During a writing career that spanned little more than twenty years, Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) produced hundreds of short stories. Most of the stories in this collection have early modern settings: the world of trains, newspapers, and Western intellectual fashions. Sometimes we glimpse elements of the macabre for which Akutagawa is renowned, but on the whole the emphasis is on the day-to-day life of which the writer had direct personal experience in the early years of the 20th century. We also glimpse the changing and still uncertain role of women in Japan’s new society. The most important literary prize in Japan is the Akutagawa prize, and Borges was a great devotee of his work.