Lafcadio Hearn Koizumi Yakumo

Lafcadio Hearn 小泉八雲

Patrick Lafcadio Hearn, also known by his adopted Japanese name, Koizumi Yakumo, is one of the best known foreign writers on Japan of the Meiji Period 1868-1912.

Born on the Greek island of Lefkas in 1850 to an Irish father and Greek mother, Hearn was taken to Ireland to stay with his father's family when he was two.

Subsequently deserted by his parents, the young Hearn was brought up by his aunt and educated in the UK, before moving to America at age 19, where he eventually began to find work as journalist.

Hearn gained a growing reputation as a writer firstly in Cincinatti, then in New Orleans and the West Indies before arriving in Japan in on a newspaper commission in 1890.

Lafcadio Hearn.
Lafcadio Hearn's Old Residence in Matsue.
Lafcadio Hearn's Old Residence in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture

On arrival in Japan, Hearn abandoned his newspaper work and taught English in Matsue in Shimane Prefecture, married a local woman, Setsu Koizumi, and became a naturalized Japanese citizen.

Fifteen months later, Hearn moved to Kumamoto in Kyushu, where he lived for 3 years before eventually settling in Tokyo, becoming a professor of literature at Tokyo University. Lafcadio Hearn's grave is in Zoshigaya cemetery near Ikebukuro in Tokyo.

Through books such as Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan (1894), Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (1903) and Japanese Fairy Tales (1898) Hearn introduced an exotic Japan to a wider Western audience eager to learn more about this strange, recently opened nation.

Read more about the life and works of Lafcadio Hearn

Lafcadio Hearn's Former Residence in Kumamoto, Kyushu.
Lafcadio Hearn's Former Residence in Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture

Related Lafcadio Hearn Resources

Lafcadio Hearn Museum Kumamoto

Books by Lafcadio Hearn

Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan (1894); Out of the East: Reveries and Studies in New Japan (1895); Kokoro: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life (1896); Gleanings in Buddha-Fields: Studies of Hand and Soul in the Far East (1897); Exotics and Retrospectives (1898); Japanese Fairy Tales (1898); and sequels In Ghostly Japan (1899); Shadowings (1900); Japanese Lyrics (1900) - on haiku; A Japanese Miscellany (1901); Kottō: Being Japanese Curios, with Sundry Cobwebs (1902); Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (1903); Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation (1904); The Romance of the Milky Way and other studies and stories (1905); published posthumously.

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