Tokyo University of the Arts.
Akutagawa was taught composition by Kunihiko Hashimoto and Akira Ifukube at the Tokyo Conservatory of Music. Akutagawa was the only Japanese composer whose works were officially published in the Soviet Union at that time. His 1950 Music for Symphony Orchestra reflects his love of the music of Shostakovich and his debt to the Russian"s great film scores.
His compositions were influenced by Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Akira Ifukube.
He was popular as a master of ceremonies of television shows as well. As an educator, he devoted himself to train an amateur orchestra, Shin Kokyo Gakudan ("The New Symphony Orchestra").
Almost one year after Akutagawa died, in 1990, the Akutagawa composition award was established in his memory.
He was one of the members of Sannin no kai (The Three) along with Ikuma Dan and Toshiro Mayuzumi.