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Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  4,889 ratings  ·  298 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
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Published (first published 1914)
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Dan 1.0
In a Grove: A man is found stabbed to death in a grove. Some people of interest and the key players give their accounts.

Yeah, I'm a fan of this. Lots of narrators with varying degrees of reliability. If the other stories are this good, this collection is going to be stellar.

Rashomon: A samurai's servant sits under the Rashomon during a rain storm, pondering whether he should become a thief or starve to death.

I didn't like this story as much as the first but it was still interesting. I never thou
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Here is the answer to the obvious question, which I call obvious because of the fact that I thought it, s. commented below asking about it, and my guess is that more will come. So, let me clarify...umm, sort of.

It's a little confusing, actually. The Akutagawa story In a Grove, which is in this particular Akutagawa collection, was the basis for the Kurosawa film Rashōmon. The Akutagawa story Rashōmon--which is also in this collection and by the same author, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa--shares no similari
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
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
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; there is no question about it. I just couldn't resist a book with such a cool cover and Murakami's introduction plus his trusted Jay Rubin doing the translation. I just had to buy it.

Having said that, I did read it along with the actual Japanese text in front of me to see how well Jay Rub
I think I somehow missed the point of the Yam gruel story. I found the Rashomon story rather cruel and unsympathetic. I think I'll reserve judgment until after we've discussed these in our Brain Pain group.

Something that I definitely did notice, is that quite a bit of the original seems to be lost in translation, which might be partly the fault of the translator, but almost definitely also due to the fact that English and Japanese are two languages that seem to be difficult to translate mutually
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
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
If you're a fan of Japanese cinema, you will recognize one of Kurosawa's movies from the title. However, the movie is a pastiche of two short stories - the eponymous Rashomon set at the gate in Kyoto, and "In A Grove", a murder mystery from multiple perspectives.

This collection of six Akutagawa stories is deeply observant and some wry observation about human nature, or some criticism of an institution. "Kesa and Morito" is like "The Gift of the Magi", except with murder. These works are deeply
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
First, I am a big fan of Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

Second, Akutagawa himself has been acknowledged as one of the greatest Japanese writers.

Third, the story "Rashomon" has been admitted as the best story Akutagawa ever wrote. That's why Akira Kurosawa transfered the story into reel.

So, none other reason needed to make you read this one.

Consider the first story. A Police Commissioner interviews seven individuals regarding an alleged crime of murder:

- The first witness is a woodcutter who discovered the body of the dead man;

- the second witness is a travelling Buddhist priest who met the man and his wife prior to the incident;

- the third witness is a policeman who arrested the only suspect to the alleged crime;

- the fourth, an old woman, the dead man’s mother-in-law;

- the fifth is the bandit who confessed to the crime;

- the sixt
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
They say Akutagawa is a master of modern Japanese literature despite writing just after the turn of the 20th century, he even has major literary awards named after him in Japan but I can't help but feel that 100 year old stories are not that modern. That being said his stories are largely enjoyable and very well written.

The effect of the unique storytelling point of view of In A Grove is really quite remarkable and the rest of the stories collected here all manage to conjure up a firm and believ
Niran Pravithana
ในบรรดานักเขียนญีปุนทุกคนทีผมเคยอาน ผมนับวาริวโนสุเกะ อาคุตะกะวะเปนอัจฉริยะในหมูอัจฉริยะ
แตไมใชวาคนทุกคนจะชอบสไตลงานเขียนของอาคุตะกาวา เพราะสไตลเรืองสันของเขาหลายครังเปนงานเขียนทีดึงเอาดานมืดของจิตใจมนุษยมาโยนใสหนาคนอานแบบไมมีการประณีประนอม สราง ethical paradox พรอมเปิดชองใหผูอานตีความบทประพันธเอาเอง ซึงจะพบไดในเรืองสันหลายเรืองของหนังสือเลมนี (ในปาละเมาะ, ฉากนรก)
(ผมคิดเอาเองวาแนวการเขียนรูปแบบนีเปนเหมือนรากของงานเขียนในยุคหลังๆ จำพวก postmodernism ทีผูอานเปนผูกำหนดความหมายของวรรณกรรม เชนในผลงานห
aPriL eVoLvEs
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
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
Geistergeschichten ohne Geister
In jeder Rezension hier und sonstwo, im Klappentext, im Nachwort, überall: Der Hinweis auf den Film. Und gleich darauf die Anmerkung, dass die hier abgedruckte Geschichte und der Film völlig verschieden sind. Letztlich ist das wieder die Tragik des Erfolgs - viele Schriftsteller würden sich wohl die Finger lecken nach der Chance, eine Story von einem so großen Meister verfilmt zu sehen. Doch irgendwann kommt dann die Zeit, wie hier, in der man sich nur noch an den
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

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
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
I read two from a collection of Akutagawa's short stories: "Rashomon" and "In A Bamboo Grove". My first reaction was: he's so modern! The 2 stories are like thrillers, suspenseful, with unexpected twists. "In A Bamboo Grove" is a sophisticated story of an event seen from different perspectives. The reader is forced to think what the most plausible narrative is as the truth is left hanging ----there is nothing cut-and dried here.

The author's story is almost as fascinating as his 2 short stories,
Nandakishore Varma
Excellent read. See review on my BLOG . ...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
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

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
Nikola Korbuc
Quite an interesting tale, I must say. It portrays a man who has a choice between life and death. Death is linked with honor and pride, while choosing to live means resorting to thievery and deeds deemed dishonorable. At first, the man is torn between these two choices. After meeting the old woman tearing hair from corpses, he feels disdain and hatred. However, after hearing her tale, his view suddenly changes, causing in him that which I would call the "Lucifer Effect". He understands his predi ...more
The first two stories, "In a Grove" and "Rashomon" I really liked, though "Rashomon" was a little too open-ended for my taste, as was most of the rest of the book. I've read one other Akutagawa book, and kind of felt the same about it, he's very strange. Not like surrealist strange, but "I can't figure out why he would write about this, or stop writing about this at this particular point" strange. The last story, "The Dragon," was excellent. Now that I know where a Japanese library is and I can ...more
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Best story in the collection? 9 73 Dec 20, 2013 12:57AM  
Brain Pain: Discussion - Week One - In a Grove/Rashomon 39 332 May 12, 2012 07:47AM  
Brain Pain: * CH1 - In a Grove/Rashomon - Schedule/Questions/Resources 57 69 May 05, 2012 09:31AM  
  • Seven Japanese Tales
  • Tales of Moonlight and Rain
  • Sanshirō
  • The Setting Sun
  • Death in Midsummer and Other Stories
  • The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories
  • Japanese Gothic Tales
  • Black Rain
  • The Lake
  • The Pillow Book  of Sei Shonagon
  • The Waiting Years
  • The Wild Geese
  • Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things
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, an ...more
More about Ryūnosuke Akutagawa...
Kappa In a Grove Rashomon Hell Screen The Spider's Thread

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