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Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (Writings on Japan by Lafcadio Hearn) Paperback – June 25, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Hearn (1850-1904) was born in Levkas, Greece, as the son of Greek and British parents. In 1869 he went to the United States and did various work, finally as a journalist. In 1890 he came to Japan and taught English in Japanese schools, and became a Japanese citizen under the name of Koizumi Yakuma. He died in Tokyo. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Writings on Japan by Lafcadio Hearn
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: ICG Muse (June 25, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4925080326
  • ISBN-13: 978-4925080323
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 0.4 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,980,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Lafcadio Hearn is well-known in his Japanese name, Koizumi Yagumo. Actually, I never doubted that Koizumi Yagumo was a born-Japanese. His famous Kwaidan, or Japanese ghost stories are so "Japanese" and it really scared me. When my brother told me that Koizumi Yagumo is actually a Western people, I didn't believe it at first...
He was born in 1850 in Greek, his mother's country. Educated in his father's country, Ireland, he went to USA when he was 19 years old. He worked as a journalist in New Orlens, then came to Japan and became an English teacher in Matsue, Shimane prefecture in 1890. He married with Yae Koizumi and got Japanese citizenship.

Kwaidan includes ghost stories lik Earless Ho Ichi, a Biwa (Japanese PiPa) player and story teller of famous Heike legends, who was possesed by Heike (the warrior family once governed Japan then defeated) warriors' ghosts because of his talent, and Mujina, bewitched racoon dogs which scare people to death. Koizumi Yagumo is more Japanese than Japanese... Koizumi Yagumo is still popular in Japan (and I believe a lot of people still believe that he is a born-Japanese...). When I searched Koizumi Yagumo in Japanese Goo, it hit 422!
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Format: Paperback
"Kwaidan" is Hearn's most famous book, and justifiably so. It is the least academic of his works, collecting together some of Japan's core ghost and monster stories into one slim volume. Much like the Brothers Grimm, Hearn did not actually create these stories but rather compiled them and put them into written form for the first time, learning them from folk tales and storytellers.
Along with famous, "Kwaidan" is Hearn's most influential book. "The Story of Mimi-nashi Hoichi" is as well-known in Japan as "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is in the United States. The "Yuki Onna" has made it into a few films, including Kurosawa's "Dreams" and the filmed version of this book, "Kwaidan."
The stories themselves are of excellent quality, ranging from spooky ghost tales to humorous tales of wandering monks encountering monsters. Each story ranges from 5-15 pages long.
Along with the stories are three insect studies, the likes of which can be found in all Hearn books. These are excellent academic studies of insects in traditional Japanese folk lore, including children's songs and haiku poetry involving insects.
Included are:
The story of Mimi-nashi Hoichi
Oshidori
The story of O-Tei
Ubazakura
Diplomacy
Of a mirror and a bell
Jikininki
Mujina
Rokuro-kubi
A dead secret
Yuki-Onna
The story of Aoyagi
Jiu-Roku-Zakura
The dream of Akinosuke
Riki-Baba
Hi-Mawari
Horai
Insect Studies -
Butterfiles
Mosquitos
Ants
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Format: Paperback
This is a deliciously creepy collection of Japanese folk stories from Lafcadio Hearn (aka Koizumi Yagumo). Hearn was born in Greece, raised in Ireland, and then spent later years in the U.S. (esp. Cincinatti and New Orleans), where he worked as a reporter. In 1890, during the early Meiji Era, he settled in Japan. Hearn taught English in several places (Yokohama, Shimane-ken, Kyushu, and Tokyo-shi), married into a samurai family (gaining the name Koizumi Yagumo and Japanese citizenship), and wrote several books about Japanese culture and folklore. Kwaidan is a fun, spooky book, and I highly recommend it. (Also, if you or your children have read the Harry Potter books, you'll see that some of the "Dark Creatures" therein are actually of Japanese origin).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pretty interesting book, reads pretty fast. Not filled with stories like Kaguya-hime or Momotaro, but for anyone wanting a different kind of story, but within the same realm.
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Format: Paperback
This collection of 17 old stories from Japan was collected and translated by a well-known ethnographer, and first published in English in 1904. The tales are old folk stories (urban legends if you will) mostly dealing with ghosts and the spirit world. Many feature the theme of a spirit who takes a human form to disguise their true nature. Another common theme concerns the uneasy spirit who must be appeased in some form. They are fairly charming old-fashioned stories, which vary considerably in length. The final three sections ("Butterflies," "Mosquitoes," "Ants") are more like meditations on the three subjects and don't really fit into the ghost story theme of the rest of the book. Four of the tales were made into an excellent Japanese movie in 1964.
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