[English Translation]

Cover image for


Published: 1917
Language: English
Wordcount: 23,870 / 66 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 89.8
LoC Category: PN
Downloads: 13,515
Added to site: 2005.10.30
mnybks.net#: 11515

Turned into a film by Akira Kurosawa, now available for free at archive.org.

Show Excerpt

single desire filled my mind. This was not only lust, as you might think. At that time if I'd had no other desire than lust, I'd surely not have minded knocking her down and running away. Then I wouldn't have stained my sword with his blood. But the moment I gazed at her face in the dark grove, I decided not to leave there without killing him.

But I didn't like to resort to unfair means to kill him. I untied him and told him to cross swords with me. (The rope that was found at the root of the cedar is the rope I dropped at the time.) Furious with anger, he drew his thick sword. And quick as thought, he sprang at me ferociously, without speaking a word. I needn't tell you how our fight turned out. The twenty-third stroke... please remember this. I'm impressed with this fact still. Nobody under the sun has ever clashed swords with me twenty strokes. (A cheerful smile.)

When he fell, I turned toward her, lowering my blood-stained sword. But to my great astonishment she was gone. I wondered to where


Average Rating of 4.7 from 3 reviews: *****

I loved it! All of his stories are amazing, especially the first two! However, They forgot in the first story to add a header for Tajōmaru's Perspective.


I just found out about this book. Will buy it the following days and looking forward to read it, it seems a good from what you've said. Thank you!

Ben Sachs

It's a good story.

Such a shame that there isn't

more Akutagawa stuff on the internets.

I borrowed a collection of his

short stories from a library and I
think I'll buy it to read some
of the stories again.

The brillance of this particular
story is based on the different
perspectives of the narrators.

Up to the very last moment
the reader can never be sure

whom to trust...

(Promote your book here)

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