Kappa, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


The Kappa is a creature from Japanese folklore described as a scaly, child-sized being with a face like a tiger and a sharp, pointed beak.

In the hands of Ryunosuke Akutagawa, one man's journey to 'Kappaland' becomes the vehicle for a critique of Japanese life and customs in the tradition of Swift and Kafka.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Owen Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780720613377



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I enjoyed Kappa, although I'm not sure that I entirely "got it". Maybe I don't know enough about Japanese society in the 1920s to recognise the social mores Akutagawa is satirising. That said, there was enough universally relevant stuff to keep me interested: swipes at capitalism and greed; artistic pretension, et al.<br/><br/>There is an obvious poignancy about the suicide scene and the knowledge that Akutagawa took his own life a few months after writing this book.<br/><br/>As has been said by another reviewer, I found the introduction and its brief biography to be more interesting than the work it prefaced.<br/><br/>Kappa has left me wanting to delve deeper into Akutagawa's work. I'll have to read some more of his stuff and then come back to this again, I think.