I have based my composition on two short stories by the Japanese author Ryunosuke Akutagawa; “Rashomon,” and “In a Bamboo Grove.” These, in turn, were taken from Konjaku Monogatarish?’s Anthology of Tales from the Past, also known as the Konjaku Monogatari, a Japanese collection of over one thousand tales written during the late Heian period (794-1185). The volumes cover various tales from India, China and Japan. The subject-matter is largely drawn from Buddhist and secular folklore. The folkloric tales mostly depict encounters between human beings and the supernatural. The typical characters are drawn from Japanese society of the time — nobility, warriors, monks, scholars, doctors, peasant farmers, fishermen, merchants, prostitutes, bandits, beggars. Their supernatural counterparts are oni and tengu. The work is anonymous. The date of the work is also uncertain. From the events depicted in some of the tales it seems likely that it was written down at some point during the early half of the 12th century, after the year 1120. Many of the tales which appear in the Konjaku are also found in other collections, such as ghost story collections; having passed into the common consciousness, they have been retold many times over the succeeding centuries. Modern writers too have adapted tales from the Konjaku Monogatarish?: a famous example is Akutagawa Ry?nosuke's In a Grove, well known in the West from Kurosawa's film Rashomon.


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Posted: Jan-11-2017
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