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
mans 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 Japans
most important modern writers, Kappa is at once a fable,
a comedy and a brilliant satire.
Akira Kurosawas 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 authors
death, is now one of Japans most prestigious literary
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
A tiny book with an irresistible quality . . . exquisite. – Sunday
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 Japans 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