive and deeply aware of human foibles. Through the language of ancient Eastern folk tales, half of the short stories are entertaining and revealing. The author writes in the years of 1915 to 1925, in Japan, using Chinese and Japanese literary and cultural themes that not only educate the reader in Eastern literature, but also demonstrate that humanity is the same whether living in the East or We ...more
Jan 02, 2016 Rhys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first Akutagawa story I ever read was ‘Sennin’, the first story in the Borges edited anthology *The Book of Fantasy*, and I was impressed with its quirky and ironic flavour. I resolved to seek out more Akutagawa, so I was delighted when I chanced on this Penguin Classics volume containing eighteen of his tales.

It’s a retrospective of his entire life’s work (he died when he was only thirty five) and divided into four sections.

The first section is devoted to his early stories. ‘Rashomon’ is th
Jun 17, 2008 Yulia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Yulia by: Bibliomantic
Hmm, these stories are so unlike what I'm used to expecting shorts to be like. They're like folklore or legends. It's quite impressive to think a once-living man could have created such timeless stories. Don't such narratives take centuries to shape, passed from one generation to the next by old women making yarn or silk thread?


I'm not sure whether to be amused or annoyed that Murakami gives Akutagawa such grudging praise in his introduct
May 10, 2015 Faisal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

من التهاون أن يتم استحضار أسماء رواد القصة القصيرة في الأدب العالمي، من غير أن يُذكر اسم ريونوسوكي أكوتاجاوا كرائد في هذا الجنس الأدبي. فإن كان لروسيا أن تحتفي بتشيخوف، ولإنجلترا بإدغار، ولفرنسا بموباسان، فلليابان أن تفخر كل الفخر بريونوسوكي أكوتاجاوا، كواحد من عباقرة هذا المجال.

أسلوب ريونوسوكي يتّسم بالهدوء. صوته الروائي يشبه طنين الصمت. فعندما يصف الجحيم البوذي، يفعلها وكأنه يصف حديقة منزله. ويصوّر سقوط الرأس المقطوع عن الجسد، كأنه يصوّر سقوط الملعقة من على الطاولة. يتحدّث ببساطة عن كل ما قد
Joe Cummings
Jan 21, 2015 Joe Cummings rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories is the 2006 volume of short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa that have been collected and translated by Jay Rubin. Film buffs will recognize Rashomon as the title of a film by Kurosawa. The great Japanese film director lifted the title of one of the stories, but the screenplay is also based on the tale In a Bamboo Grove which is also included. In fact, this collection has selections written throughout his entire career. Sadly, however, Akutagawa's life was cu ...more
Sarah Echo
Jun 30, 2015 Sarah Echo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
For much of Akutagawa’s early career, he delved into Japan’s literary past. The story “Loyalty” is a complex tale based on a true event that took place during the Tokugawa period, when the young head of a noble family went insane, creating a crisis among his samurai retainers. Samurai were meant to be loyal to the death, but that loyalty also extended to the Shogun. If one’s master posed a thread to the Shogun, where should your loyalty lie? This is the problem that faces two very different reta ...more
Tracy Lynch
This was my son Thomas' recommendation which I knew would challenge me as much of his reading material is quite obscure and different to mine entirely. However, I intend to challenge myself intensely this year with my choice of books and not opt for the easy read. Despite my initial 'Thomas! What on earth is this' thoughts, I soon found myself caught up in the short but interesting stories. The themes of the stories deal with human emotions in a frank, honest manner and I found the issues to be ...more
Vanessa Wu
Oct 03, 2011 Vanessa Wu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first started writing book reviews and posting them to my blog I really didn't care what I wrote. I never spent more than 10 minutes on any of them. I just wanted my name to be posted on the internet every day. The point was to publicise my stories, into which I poured my heart and soul.

Then something terrible happened. People began to read my reviews. Not just any old people. Experts.

I've had Chinese literary experts. Sex experts. Hard-boiled fiction experts. There's an expert Haiku prac
Parrish Lantern
Oct 23, 2010 Parrish Lantern rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Rashomon & 17 other stories

Ryunosuke Akutugawa is generally regarded as the "father of the Japanese short story" of which he wrote approximately a hundred, before taking his own life at the age of 35, he also has Japan's most famous Literary prize named after him (Akutagawa Prize) . Born in Tokyo in 1892 & raised by a family steeped in traditional Japanese culture, by a young age had mastered English, before going on to excel as a student in his country's top educational establishments
Robert Beveridge
Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Rashomon and 17 Other Stories (Penguin, 2006)

I'll admit I picked this up less because it was Akutagawa than the bit that said “illustrated by Yoshihiro Tatsumi”, who's been one of the best in the business for over thirty years. When I actually got it, I found out Tatsumi was only responsible for the cover, but I went ahead and read it anyway. Eighteen of Akutagawa's stories, including “Rashomon” and “In a Grove” (the two stories that, in combination, Kurosawa adapted into th
The story Rashomon itself is beautifully simple, as is the follow-up story, which was the basis for the much better-known (in the West, at least) film. The collection started strong.

Akutagawa lost me with his deeply involved historical tales. Not only did I feel one needed a more thorough knowledge of the culture and history to get them, it's just naturally hard for me to connect to stories that are set in a realm of existence not only so different from me, but embedded within and defined by a s
Apr 23, 2016 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent collection of short stories ranging from historical to autobiographical opening with the two stories that inspired Kurosawa's film, Rashōmon and In a Bamboo Grove. Very good translation and notes by Jay Rubin (approximately half the stories are Bing published in English for the first time) and an introduction by Haruki Murakami.

So sad that Akutagawa ended his life so early. What would he have made of Japan in the 1930s, 40s, and beyond?
Jan 14, 2016 Jere rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
"In a bamboo grove" and "Hell screen" should belong to everyone's must-read short story list, they are absolutely brilliant; especially the latter was able to create such vivid images that to me it felt like watching a beautifully visualized movie. On par with Raymond Carver's Cathedral, if you'd ask me, which I thought no short story ever would be able to reach.

Other than that, some stories did not quite get there. Most of the stories are amazing, don't get me wrong, but they just didn't quite
Dec 14, 2015 Jonathon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have seen or heard about Kurosawa Akira's famous film _Rashomon_, you need to read the stories of Akutagawa Ryunosuke. If you haven't heard about either of those people, you need to read the stories and watch the film.

Though Akutagawa did write a story called "Rashomon," it contributes in only a minimal way to the film's plot (though it is a well-told story). The real star of Kurosawa's film is the story variously translated as "In the Grove" or "In the Bamboo Grove" (this edition has cho
Spike Gomes
Mar 06, 2015 Spike Gomes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really feel I've missed out by not reading Akutagawa sooner. He's right up my alley.
Each and every one of these stories is worth reading, as they display a wide range in setting, tone, and style with deftness and mastery in each case. From giving the Japanese Folk Legend tradition a modern psychological twist, while maintaining the distant mannered style of old, to broad and pointed satires of people in the past and present, to absurdist little comedic ditties, to soul-scouring autobiographic
Ad Blankestijn
Akutagawa Ryunosuke (1892-1927) was a masterful short story writer, essayist and haiku poet who died young at age 35, but whose about one hundred stories and novellas have become a hard and fast part of the canon of modern Japanese literature, not in the least thanks to his stylistic perfectionism and keen psychological insight. Akutagawa's first short story to be published was "Rashomon," in 1915, and it was praised by veteran author Natsume Soseki, who became a sort of mentor.
This collection t
Now, if contemporary Japanese litterateurs wrote like Akutagawa, I would be in joy. By far his works have the best and most creative storytelling I've ever read.
Christian Rios delgado
Le puse 5 estrellas porque no hay más de 5 estrellas.
Ryunosuke Akutagawa writes with the fervor of a man who is trying to outwit fate, and the weariness of one who's already thrown in the towel. His stories are almost bored with human atrocity but endlessly horrified and amused by the intimate details of desperation and narrow-mindedness. Sometimes this desperation does lead to renewal and even rebirth, especially for those who fervently believe in something, whether it be Christianity in "Dr. Ogata" or the sanctity of an ordered life "The Story o ...more
I'm not going to be rushing through these stories so I will edit this review as I read more of them.

25/12: Rashomon
This story was only a few pages long but I really enjoyed it. It was a great one to start with, as it drew me in instantly. I love the way it's written - the flow to the sentences is beautiful, especially with its descriptions. It was an intriguing and enjoyable read.
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Best story in the collection? 9 75 Dec 20, 2013 12:57AM  
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Akutagawa Ryūnosuke or Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (芥川 龍之介) was one of the first prewar Japanese writers to achieve a wide foreign readership, partly because of his technical virtuosity, partly because his work seemed to represent imaginative fiction as opposed to the mundane accounts of the I-novelists of the time, partly because of his brilliant joining of traditional material to a modern sensibility, a ...more
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“It is unfortunate for the gods that, unlike us, they cannot commit suicide.” 35 likes
“Yes -- or rather, it's not so much that I want to die as that I'm tired of living.” 22 likes
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