You might have heard the 1,000-year-old story of two blind men wanting to know what an elephant looks like: The one who touches the trunk imagines and describes a very different animal than the one who leans on the stomach, pets the ear, hugs a leg. They argue over who is right, though we know they are both simultaneously right and wrong. The Rashomon effect—the phenomenon of recounting the same event differently—comes from the title of the 1950 Japanese film by Akira Kurosawa, in which four witnesses remember the circumstances around the death of a samurai in four different ways. The samurai’s wife claimed she was sexually assaulted by a bandit, passed out and then awoke to find her husband dead. The bandit claimed he seduced the wife and then killed the samurai in a duel—and so on. The dramatic tension This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Three Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 47 Forget It The problem with core memories. Arts & Culture Issue 29 Clippings In boxes, under beds and at the back of drawers; scraps salvaged from the past hold potent memories. Arts & Culture Issue 29 A History of Passports How did the passport become the most important piece of paper any of us will ever own? Arts & Culture Issue 29 Nose Deep Why do we love the smell of old books? Arts & Culture Issue 28 Word: Yugen The mysteries of the universe, distilled into one word. Arts & Culture Issue 27 Recently Deleted How technology is changing our memories of family.