Translation Works
To Japanese
The 4th Selected Works
Rashomon and 17 Other Stories
(Akutagawa Ryunosuke tanpenshu)
ENGLISH / Jay Rubin (The 1st) published
FRENCH / Silvain Chupin (The 1st) published
INDONESIAN / Jonjon Johana published
Originally Published by:
Chikumashobo (1986)
  • A collection of Ryunosuke Akutagawa's best-known short stories along with lesser known masterpieces
A collection of outstanding short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, the darling of the Taisho era literary world
One day at dusk, a servant seeks shelter from the rain under the deserted Rashomon, Kyoto's southern gate. Having just been kicked out of work by his employer, he has no place to go and does not know what to do. Aiming to unobtrusively escape the driving rain and get some sleep, he ascends to the second story of the gate, where he finds an old woman crouched amid several corpses that have been discarded there carelessly. The woman is plucking the hairs out of a corpse, one by one, and the servant feels disgusted and repulsed by this.
He walks up to the old woman, draws his long sword, and asks her why she is plucking hair out of a corpse. The woman responds that the corpses disposed of there were those of people who had done such evil things in their lifetimes that they deserved to have their hair plucked out of them, and that the only way she could avoid starving to death was to take their hair for making wigs. Hearing this, the servant suddenly strips the kimono off the woman and tells her he also needs to do this to avoid starving to death. He roughly kicks the woman onto the corpse and disappears into the night. (Rashomon)
A senior Buddhist priest at the Ikenoo monastery, Naigu Zenchi, has such an unusually long nose that everyone living nearby knows about it. About five or six inches long, the nose is shaped like a thin sausage that dangles down below his chin.
Over 50 now, Naigu has always been unhappy about his nose, but he does not want people to know that he is concerned about such a mundane issue, so he superficially pretends not to care about it. Still, even in day-to-day life, he finds it very inconvenient to have such a long nose.
So Naigu, checking his nose in a mirror, ardently considers ways of making it appear shorter, but he cannot think of an effective method. One day, a disciple comes back with a technique to shorten long noses he has learned from a doctor acquaintance in Kyoto. Naigu decides to try the method but… (The Nose)
GENRE: Literary fiction