Ryunosuke Akutagawa was a short-story writer, poet and essayist, and one of the first Japanese modernists translated into English. He was born in Tokyo in 1892, and began writing for student publications at the age of ten. He graduated from Tokyo University with an English Literature degree and worked as a teacher before becoming a full-time writer in 1919. His mother had suffered a mental breakdown shortly after his birth and he was plagued by fear of inherited insanity all his life. He killed himself in 1927.
One never tires of reading and re-reading his best works. The
elegantly spare style has a truly spine-tingling brilliance
Extravagance and horror are in his work, but never in the style, which is always crystal-clear
*Jorge Luis Borges*