October 14, 2008

Rashomon (1915 story)

Written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

Seeking shelter from the rain beneath a pillared gate, a recently dismissed servant ponders his future. Noticing a light over discarded, diseased corpses, he finds a woman plucking hair for a wig.

This isn't so much a story as it is an anecdote on what people are willing to do when an economic depression leaves them scrabbling for resources. Though brief, the characters are rich and distinctive, the historical setting clear without being overly detailed, and the message comes our way as an opening ended question instead of a moral lecture. A fine little piece of writing.

My review of Rashamon (1950 film).

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