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Rashomon and Other Stories

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  3,998 ratings  ·  407 reviews
Writing at the beginning of the twentieth century, Ryunosuke Akutagawa created disturbing stories out of Japan's cultural upheaval. Whether his fictions are set centuries past or close to the present, Akutagawa was a modernist, writing in polished, superbly nuanced prose subtly exposing human needs and flaws. "In a Grove," which was the basis for Kurosawa's classic film ...more
Paperback, 110 pages
Published December 17th 1999 by Liveright (first published 1915)
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Catherine No soy traductora ni tampoco estudio japonés pero me parece bastante buena su traducción. Muy recomendable esta edición.

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Rashomon, Hell Screen, Cogwheels, A Fool's life, and other fictions = Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
Ryünosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) is one of Japan’s foremost stylists - a modernist master whose short stories are marked by highly original imagery, cynicism, beauty and wild humor. ‘Rashomon’ and ‘In a Bamboo Grove’ inspired Kurosawa’s magnificent film and depict a past in which morality is turned upside down, while tales such as ‘The Nose’, ‘O-Gin’ and ‘Loyalty’ paint
Ahmad Sharabiani
Rashomon and Other Stories, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
Ryünosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) is one of Japan s foremost stylists - a modernist master whose short stories are marked by highly original imagery, cynicism, beauty and wild humor.
Rashömon and In a Bamboo Grove inspired Kurosawa's magnificent film and depict a past in which morality is turned upside down, while tales such as The Nose, O-Gin and Loyalty paint a rich and imaginative picture of a medieval Japan peopled by Shoguns and priests,
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Six deceptively simple (or simply deceptive?) short stories from early twentieth century Japanese author Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, who died at the too-early age of 35.


My favorite is the first story, "In a Grove," where the police commissioner interviews various (unreliable) witnesses, trying to pin down exactly what happened in an apparent murder/rape scene.

In "Rashomon," a laid-off servant lingers under a dilapidated gate, caught between an living an honest life that might be the end of him and
Dan Schwent
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
Elyse (semi hiatus) Walters
There are six Japanese short stories in this collection.
We learn from the very start that the author committed suicide at age 35....
His stories are dark... including murder, grief, infidelity, humiliation, isolation, desire, greed, and good & evil, ...

I didn’t like these stories nearly as much as I did the short novel I read recently “Kokoro”, by Natsume
Soseki ....
but they are written beautifully.....
most were unsettling....

The author was cynical it seemed to me pretty much about
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
3.5 stars.

I read the Chinese translation of this short stories collection, which selects Mr. Akutagawa's best short stories...and Mr. Akutagawa committed suicide at around age 32.

Well...the main reason for me to finally bring my lazy butt to read Akutagawa's novels is this:


Spider's Thread and Hell Screen must be best of the best among these handful of short stories in the collection. The haunting feeling of madness, despair and an artist's
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Collection of short stories by the pre-war Japanese author, Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Akutagawa wrote around 150 short stories before he committed suicide in 1927.

The stories are creepy and eerie, but very well done. Perhaps they are even more beautiful in the original Japanese. Nevertheless, there is something dismal and Sartresque about them. Another descriptive word would be thought-provoking as each tale grapples with evil and the hopelessness of man.

Though the author is from the 20th century,
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
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, japan
Whenever we come across this book cover, we may think this Rashomon taken from its second story is the same as the one on the screen. In fact, the film Rashomon based on In a Grove has long been world famous from its 1950 film directed by Akira Kurozawa. ( Rashomon itself was a notorious ancient, largest gate in Kyoto built in 789 due to its seemingly horror-oriented dilapidation then (p. 31). The other five are In a Grove, Yam Gruel, The Martyr, Kesa and ...more
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Aside from the titular story, Rashomon, this collection of Akutagawa's stories includes In a Grove, Yam Gruel, The Martyr, Kesa and Morito, and The Dragon. Overall, the stories were fascinating in their deceptive simplicity and succinct elegance. The only downside of this edition—beautifully illustrated and nicely introduced—is that it included only six stories. I'll have to get an edition that covers more of the over 150 short stories that Akutagawa wrote throughout his short life.
"For the
Sep 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Oct 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dingin-dan-pahit
While I had previously seen a few of adaptations based on his works, this was my real introduction to Ryuunosuke Akutagawa, Japan’s literary titan and whom the country’s premier literature award is named after. This particular anthology contains seven of Akutagawa's stories, presumably chosen through their reputation, practicality of translation, and representative value of his style.

I’m honestly not much of classic lit reader or critic, but I thoroughly enjoy the collection. Most of these read
Dec 25, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Akutagawa Ryunosŭké—a Japanese modernist writer—uses his subject matter to reflect the social turmoil, loss of identity, and changing environment of his times. Akutagawa lived in a rapidly changing world due to modernization. Some of the most drastic changes that contributed to or were a result of modernism include: the changes in transportation which enabled people to travel in a totally new way and changed people’s conception of time, the introduction and assimilation of foreign culture ...more
Daniel Polansky
Half a dozen stories, by turns humorous and rather horrifying. Akutagawa is a very sly writer, with a deceptively simple style, nested in a lot of traditional Japanese mythology but easily accessible to a Western audience. Yam Gruel – a mocking myth about a pointless, pathetic official whose existence is given meaning by a desire to gorge himself on the eponymous breakfast food – is a lovely little marvel in particular. Lots of fun. Quick sidenote – anyone want to tell me why Kurosawa mis-titled ...more
Akemi G.
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This author is a master of short stories. Actually, too much of a master -- his craft is so refined and calculated. (When a story is told by an unreliable character, that is also well-calculated.) I admire his work, and at the same time, I see why he didn't get to write full-length novels ... and why he committed suicide.

(I read this in Japanese. I hope the translation holds its original beauty.)
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, classics
Really powerful and more times than not dark, these stories stay with the reader long after reading. Excellent study of human nature and small, but significant moments of life.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese-lit
Meh. Don't start here if you're new to Akutagawa, though the title story (and Kurosawa's adaptation) still kick major fucking ass.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short stories have always been a a challenge for me, and this is probably the most cryptic set of stories that I have read yet.

What is it about these enormously acclaimed Japanese authors of the earlier 20th century. The first I read was Yukio Mishima, who over and above being known for his controversial novels, is most remembered for his ritual suicide by sepukku; and now Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, who is called the "father of the Japanese short story" and has Japan's premier literary award named
Kavitha Sivakumar
A collection of stories. Rashomon is the one that I liked least. The rest are good, especially "In the Grove" Most of the stories have open ended conclusion that made me think...
In the Grove: A murder as explained by multiple people, included the murdered victim, who explained through the medium. Seen couple of movies with this plot. A very interesting one!
Rashomon: I do not like it as it was just an event and very uninteresting one at that. Though, I learned about Rashomon gate in the old
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Justin Isis tells me the translation is so-so but I still thought the stories were entertaining. Really quite memorable: The Lover who is no longer in love but acts like an automaton of solipsistic passion; the dragon in the lake as a metaphor for what writers can do with their handy work, that is "write what happens"; an encounter with the scalp-scavenging crone in halls of a darkened tower in the rainy season; multiple povs of multiple unreliable witnesses---this little collection is really ...more
Ha Pham
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's interesting to see where Akira Kurosawa stayed faithful to the original story of Akutagawa and where he took creative initiatives to enrich the story.

Akutagawa's "In the grove" only tried to depict the phenomenon of "contradictory interpretation of one same event", and his original "Rashomon" told the story of "how poverty degrade human's conscience" through the symbol of a run-down Rashomon (Gate of Life).

On the other hand, Akira's "Rashomon" is a combination of the two stories plus a
Aug 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Jun 12, 2016 rated it liked it
the two stories that inspired kurosawa's rashomon are rad and extremely grim. worth tracking down "yam gruel" which is about a sadsack loser samurai who everybody hates and his obsession with yam gruel. not blazingly essential but a cool document of high modernism. interesting that the rashomon story is set in a ruined past, but written c 1920s tokyo earthquake, then made into indelible film post WWII. tldr, the world falls apart more than you realize.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone knows about the movie Rashomon but few people know about the author of the original story(-ies). I've read a collection and a half of Akutagawa's stories so far and they're an unusual mix of supernatural, surrealism and a study of human nature. Some stories reminded me of Edgar Allan Poe, some were more optimistic than that and some were just plain weird. Overall a nice read.
Rosalyn Leigh
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i thought this was absolutely astounding and would read as such an enjoyment to anyone. I found myself utterly astonished by muchof the actual storylines, rather than the author's writing style. I became a bit depressed near the end of the book, however, when a couple of Akutagawa's last nonfiction accounts of his impending suicie were unleashed. That was horrific. And sick.

Real sick.
Aug 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: asia, 2016
An interesting mix of stories where tales are told in a straightforward style. Most have a twist or an unreliable narrator.

The stories are longer than the typical ones offered by Aesop, but they reminded me of Aesop's fables in that a simple tale can provide food for thought, a trick, or a moral to ponder.

I'm glad I read it.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good to begin reading Akutagawa. This book is finely translated.
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