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Great Literature Made Easy



Breaking into Japanese Literature is designed to make great works of Japanese literature accessible. It features four stories by Natsume Soseki, the father of modern Japanese literature, and three stories by Akutagawa Ryunosuke, the Japanese master of the short story. The book presents the seven stories with the Japanese original and the English translation side-by-side, with a dictionary running along the bottom of the page. To get maximum enjoyment and benefit from this site, it is best to have read the book first.

This web site offers soundfiles of all seven stories in the book. Download a file and see if you can keep up, reading the kanji at native speed as you follow the text. If you feel really confident you can just listen to the story without looking at the text.

Note that audio is provided as a single soundfile for Soseki's Ten Nights of Dreams (Nights 1, 3, 5, 7). Akutagawa's In a Grove, The Nose and Rashomon are much longer and so are divided into six or so soundfiles each.

Click the navigation below to get to the story of your choice.

short stories