ISBN 978 0 7206 1337 7
Fiction
Paperback
£9.99
August 2009
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Kappa

Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Translated from the Japanese by Geoffrey Bownas

The Kappa is a creature from Japanese folklore described as a scaly, child-sized being with a face like a tiger and a sharp, pointed beak. In the hands of RyunosukeAkutagawa, one man’s journey to ‘Kappaland’ becomes the vehicle for a critique of Japanese life and customs in the tradition of Swift and Kafka.

A perfectly formed gem from the pen of one of Japan’s most important modern writers, Kappa is at once a fable, a comedy and a brilliant satire.

• Akira Kurosawa’s acclaimed film Rashomon is taken from an Akutagawa short story.
• This edition retains the substantial biographical introduction by Graham Healey.
• The Akutagawa Prize, established after the author’s death, is now one of Japan’s most prestigious literary awards.

‘A novel of exquisite precision.’ – Spectator

‘A classic of our times, from a literature that deserves to be better known.’ – Scotsman

‘A devilishly cool satire on human behaviour.’ – New Statesman

‘A tiny book with an irresistible quality . . . exquisite.’ – Sunday Times


RYUNOSUKE AKUTAGAWA (1892–1927) was the author of over a hundred short stories, as well as translations of the works of Anatole France and Yeats. Akutagawa was regarded as a major author during his lifetime, and the Akutagawa Prize, established after his suicide at the age of thirty-five, is now one of Japan’s most prestigious literary awards. Two of the stories from his collection Rashomon formed the basis of the award-winning film of the same title by Akira Kurosawa.