Finding the Mind in the Eyes: A Note on the Wife's Testimony in Akutagawa's "In a Grove"


  • Matthew M. Davis University of Virginia



This brief article focuses on “Yabu no Naka" ("In a Grove") by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. The author looks at the testimony of the samurai's wife, Masago, and indentifies some problems with her account of what happened.

Author Biography

Matthew M. Davis, University of Virginia

Assistant Professor, General Factuly, English Department


Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Rashomon and Other Stories, trans. Takashi Kojima (New York: Liveright Publishing, 1952).

Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories, trans. with notes by Jay Rubin (New York: Penguin, 2006).

Sarah Halperin, “From Didactic Folk-Tale to Ingenious Arts: Akutagawa’s Use of Old Sources to his Stories ‘Rashomon’ and ‘In a Grove’,” in Genres as Repositories of Cultural Memory, ed. Hendrik van Gorp and Ulla Musarra-Schroeder (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 505-520

Kinya Tsuruta, “Akutagawa’s ‘In a Grove’” in Katsuhiko Takeda, Essays on Japanese Literature (Tokyo: Waseda University Press, 1977), 95-105.

Tsutomu Takahashi, “The Irony of Sin: Akutagawa’s ‘Yabu no Naka’ and Ambrose Bierce’s ‘The Moonlit Road,’” Studies in English Language and Literature 71 (2021) 21-41, at 25, 30;

David Boyd, “Rashomon: From Akutagawa to Kurosawa” Literature Film Quarterly 15.3 (1987) 155-158, at 156.

Johanna Zeh, “Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s ‘In a Grove’: An Exercise in the Aesthetics of Literature,” Literature East and West 15/16 (1971-72) 872-889, at 886-887

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