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He usually has a dry and cool expression on his face, but he also has a rather air-headed side, as evidenced by his disconcertedness when he falls for a lie. Due to his elegant mannerisms which give you the impression that he had a good upbringing, he tends to give a first impression of being uptight. On the other hand, his charming humanity and charisma make him prone to unconsciously attracting troublesome people. A heavy smoker who is always accompanied by smoke.


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  • Later in life, Akutagawa, as the head of his family, was burdened with responsibilities. He had to take care of his sister's family, who had their house burnt down in the Great Kantou Earthquake and the husband committing suicide after being suspected of arson. The financial burden, arranging for a funeral, plus taking care of his aunt and his own family greatly damaged his health.
  • In 1925, Akutagawa wrote a continuation to his autobiographical mental sketches, The Youth of Daidoji Shinsuke, expressing his inability to reach his artistic ideals. He describes his earlier years and expresses his forays into philosophy, literature, and writing-- all of which frustrated him with his realizations of artistic failure. He also attempted to translate Edgar Allan Poe in order to learn the secret of his art, but only concluded he had no talent. This insecurity in his craft contributed to his first thought of suicide (around age 20), with his disappointment from "endeavouring to be great and finding to be small". [1]
  • From April to August, 1927, he published the essay series "Literary, All Too Literary", containing his side of the debate with Tanizaki Junichirou. Akutagawa, citing Shiga Naoya's works, upheld poetic lyricism as the primary value in the novel and discredited the role of structure. This is a complete turnaround of his early stance towards literature, showing how much he has changed in his approach towards writing.
  • He died at age 35 due to suicide. He took a dose of Veronal before bed and left last testaments to his family and friends. He was pronounced dead by 7 AM the following morning.
  • This was prescribed to him by his family physician Saitou Mokichi, after Akutagawa complained to him about having trouble sleeping. Mokichi had no knowledge of Akutagawa's intention of killing himself at the time.
  • In his suicide note (addressed to Kume Masao), Akutagawa contributed his suicide to several factors, among which included "a vague sense of anxiety" about the future. His death shook the entire literary scene of the time and marked the end of an era for 'bourgeois intellectuals' like him.


  1. Akutagawa: An Introduction, Beongcheon Yu, 1972