JAPANESE SHORT STORIES, by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, translated by Takashi Kojima, foreword by John McVittie. Singapore: Tuttle Publishing, 1981, 240 pp. with 15 illustrations, $14.95. THE ESSENTIAL AKUTAGAWA, by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, edited by Seiji Lippit, foreword by Jorge Luis Borges. New York: Marsililio Publishers, 208 pp., $14.95.

Ryunosuke Akutagawa remains something of a literary anomaly. A major stylist, he is denied the established standing of a Natsume Soseki or a Shiga Naoya. Instead, he is relegated to the role of eccentric, a minor symbolist who wrote a few popular pieces.

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