JAPAN: Gulliver in a Kimono

In the days of the late Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, the "banzais" of sword-shaking Japanese drowned out their more intelligent countrymen. The world of the '305 and the '405 had no chance to learn that modern Japan has also produced a fair quota of writers, thinkers and even humorists. Last month the work of one of them, a 2O-year-old novelette called Kappa, was first published in English translation. To American readers, Ryunosuke Akutagawa's satire seemed almost too good to have been written by a Japanese.

Akutagawa's kappa are a race of Oriental leprechauns, seldom over three feet tall, with...

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