In A Grove | Study Guide

Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

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In A Grove | Character Analysis



The Old Woman tells the High Police Commissioner that Masago is a happy girl who loved her husband. However, this description contradicts Tajomaru's testimony. He says that she was violent and he had to fight her off to subdue her. In every testimony Masago is the victim of rape. The stories differ in how she reacts to Tajomaru defiling her. Although the stories contradict each other, each represents a plausible outcome as to how a woman in Masago's position would respond.

Kanazawa no Takehiko

Kanazawa no Takehiko is a mystery throughout the story. Tajomaru and Masago have widely different memories concerning his temperament and reaction to what happens. Tajomaru infers that he was a greedy man who reacted violently after Masago's rape. However, Masago recalls that he became defeated after she was raped. He accepted the fact that both of them must die because of her defilement. Kanazawa no Takehiko's testimony through a Medium is dubious due in nature and paints a different picture of the man. He kills himself because he could not save his wife from Tajomaru.


The Policeman offers the first description of Tajomaru, a rapist who has a long history of committing crimes in Kyoto. He suspects that Tajomaru is responsible for killing a woman and her daughter a year before "In a Grove" occurs. Tajomaru's confession as well as Masago and Kanazawa no Takehiko's testimonies confirm the Policeman's statements about Tajomaru. He is a thief and a rapist. However, the stories differ concerning his motivation and the actions he took after the rape.

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