Akutagawa 芥川
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
A small river running through Takatsuki 高槻 City, Osaka (formerly Settsu 摂津 province). Famous from Episode 6 of ISE MONOGATARI 伊勢物語 (The Tales of Ise). The protagonist abducts his love and crosses the Akuta 芥 River with her on a rainy night. Seeing a dewdrop on a blade of grass, the lady asks him what it is. The man hides her in a ruined storehouse, but, as he is standing guard outside with a bow in hand, she is devoured by a demon. Discovering her absence in the morning, the man recites: shiratama ka / nanizo to hito no / toishi toki / tsuyu to kotaete / kie namashi monowo 白玉か/何ぞと人の/問いし時/露と答えて/消えなましものを  : When my beloved asked / Is it a clear gem /Or what might it be? /Would that I had replied /A dewdrop! and perished (trans. McCullough). Pictures based on this episode typically show either the man with the woman on his back crossing a river whose grasses are thick with dew, or the man standing guard at the door of the storehouse.

*ise monogatari-e 伊勢物語絵 

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