“Gate of Rasemon” Akutagawa in brief summary

“Gate of Rasemon” Akutagawa in brief summary


One evening, a servant, fired by his master, was waiting for rain under the gates of Rasemon. Seated on the top step, he often touched the boil, jumped out on his right cheek. Although the gate was on the main street, there was no one except this servant, only a cricket sat on a round pole. Over the past two or three years, one or the other of Kyoto has been hit by disasters – a hurricane, an earthquake, a fire, then a famine – this is the capital and empty. In the abandoned gates of Rasemon, foxes and badgers now lived. In them thieves found shelter. It even happened to bring and throw corpses. After sunset here it was done somehow terribly, and no one dared to approach close to the gate.

The servant, who had nowhere to go, decided to go up to the tower above the gate and see if it was possible to hide there for the night. Fearfully peering inside the tower, he saw an old woman there. Squatting, she was pulling the hair out of one of the corpses under the light of a ray. The servant rushed at the old woman, twisted her hands and angrily asked what she was doing here. The frightened old woman explained that she was pulling her hair out on the wigs. She is sure that the woman with whom she was tearing her hair when the servant came in would not have condemned her, for she herself had cut the snakes into strips during her lifetime and sold them to the palace guards, giving out for dried fish. The old woman did not think that this woman behaved badly – otherwise she would have died of hunger. The old woman was tearing the hair of corpses for wigs in order to avoid starvation – which meant that her deed could not be considered bad either. The story of the old woman inspired the servant, who before was ready to die from starvation rather than become a thief, determination. “Well, do not blame me if I turn you in! And I, too, will have to starve to death,” he snarled and tore the kimono from the old woman. Putting it under his arm, he ran down the stairs, and since then no one has seen him.



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“Gate of Rasemon” Akutagawa in brief summary