Read Rashōmon by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa in Japanese

In Interlinear, the Japanese phrases and words are matched with an English translation below.

How the Interlinear translation method works
How the Interlinear translation method works, vertical display

Interlinear is like subtitles for books…

Explanation of the Interlinear method in two steps
Explanation of the Interlinear method in two steps
More about Interlinear

What is Rashōmon about?

Rashōmon (羅生門) is a book featuring two Japanese stories, which together form the basis for the Japanese director Akira Kurowasa's award-winning 1950 film with the same name. The first story 羅生門rashōmon (Rashōmon, published in 1915) is set in 12th-century Kyoto, and it recounts the encounter between a recently fired servant and an old woman in the dilapidated Rashōmon, the southern gate of the then-ruined city of Kyoto, where unclaimed corpses were sometimes dumped. The second story, yabunonaka (In a Grove, published in 1921), presents three different accounts of the same crime, inviting the reader to question the existence of objective truth itself.

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Stories by 'father of the Japanese short story' that inspired 'one of the greatest films ever made'!

Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (芥川 龍之介, his name Ryūnosuke translates as "Son [of] Dragon") is a prominent writer in early 20th century Japan, especially in the Taishō period. He wrote satire, haiku, and autobiographical works, but is most renowned for his short stories. Akutagawa was a supporter of structure in literary works, arguing that how the story was told, was more important than the content or plot. Japan's premier literary award, the Akutagawa Prize, is named after him.

How was this Japanese translation made?

Literal but understandable

We normally translate books nearly word-by-word but with Japanese we had to reinvent that method! We came up with two ways to make the meaning of Japanese more clear:

Grouping by chunks of meaning

In this bilingual book, we group words by minimal units of meaning. In this way, not only are word correspondances revealed but the translation sentence is usually understandable too:

otokoto With [the] man
yabunonakae into [the] grove
はいりました。hairimashita [I] went.

Chunking still fell short of informing the reader which words mean what in Japanese. So we marked all corresponding English and Japanese words within chunks with the same color:

otokoto With [the] man
yabunonakae into [the] grove
はいりました。hairimashita [I] went.

We also include an alternative version with text effects instead of colors. It looks something like this:

sakuya no 初更頃shokō-goro In the early hours of last night

Rōmaji and Furigana available!

We know Japanese characters can be a challenge to read, thus we include a version of the book which has transcription of the Japanese characters on top.

It is available as Rōmaji transcription of all Japanese characters to Latin letters, which looks like this:

一人hitori no otoko ga one man

Or Furigana, which is just the Kanji characters transcribed to Hiragana, and looks like this:

一人ひとり   おとこ   one man

And of course we also have an option with no transcription at all: you choose!

Free audiobook included

To make sure you can learn even more from this book, we asked a native Japanese speaker and language teacher Saeko Piccioni to record an audiobook in which she slowly reads out loud the entire text of the two stories. The audiobook comes as a collection of mp3 audio files, which can be downloaded and played on your digital device.

Translated by Luca Toma.

Audio recorded by Saeko Piccioni.

This Interlinear book includes:

  • 67 standard-book pages
  • nearly fifteen thousand Japanese characters
  • full unabriged original text with optional transcription to Rōmaji or Furigana & aligned Interlinear translations
  • a separately available Japanese-only version of the text to get additional practice after having read the text with the Interlinear translation
  • files in the printable or electronically readable PDF format, as well as MOBI and EPUB format files for Kindles and other e-book readers, tablets, and phones - all immediately available to download
  • a free home-made Japanese audiobook recorded by a native speaker and language teacher Saeko Piccioni for Interlinear Books!

Available to order right now.

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