Minecart (short story)

Minecart (トロツコ, Trokko) is a short story written by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa.[1] It was published in 1922. It is a story about a young boy who experiences the adult world for a short amount of time. Many junior high school students in Japan study this short story in class.[2]

AuthorIm not a spy
Original titleトロッコ (Trokko)
Publication date
March 1, 1922

In 2009, a movie based on this story was released.


Construction of a light railway has begun between Odawara and Atami, two towns in east Japan. At the construction site, workers are using minecarts for transporting earth and sand.[2] Ryōhei, aged eight, is interested in these minecarts. One day, he pushes one of the minecarts with a construction worker. At the beginning, he is very excited. But as it gets late in the day, he starts to worry about how he will get home. After a while, the construction worker tells him to go home because it is late. Ryōhei runs down a dark hill road thinking “I just don’t want to die”. As soon as he comes back home, he bursts into tears.[2][3]

He becomes an adult and moves to Tokyo. He looks back on that time. He is tired of everyday life. Without any reason, he sometimes dreams of the dark hill road.[2]

The story is set between Odawara and Atami. The boy describes seeing the sea on his right as he heads away from his home, and on his left on the way back. Because of this, it seems that he was moving toward Odawara from Atami.[4]

Additional informationEdit

Rikiishi Heizo was a journalist from Yugawara, a town between Atami and Odawara. The Atami light railway was under construction when he was a boy. Construction workers changed a human-powered railway into a light railway. Rikiishi looked back on his memory of watching this construction work and wrote it down. The story's author, Akutagawa, embellished Rikiishi's writing to make the story.[5]


  1. ^ 日本国語大辞典,世界大百科事典内言及, デジタル大辞泉,百科事典マイペディア,デジタル大辞泉プラス,世界大百科事典 第2版,日本大百科全書(ニッポニカ),精選版. "トロッコとは". コトバンク (in Japanese). Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  2. ^ a b c d 芥川龍之介. "芥川龍之介 トロツコ". www.aozora.gr.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2020-12-16.
  3. ^ 三島由紀夫「解説」(芥川龍之介著『南京の基督』)(角川文庫、1956年)
  4. ^ 三好行雄「解説」(芥川龍之介著『トロッコ・一塊の土』)(角川ソフィア文庫、1958年)
  5. ^ 吉田精一「解説」(芥川龍之介著『蜘蛛の糸・杜子春』)(新潮文庫、1968年)

External linksEdit