Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) is considered the father of the Japanese short story. He wrote more than 150 short stories, including “In a Grove” and “Rashōmon”, on which director Akira Kurosawa’s based his renowned film. Ryūnosuke was born in Tokyo to a mentally ill mother who committed suicide shortly after his birth. His father, who struggled to raise him, transferred the child to his brother-in-law’s care. Akutagawa was educated in the Japanese culture in the house of his uncle, whose family practiced the art of the Japanese tea ceremony. In his writing he was influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, repudiated literary naturalism and was drawn to the mysterious and bizarre. He defined the world as an “Olympiad of lunatics”, and at the age of 35, when he felt that he himself was about to lose his sanity, he committed suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.

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