Collection: Lafcadio Hearn

Lafcadio Hearn was born in the Greek Ionian Islands on June 27, 1850. When he was 6 years old, he moved from the Island of Leucos to Ireland and was raised by his Irish great-aunt until the age of 16. He was then sent to the US and began working as a journalist, first in Cincinnati and then in New Orleans. He also spent time translating French literature into English and soon developed his own writing style as well as his own interests in storytelling.

In 1890, Hearn found his place in life when he traveled to Japan and became enchanted with Japanese culture, history, language, and folklore. His upbringing had been a lonely one, but he soon found his family when he fell in love with Setzu Koizumi and married her in 1891. Hearn became a Japanese citizen, took the name Yakumo Koizumi, and taught at the Imperial University for many years. He and his wife had four children, and it has been recorded that he was a loving father and family man.

Lafcadio Hearn’s works demonstrate sincere love and devotion for Japan. Most entertaining are his Japanese ghost stories, which give rich insight into the history, culture, and traditions of the Japanese people. These stories were not only widely translated but also adapted into film with the movie Kwaidan in 1964. He remained devoted to Japan until his passing in 1904 at the age of 54.

Lafcadio Hearn