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Rashomon and Other Stories
Akutagawa Ryunosuke
First Published in 1915

At last I was able to finished this book.  I have heard many praises from critics about the movie Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa although the main story of the movie is taken from the short story In A Grove.  The book contains 6 different short stories – In A Grove, Rashomon, Yam Gruel, The Martyr, Kesa and Morito and The Dragon.

I particularly liked Yam Gruel.  It is the story of a low-ranking, homely-looking samurai who desires to have a fill of yam gruel, considered as a supreme delicacy in those times.  Because of his “red-nose”, he is the butt of jokes among fellow samurais.  Even the children would tease him to no end.  But the samurai just ignored them or simply smiled at them.  His ultimate purpose in life, he decided, is to eat yam gruel to his heart’s content.  At the end of the story, we find the samurai fulfilling his purpose.  And then what next?  The samurai thought that once he would eaten his fill of yam gruel, he would be a happy man.  Alas, nothing has changed.

The story of In A Grove in the movie Rashomon was a little different and extended.   It is  a must-see movie.  I’ve seen the movie through streaming but if any one can point me where to buy a CD or DVD copy, it would be most welcome.