17+ quotes from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

Quotes from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories

Ryūnosuke Akutagawa ·  268 pages

Rating: (4.8K votes)


“I have no conscience at all -- least of all an artistic conscience. All I have is nerves.”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“I have heard unsavory rumors about you and the umbrella-maker's daughter”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“He disliked his own lies as much as his parents', but still he continued to lie -- boldly and cunningly. He did this primarily out of need, but also for the pathological pleasure of killing a god.”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“The human heart harbors two conflicting sentiments. Everyone of course sympathizes with people who suffer misfortunes. Yet when those people manage to overcome their misfortunes, we feel a certain disappointment. We may even feel (to overstate the case somewhat) a desire to plunge them back into those misfortunes. And before we know it, we come (if only passively) to harbor some degree of hostility toward them.”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“The cable was still sending sharp sparks into the air. He could think of nothing in life that he especially desired, but those purple sparks--those wildly-blooming flowers of fire--he would trade his life for the chance to hold them in his hands."

-from "The Life of a Stupid Man”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“When I kill a man, I do it with my sword, but people like you don't use swords. You gentlemen kill with your power, with your money, and sometimes just with your words: you tell people you're doing them a favor. True, no blood flows, the man is still alive, but you've killed him all the same. I don't know whose sin is greater―yours or mine. (A sarcastic smile.)”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“I've heard you want to die," she said.
"Yes—or rather, it's not so much that I want to die as that I'm tired of living.”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“Life is more hellish than hell itself.”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“At twenty-nine, life no longer held any brightness for him, but Voltaire supplied him with man-made wings.
Spreading these man-made wings, he soared with ease into the sky. The higher he flew, the farther below him sank the joys and sorrows of a life bathed in the light of the intellect. Dropping ironies and smiles upon the shabby towns below, he climbed through the open sky, straight for the sun--as if he had forgotten about that ancient Greek who plunged to his death in the ocean when his man-made wings were singed by the sun."

-from "The Life of a Stupid Man”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“Everyone is the same under the skin.”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“These works are handed down from teacher to pupil, from parent to child, almost without question, like DNA. They are memorized, recited, discussed in book reports, included in university entrance exams, and once the student is grown up, they become a source for quotation. They are made into movies again and again, they are parodied, and inevitably they become the object of ambitious young writers’ revolt and contempt.”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“That’s because, in a way different from what you meant by it, you can’t trust anybody.” Major Kimura lit a new cigar and, smiling, continued in tones that were almost exultantly cheerful. “It is important—even necessary—for us to become acutely aware of the fact that we can’t trust ourselves. The only ones you can trust to some extent are people who really know that. We had better get this straight. Otherwise, our own characters’ heads could fall off like Xiao-er’s at any time.”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“إن سمو الحياة يصل ذروته في أكثر لحظات الإلهام قربًا من القلب، والإنسان
سيجعل حياته جديرة بأن تعاش إذا رفع بوجهه عاليًا نحو السماء المتشحة بالنجوم
متجاوزاً الاهتمامات الدنيوية المظلمة لهذة الحياة، ليعكس على صقال زبدها البللوري
سنا بدر لم يطل بعد.”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“وكل ما ظل فيه بلا تغيير هو لون عينيه اللتين تشبهان النجوم. واللتين مضتا تتطلعان عالياً نحو السماء.”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“Life is not worth a single line of Baudelaire."

-from "The Life of a Stupid Man”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“This is all for the sake of the House,” he told himself, but behind his resolve he sensed, indistinctly, a certain effort at self-vindication, and the awareness hovered there like a barely perceptible halo around the moon.”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


“As rumor had said, he found several corpses strewn carelessly about the floor. Since the glow of the light was feeble, he could not count the number. He could only see that some were naked and others clothed. Some of them were women, and all were lolling on the floor with their mouths open or their arms outstretched showing no more signs of life than so many clay dolls. One would doubt they had ever been alive, so eternally silent they were.”
― Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, quote from Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories


About the author

Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
Born place: in Tokyo, Japan
Born date March 1, 1892
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