Have you ever participated in the Irish
Festival? This event is a festival touched on the culture of Ireland which is
the home of Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo).
In addition, in March of this year, I will
appear on the stage. Although it is a story about the Heike Monogatari, Hearn
will also appear. Because Hearn has a connection in that he wrote a ghost story
called “Miminashi Hoichi” using Heike Monogatari. Hearn left a lot of
ghost stories and literature on Japan. Lafcadio Hearn is one of the foreigners
who emigrated to Japan despite being born and raised abroad.
Patrick Lafcadio Hearn was born in 1850 at
lefcada in Greece. So his middle name was named from the island he was born. He
was born to the Greek mother and the Irish father. When Hearn was a child, his
parents divorced and Hearn was raised by a mother’s aunt. Because of this
aunt’s education, Hearn began to focus on the occult. “His surrogate parent was an Irish aunt who believed,
rather strangely, that locking children in closets cured their fear of the
dark. Subjected to this treatment, the terrified Hearn developed an interest in
the occult, which inspired much of his later writing about New Orleans’s voodoo
culture” (Danny Heitman). Later, he went to the UK for study. And
he was injured his left eye. Hearn worked in Cincinnati, New Orleans, etc.
after moving to London due to bankruptcy of his aunt. And he went to Japan and
lived in Matsue too. He met Koizumi Setsu and got married. In 1895, he became
naturalized in Japan and came to call him “Koizumi Yakumo” famous in
Japan today. “In the short period of 14 years
that he had lived in Japan, he felt that he had become privy to the most deeply
cherished secrets of the Japanese mindset”(Roger Pulvers). Hearn
lived in Japan, living in the Japanese culture, until he was 54 years old until
leaving the world.
Since Hearn came to Japan, he left a lot of
works such as “Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan”
and “Out of the East”. “Hearn’s
depictions of Meiji-era Japan are still well regarded today. Interestingly,
though, his Japanese-language ability was apparently very limited, and he
largely relied on his wife for communication”(David White). His wife
supported Hearn in many parts. In addition, he wrote many ghost stories such as
“Miminashi Hoichi” and “Yukionna”.”It was these themes
that were to make him enduringly well-known in Japan, with Kwaidan, his
collection of Japanese ghost stories and legends, in particular, making its mark
amongst Japanese and those with an interest in Japan. Kwaidan was also
made into a film in 1965, directed by Masaki Kobayashi”(David White).
“Kwaidan” is still loved by many Japanese people.
I knew about Lafcadio Hearn and was moved by
his love of Japan. Even if foreign blood is flowing to him, I think that no one
has a heart like “Japanese” as he is.
I think also that the ghost stories he wrote
will continue to be read by many people.