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review 2014-11-18 12:09
Akutagawa's Rashomon and other tales
Rashomon and Other Stories - Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

I do not know how to review this without assuming a knowledge of Kurosawa's Rashomon,  The collection is not one of the great works of literature, whereas Rashomon is one of the greatest movies ever made.  Rashomon is actually based on the tale In a Grove, probably the best tale in the book.  The movie takes only the location from the story Rashomon.  Akutagawa's stories have the structures and style of folktales, except when he is writing in the first person where his writing is very direct.  In al cases his writing is sparse formal and direct.


He's a pleasant writer, with a mostly grim attitude to human existence and a willingness to experiment within his sparse style.


A good writer but not a great one.

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review 2014-03-08 00:00
Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories (Penguin Classics)
Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories - Ryūnosuke Akutagawa,Jay Rubin,Haruki Murakami An interesting collection of short stories,'in the bamboo grove', 'hell screen' and 'O-Gin' are excellent short stories of moral. Enjoyed a lot.

I confess I was interested in getting to the autobiographical ending of the book since Akutagawa famously ended his own life and his own insight into his depression seemed to be a good place to understand why he or anyone else would want to end their own being.

I'll be honest, I was a little disappointed with the outcome here, but maybe that in is the point. Every thing is just so mundane. And while, yes this is the case for some (myself included), for me at least it is not a good enough reason to take the route he did.
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review 2013-04-07 19:00
Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories - Yoshihiro Tatsumi,Ryūnosuke Akutagawa,Jay Rubin,Haruki Murakami 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. By the age of ten he was writing and publishing in student magazines, he graduated from Tokyo Imperial University ( University of Tokyo ) in 1916 with a degree in English Literature. He worked as a teacher of English until the demand for his writing enabled him to work full time in that role. In this collection of short stories, translated by Jay Rubin, we see a range of work from throughout the authors short life, some which have not been published for decades. We start this book with Rashomon, (not the film of the same name) a tale of a servant sacked by his Samurai master who seeks shelter under the Rashomon, which was the largest gate in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan.http://parrishlantern.blogspot.com/2010/10/ryunosuke-akutagawa_22.html HellscreenThis is the 6th story in the collection of short stories (Rashomon & 17 other stories), by Ryunosuke Akutagawa (western style) which I hope to review as a complete book soon. In this tale Japan's greatest artist (Yoshilde) is given the task, by His Imperial Majesty, of creating a screen depicting visions of Buddhist hell. As an artist Yoshilde is obsessed to the point where he is quite happy taking sketches of rotten corpses found by the roadside or chaining up his assistants into tortuous positions just to get the right image. In fact the artist is so consumed by his art, nothing else matters. Well almost, he has a daughter, a fair beauty, courteous & devoted to him, she is also the only constant outside art in his life. So Yoshilde works on the screen drawing & painting images."Oh that screen! I can almost see its terrifying images of hell before me now!Other artists painted what they called images of hell, but their compositions were nothing like Yoshilde's. He had the ten kings of hell and their minions over in one corner, and everything else - the entire screen - was enveloped in a fire storm so terrible you thought the swirling flames were going to melt the mountain of sabres and the forest of swords....... These alone were enough to shock and amaze any viewer, but the sinners writhing in the hellfire of Yoshilde's powerful brush had nothing in common with those to be seen in ordinary picture of hell".http://parrishlantern.blogspot.com/2010/10/ryunosuke-akutagawa.html
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review 2013-03-31 00:00
Kappa - Ryūnosuke Akutagawa,Geoffrey Bownas This was a fascinating Japanese novella about a man who finds himself in the land of the mythical Kappa.He lives there quite peacefully with the Kappa, and begins to analyze his own society based on what he sees in the Kappaland. I found it quite fascinating, and it reminded me a bit of Gulliver's Travels. Of course, perhaps I would have appreciated the satirical elements better had I known more about Japan's society at the time.
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review 2013-01-16 00:00
[Review] Rashomon
Rashomon: And Other Stories - Ryūnosuke Akutagawa,Kojima Takashi,Howard Hibbett

Amazing short stories. This was the first I read of Akutagawa and I really loved it.

My only regret is that I didn't get the longer "Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories". This particular Tuttle edition also has quite a lot of typing errors...

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