Japanese writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (1 March 1892 – 24 July 1927) had a short life, but made a huge impact on his native Japan. He committed suicide at age 35 by overdosing on barbital (a drug used for sleeping).
- The Akutagawa, named after the author, is Japan’s top literary award.
- Ryūnosuke means “son of Dragon” because he was born on the day, month and year of the dragon.
- From an early age Akutagawa was interested in classic Chinese literature.
- Akutagawa’s First High School class of 1910 produces at least 5 prominent Japanese authors ( Kan Kikuchi, Kume Masao, Yamamoto Yūzō,Tsuchiya Bunmei and Akutagawa)
- Akutagawa is known as the “father of the Japanese short story.”
- Akutagawa’s first short story “Rashōmon” was published in the literary magazine Teikoku Bungaku ("Imperial Literature") around 1915.
- Akutagwa also wrote haiku under the pen name (haigo) Gaki
- Famed Japanese author Haruki Murakami wrote the introduction to Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories which was translated by Jay Rubin.
- Two of the stories Rubin successfully translated, Chugi” (“Loyalty”) and “Negi” (“Green Onions”) were considered impossible to translate by Akutagawa scholars.
- Akutagawa was suffering from hallucinations and fears that he had inherited his mother’s mental illness.
Zohar — Man of la Book