I Just Read: “The Life of a Stupid Man”, “Testimonies”, and “Death Register” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

I’m starting a new routine of writing a review on every book I’ve finished. So far I’ve produced 2 reviews.

Here’s one, on a small compilation of a ‘Japanese modernist writer’ Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s works, written with a sangfroid.


Ryunosuke Akutagawa is sceptic about living, but too curious to let himself die. His younger self, brought by the infecting minds of 19th century philosophers, grew up with a hollow in his soul, on which brim genetic madness and paranoia creep for all his life.

This semi-autobiography, “The Life of a Stupid Man”, showcased the transformation. His adolescence, marked by hatred towards the smell of dead bodies intertwined with attraction to the concept of murder, grew into a manhood with an interest of rotten-apricot smell of corpses and suicide.

“He wanted to live life so intensely that he could die at any moment without regret.” His life, strong with visual senses on form, shape, picture, and color, was occupied by his diversion from emotional attachments and self-appreciation, which crafted a scenic life story and mixed-up testimonies ended by defeat.

Along with “In a Bamboo Grove” and “Death Register”, Akutagawa added depth into the Japanese literary cult of depression, self-concealment, solitude, and women’s obedience, with a sensation of soul-baring impulsiveness.



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