Classical masterpieces and historical happenings are reinterpreted in these stories. Gesaku zanmai ("A Life Devoted to Gesaku"), Kareno-sho ("Gleanings from a Withered Field"), Jigoku hen ("Hell Screen"), 1918, Hokyonin no shi ("The Death of a Christian," 1918), and Butokai are examples of these stories ("The Ball," 1920).
Ryunosuke Akutagawa was a famous Japanese writer who used the pen name "Ryu." His work, which has been called "neo-classical" fiction, was widely read during his day and influenced many later writers. Akutagawa's own life was filled with tragedy, including the death of his wife and daughter, but he continued to write about social injustice and corruption in Japan's modern world.
He published his first story in 1908 when he was 26 years old. This was a tale about a man who tries to win over his jealous wife by writing a novel that is said to be based on their real-life marriage. This story was followed by others about men who try to triumph over adversity by using their brains rather than their brawn. These tales made Akutagawa one of the most popular authors in Japan at the time.
In 1918, shortly before his death, Akutagawa wrote nine short stories titled after parts of the body. The last story in this collection is called "Butterfly," and it tells the tale of a man who realizes that happiness cannot come from material things.
1915 The university's literary newspaper, Teikoku Bungaku (Imperial Literature), published "Rashomon" in 1915, when he was 23 years old. It was just the author's third attempt into the short story form. The story was eventually published as the title story of Akutagawa's debut collection, which was released two years later. "Rashomon" is considered one of the most important works in Japanese literature, and it has been cited by many authors since its publication.
It tells of a peasant called Rashomon who witnesses a murder on his land. The incident involves three people: a samurai, a woman, and her son. The samurai kills the man after a fight over a piece of land. When Rashomon attempts to testify against him, the samurai claims not to remember what happened. So Rashomon takes his testimony to the next-door village where the woman lives. There she confirms the killing but says that the boy started the fight by hitting the father with a stick. She can provide no further details because she too cannot remember what really happened. Only when all three testimonies are given can justice be done...
Nowadays "Rashomon" is used as an example of how different perceptions exist between and within individuals. At first glance this story would appear to be simple yet it contains many complexities. Akutagawa understood this and said that he wanted readers to feel the same way when they had read the story.
Approximately 300 popular stories are still performed as classic rakugo, along with many new stories written by contemporary rakugo performers in the traditional style and structure. Each narrative is divided into three sections: the makura, or prologue; the hondai (hanashi), or main story; and the ochi, or final punch line. The makura introduces the performer and the audience to each other while also setting up the story's context. The hondai tells the actual tale, while the ochi provides a surprise ending.
The makura typically begins with the actor playing several different roles, often comically exaggerated, such as teacher, parent, friend, or lover. After introducing the characters, the actor will sometimes describe how they met with some sort of humorous incident. The hondai then proceeds directly from the makura to the climax of the story, where the actor reveals the plot twist at the end of the hondai. Finally, the ochi closes the performance with another joke or humorous anecdote.
The makura and hondai are both spoken words, but the ochi is performed with facial expressions and body movements. A rakugo artist performs alongside a karuta player who writes the makura and hondai on paper cards. The cards are shuffled before being dealt out one by one for the performance to follow.
The rakugo theater began in Tokyo's pleasure districts around 1920.
Japanese literature is split into three periods: ancient, medieval, and contemporary. Kojiki, The Pillow Book, and The Tale of Genji are examples of ancient Japanese literature (usually pre-12th century), with material centered on the lives, loves, and pleasures of nobility in the Emperor's court. Man'yōshū and Hekikai are examples of medieval literature (usually 12th century), with material drawn from daily life including poetry, fiction, essays, music, sculpture, and painting. Modern literature begins with the Meiji period (about 1868 to 1912) and continues into the present day.
An important aspect of Japanese literature is its ability to reflect both the joys and sorrows of everyday life. Many novels discuss the issues surrounding sexuality and gender identity even if they do so from a conservative point of view; others deal with more political topics such as class conflict or government corruption. Still other works of literature focus on the nature of human existence itself - how we relate to each other and why we engage in actions that hurt others. This last category includes poems, stories, essays, and plays that explore themes such as love, death, loyalty, betrayal, forgiveness, and redemption.
In conclusion, Japanese literature is an important part of world culture that has been used to convey social messages as well as entertain readers for centuries.
The Kojiki Creation Story recounts the exploits of Izanagi and Izanami, the deity and goddess who formed the Japanese islands from chaos, disorder, or formlessness. The creation myth continues with Izanami's death and Izanagi's pursuit of her to the Nether Regions, or the Underworld. There, he defeats Mibōtsu, a giant snake who had been coiled around the world in order to protect it. After this victory, they marry and have children together.
Izanagi and Izanami are said to be the founders of many provinces, cities, and villages throughout Japan. They are also said to have created many other deities during their time on Earth. One such example is Susano'o, a fisherman who fought against Mibōtsu using his sword. He was able to defeat the monster after cutting off its head. Susano'o married another goddess after defeating Mibōtsu and they have twins who become the creators of islands too.
Izanagi and Izanami are considered the ancestors of all Japanese people. They lived over 1000 years ago and are worshipped annually in many parts of Japan. A festival called "Izanami-no-Matsuri" (meaning "Festival for Izanagi and Izanami") is held every year in their honor.
Izanagi and Izanami are described as being oneness with the gods.
Akutagawa began writing short tales while still in university. His first published work was a translation of Anatole France's Balthasar in 1914. (1889). He started the literary journal Shin Shicho with his pals Kikuchi Kan and Kume Masao, where he published "Rashomon" (or "The Rasho Gate" in 1915). In 1920, Akutagawa won the prestigious Takaino Prize for his short story "Mumyô-kô no nai kôji" ("Not a Single Postage Stamp"). The following year, he committed suicide.
Akutagawa wrote about one hundred stories in all, many of which are considered classics of Japanese literature. His work attracted attention from various critics and writers during his life time, including Osamu Dazai, who was a friend of Akutagawa's. When asked what he thought of "Rashomon", Dazai replied: "It's wonderful! I'm sure everyone will enjoy it!"
After World War II, some of Akutagawa's friends and colleagues collected his works and published them under the title "Shin Akutagawa". This book became an instant bestseller and has never been out of print since its release in 1951.
An anime film based on "Rashomon" was released in 1950. It was also a big hit at the box office.