(1892-1927) Japanese writer whose first literary work was a 1914 translation of Anatole France's fantasy Balthasar (1889) and who remains best-known for his third story, "Rashomon" (1915), a Supernatural Fiction which appears in Rashomon and Other Stories (coll trans Takashi Kojima 1951 chap US) and served as a base for Akira Kurosawa's movie Rashomon (1951). Other short fiction, much of it based on old Folktales, is assembled in Tales Grotesque and Curious (coll trans G W Shaw 1930). The protagonist of Kappa (1927; trans S Shiojiri 1947; new trans Geoffrey Bownas 1971 US) is propelled by the eponymous water spirit to an Underground country whose culture is a Topsy-Turvy version of Japanese life. The protagonist's disgust on returning to the surface has been taken by critics as reflecting Gulliver's Travels (1726) by Jonathan Swift; but RA's own emotional state resembled his protagonist's, and he committed suicide soon after completing the text. [JC]
other works: Hell Screen (coll trans 1948 Japan); Japanese Short Stories (coll trans Takashi Kojima 1961 US).