Writing at the beginning of the twentieth century, Ryunosuke Akutagawa created disturbing stories out of Japan's cultural upheaval. Rashomon tells the chilling story of the killing of a samurai through the testimony of witnesses, including the spirit of the murdered man. The fable-like Yam Gruel is an account of desire and humiliation, but one in which the reader's sympathy is thoroughly unsettled. And in The Martyr, a beloved orphan raised by Jesuit priests is exiled when he refuses to admit that he made a local girl pregnant. He regains their love and respect only at the price of his life. All six tales in the collection show Akutagawa as a master storyteller and an exciting voice of modern Japanese literature.