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Ryunosuke Akutagawa Edit Profile

also known as Niihara Ryunosuke, Chokodo Shujin, Gaki


Ryunosuke Akutagawa was a Japanese writer. He is regarded as the "Father of the Japanese short story" and Japan's premier literary award, the Akutagawa Prize, is named after him.


Ryonosuke Akutagawa (born Niihara Ryunosuke) was born on March 1, 1892 in Kyōbashi, Tokyo, Japan. He was named "Ryūnosuke" ("Son [of] Dragon") because he was born in the Year of the Dragon, in the Month of the Dragon, on the Day of the Dragon, and at the Hour of the Dragon. Shortly after Akutagawa's birth his mother, Fuku, became insane. His father, Niihara Toshizo, a dairyman, was not able to take care of his son, and Akutagawa was adopted by his uncle, Akutagawa Dosho, whose surname he assumed. excelled at school and was a voracious reader.


He entered the First High School in 1910, developing relationships with classmates such as Kan Kikuchi, Kume Masao, Yūzō Yamamoto, and Tsuchiya Bunmei, all of them would later become authors. Akutagawa excelled at school and was a voracious reader. In 1913 he attended Tokyo Imperial University (now the University of Tokyo), where he studied English literature.


In 1914, Akutagawa and his former high school friends revived the literary journal Shinshichō ("New Currents of Thought"), publishing translations of William Butler Yeats and Anatole France along with their own works. After graduation, he taught briefly at the Naval Engineering School in Yokosuka, Kanagawa as an English language teacher in 1916-1917, before deciding to devote his full efforts to writing. In 1919 he worked for Osaka Mainichi as a literary staff member. Since 1919 he was a full time writer.


  • Akutagawa wrote over 150 short stories during his brief life. Akutagawa is one of the most widely translated of all Japanese writers, and a number of his stories have been made into films. In 1935, Akutagawa's lifelong friend Kan Kikuchi established the literary award for promising new writers, the Akutagawa Prize, in his honor.



Quotations: “I have no conscience at all - least of all an artistic conscience. All I have is nerves.”

“It is unfortunate for the gods that, unlike us, they cannot commit suicide.”


In childhood Akutagawa was sickly and hypersensitive. Towards the end of his life, Akutagawa began suffering from visual hallucinations and nervousness over fear that he had inherited his mother's mental disorder.


  • Writers

    Mori Ōgai, Natsume Sōseki

  • Other Interests

    English literature, Chinese literature


In 1916 Akutagawa became engaged to Fumi Tsukamoto, whom he married in 1918. They had three children: Hiroshi Akutagawa was an actor, Takashi Akutagawa was killed as a student draftee in Burma, and Yasushi Akutagawa was a composer.

Toshizo Niihara - Japan - Dairyman

Fuku Niihara - Japan

Shortly after Ryūnosuke's birth his mother, Fuku, became insane.

Akutagawa Dosho - Japan

Fumi Tsukamoto - Japan

Hiroshi Akutagawa - Japan - actor

Takashi Akutagawa - Japan

He was killed as a student draftee in Burma

Yasushi Akutagawa - Japan - composer

Kan Kikuchi - Japan

In 1935 established the the Akutagawa Prize, which is generally considered among the most prestigious Japanese literary awards for aspiring writers.

Kume Masao - Japan - author

Yūzō Yamamoto - Japan - author

Tsuchiya Bunmei - Japan - author