KAPPA. Abeno, Osaka, Japan: Akitaya, 1947. Small octavo, pp. [1-3] 4-154 [155: colophon] [156: blank], inserted frontispiece and half title leaf, original flexible card wrappers printed in black with printed dust jacket, pictorial endpapers. First edition in English. Translated and introduced by Seiichi Shiojiri. KAPPA (the name of a Japanese water spirit) was first published in English in Osaka by Akitaya in 1947. In this Swiftian satire the spirit leads the story's protagonist "to an underground country whose culture is a topsy-turvy version of Japanese life." - Clute and Grant, eds., The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997), p. 14. "This brief satire, written in a period of about two weeks only a few months before Akutagawa committed suicide in 1927, is utopian only in the same sense that it may be intended to represent a better world. Given the condition of Akutagawa's mind at the time, it is difficult to tell whether he meant anything more than a criticism of Japanese society in his description of the underworld land of the Kappas. Perhaps these mythical amphibious creatures, happy, though in behavior almost always completely opposite to that of human beings, are only meant to express what Akutagawa described as his disgust with himself and the world in general. The influence of Swift is obvious ... Even if he is only holding up a mirror to Japanese society, Akutagawa does suggest a world which, like so many other fictional lands, is so much more interesting and better a place than his own world that it may fairly be called at least a semi-utopia." - Lewis, Utopian Literature, pp. 2-3. The novelette was collected later in EXOTIC JAPANESE STORIES: THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE GROTESQUE (1964). Bleiler (1978), p. 3. Reginald 00105. Pulp paper tanned but not brittle, a remarkably nice copy of this fragile post-World War II publication. (#157079).
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