To Japanese

About two peculiar works
by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
It's a bit of a problem if I am asked, “Among your works, are there any novels which you are particularly attached to or fond of?” It is impossible to select novels which meet such a condition and it is hard to think of some novels to which special status must be given. First of all, in the matrix of many novels, no novels that may claim “I am a novel” are found. As concluding this way cannot be an answer to the above question, I want to pick up two peculiar works without considering this matter seriously.
Both of them were created imitating the writing style of old books published by Nihon Yasokai (The Society of Jesus in Japan) around the Bunroku and Keicho Eras (1592 – 1615 AD) in Amakusa and Nagasaki.
“The Death of a Disciple” had imitated the style of “Oral Translation – The Tale of the Heike” translated at that time by the local faithful, “The Legend of Sao Kirishitohoro” had imitated the style of “The Isoho Stories (The Aesop Fables)”. I said “imitated” but I could not write as good as they were in the original books, as the antique and simple mood was not well expressed.
The Death of a Disciple” is a novel about the episode of a Japanese Christian but all in it was from my imagination. “The Legend of Sao Kirishitohoro” was created using “The hagiography of St. Christopher” as the material.
After writing them up and reading then back, I have thought “The Legend of Sao Kirishitohoro” was better in terms of success or failure.
There was an interesting episode when “The Death of a Disciple” was published. Letters writing various comments came. Among them was a one from a person who had misunderstood as though I had possessed the original source book that was really written by the hand of the Kirishitan faith: He offered to buy it, enclosing 500 yens as a deposit. I was sorry but it was amusing.
After that, I met a priest named Emile Raguet and talked with him about “The Legend of Sao Kirishitohoro.” Since I heard that his birth country was the place where St Christopher had once lived, I thought about the little connection.
As to what kind of works will be produced in future, I think no one can give a definite answer. Unlike other businesses, the job of writing novels cannot be started according a programme. Nevertheless, in the future, I wish to make use of my erudition and talent, and write pure novels, private novels, historical novels, amorous novels, haikus (seventeen-syllable poems), poetries, waka (thirty one -syllable poems) and what so ever.
I treasure pots, plates, old paintings, etc. If I have spare time, I wish to write comments on the works of other writers and artists, and also have discussion with them.
Thus, my future is boundless and promising.
(Published in Bunshou Ourai (文章往來), Shunyo-do Publishing (春陽堂), January 1926)