The thin volume is made up of 6 short stories:
- In a Grove
- Yam Gruel
- The Martyr
- Kesa and Morito
- The Dragon
Though rather short, most of the stories are very deep, with complex layers, about love, betrayal, honor, pride and morality.
Legendary filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa’s movie Rashomon is based on Akutagawa’s most famous story, In a Grove, and not his short story of the same title. Though Kurosawa’s Rashomon was mostly taken from In a Grove, he mixed in elements from Akutagawa’s Rashomon, such as the setting for the meeting and storytelling of the 3 strangers sheltering from the heavy downpour at the start of the movie.
The short stories, though interesting, will surely leave readers perplexed, feeling a whole host of mixed emotions toward the characters in the story.