: Kappa (Peter Owen Modern Classic) (): Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Geoffrey Bownas: Books. In Kappa (), Akutagawa Ryūnosuke () takes the reader on a journey into a subterranean land inhabited by a species of. Ryunosuke Akutagawa is probably best known outside Japan for “Rashomon” but “Kappa” is considered to be his masterpiece by fans and.

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Kappa by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

The story is narrated by a psychiatric patient who speaks about his experiences in a country of Kappa. It is a satire of corruption in Japanese society. Akutagawa took his own life the year the novel appeared, partially out of fear that he was developing a mental illness.

A psychiatric patient has lost his way and arrives at the country of Kappa. He is treated as a special guest and talks with Kappas of many occupations.


Geeru, a radical capitaliststates that the unemployed labourers are killed by gas and their flesh is provided for food. The patient is astonished, but Geeru argues that because the poorest women survive by prostitutionthe kapp opposition is sentimental.

‘Kappa’: Akutagawa’s masterpiece blunted by time but still fascinating

Kappa’s national characteristics are materialism and nihilistic realism. The babies of Kappa control their destiny.

While in the wombthe fetus can refuse life as a Kappa and be aborted. The patient also encounters The Maggu, a philosopher writing a collection of aphorisms titled The Words of a Fool including the line “a fool always considers others fools”.

Other characters include The Tokku, a sceptical poet Kappa who has committed suicide and appears as a ghost by means of necromancy through the person of Madan Hobbu.

As the patient returns to the real world, he muses that the Kappa were clean and superior to human society and becomes a misanthrope.

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A Short Analysis of Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s “Kappa” | Art Interlocutor

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