The fairy-tales of Akutagawa Ryūnoskue
The Japanese author Akutagawa Ryūosuke was a product of the liberal political and cultural climate of Taishō-era Japan (1912-1926), and yet in many ways his works were entirely separate from his contemporaries. In my introduction, I examine Akutagawa's life and career and how his writing differed from other Taishō authors.
Most of Akutagawa's oeuvre is reliant on outside sources, such as histories or traditional stories from many cultures. While some of these are faithful retellings, Akutagawa often departs wildly from his source material. In this thesis I have translated four of the author's fairy tales, three of which are based on traditional stories and one original fairy tale. Also included are more traditional renditions of the same fairy tales for comparison's sake. I have included commentary on individual stories and on some specific translation choices in the form of endnotes.