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Ryūnosuke Akutagawa quotes Showing 1-30 of 120

“A man sometimes devotes his life to a desire which he is not sure will ever be fulfilled. Those who laugh at this folly are, after all, no more than mere spectators of life.”
Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Rashomon and Other Stories
“I could wish for nothing more than to die for a childish dream in which I truly believed.”
Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Mandarins: Stories by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
“I don't have the strength to keep writing this. To go on living with this feeling is painful beyond description. Isn't there someone kind enough to strangle me in my sleep?”
Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories
“It is unfortunate for the gods that, unlike us, they cannot commit suicide.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories
“Yes -- or rather, it's not so much that I want to die as that I'm tired of living.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories
“Isn't there someone kind enough to come strangle me in my sleep?”
Ryunosuke Akutagawa
“He wanted to live life so intensely that he could die at any moment without regrets.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, The Life of a Stupid Man
“..he understood far more deeply than anyone else the loneliness that lurked beneath his jaunty mask.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
“What is the life of a human being—a drop of dew, a flash of lightning? This is so sad, so sad.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, The Life of a Stupid Man
“As you can imagine, those who had fallen this far had been so worn down by their tortures in the seven other hells that they no longer had the strength to cry out.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, The Spider's Thread
“I have no conscience at all -- least of all an artistic conscience. All I have is nerves.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories
“It's not so much that I want to die as that I'm tired of living.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, The Life of a Stupid Man
“17. Butterfly

A butterfly fluttered its wings in a wind thick with the smell of seaweed. His dry lips felt the touch of the butterfly for the briefest instant, yet the wisp of wing dust still shone on his lips years later.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
“I have heard unsavory rumors about you and the umbrella-maker's daughter”
Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories
“I could have sworn that the man's eyes were no longer watching his daughter dying in agony, that instead the gorgeous colors of flames and the sight of a woman suffering in them were giving him joy beyond measure.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Hell Screen
“It is important-even necessary-for us to become acutely aware of the fact that we can't trust ourselves. The only ones you can trust to some extent are people who really know that. We had better get this straight.”
Akutagawa Ryūnosuke
“He disliked his own lies as much as his parents', but still he continued to lie -- boldly and cunningly. He did this primarily out of need, but also for the pathological pleasure of killing a god.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories
“When I kill a man, I do it with my sword, but people like you don't use swords. You gentlemen kill with your power, with your money, and sometimes just with your words: you tell people you're doing them a favor. True, no blood flows, the man is still alive, but you've killed him all the same. I don't know whose sin is greater - yours or mine.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
“Life is not worth a single line of Baudelaire.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, The Life of a Stupid Man
“The human heart harbors two conflicting sentiments. Everyone of course sympathizes with people who suffer misfortunes. Yet when those people manage to overcome their misfortunes, we feel a certain disappointment. We may even feel (to overstate the case somewhat) a desire to plunge them back into those misfortunes. And before we know it, we come (if only passively) to harbor some degree of hostility toward them.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories
“As he thought about his life, he felt both tears and mockery welling up inside him. All that lay before him was madness or suicide. He walked down the darkening street alone, determined now to wait for the destiny that would come to annihilate him.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, The Life of a Stupid Man
“The pale whiteness of her upturned face as she choked on the smoke; the tangled length of her hair as she tried to shake the flames from it; the beauty of her cherry-blossom robe as it burst into flame: it was all so cruel, so terrible!”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Hell Screen
“Chained inside the carriage is a sinful woman. When we set the carriage afire, her flesh will be roasted, her bones will be charred: she will die an agonizing death. Never again will you have such a perfect model for the screen. Do not fail to watch as her snow-white flesh erupts in flames. See and remember her long black hair dancing in a whirl of sparks!”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Hell Screen
“Life is more hellish than hell itself.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories
“He felt so lost, he said later, that the familiar studio felt like a haunted valley deep in the mountains, with the smell of rotting leaves, the spray of a waterfall, the sour fumes of fruit stashed away by a monkey; even the dim glow of the master's oil lamp on its tripod looked to him like misty moonlight in the hills.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Hell Screen
“A shimmering of heat—
Outside the grave
Alone I dwell.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, The Life of a Stupid Man
“People used to say that on moonless nights Her Ladyship's broad-skirted scarlet trousers would glide eerily along the outdoor corridor, never touching the floor.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Hell Screen
“El idiota cree que todos son idiotas menos él.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Kappa
“Still more horrible was the color of the flames that licked the latticed cabin vents before shooting skyward, as though - might I say? - the sun itself had crashed to earth, spewing its heavenly fire in all directions.”
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Hell Screen
“...we could see the parapet of Ryougoku Bridge, arching above the waves that flickered in the faint mid-autumn twilight and against the sky, as though an immense black Chinese ink stroke had been brushed across it. The silhouettes of the traffic, horses and carriages soon faded into the vaporous mist, and now all that could be seen were the dots of reddish light from the passengers' lanterns, rapidly passing to and fro in the darkness like small winter cherries.”
Ryunosuke Akutagawa

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