Thumbs up for Kappa by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Literature.
When one of my favorite customers asked me what I was reading, I answered, “Lots of Japanese literature.” She responded, “Oh, how wonderful! I have a degree in Japanese literature! Who’s your favorite?” Her favorite was Akutagawa. I had no Akutagawa. She being the delightful person she is, she gave me one. Kappa is in fact a short story masquerading as a book, with the help of a long introduction that deals with the fascinating life of Akutagawa himself – something well worth reading on its own. The story itself has a beautiful, elegant simplicity of style that I admire. I do admit that much of the social satire does not have a referent for me, as it pertains to 1920’s Japan. Nevertheless, good reading, and I’m looking forward to Rashomon and Other Stories, to extend my acquaintance with the author.
“As you may have gathered from the reply of Bag’s unborn foetus, Kappa babies can walk and talk from the very moment of birth. Chak once told me the story of a child giving a public address on the subject of the existence of God when it was only twenty-six days old. But the poor thing was dead and buried before it was two months old.”
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