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Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (Writings on Japan by Lafcadio Hearn) Paperback – June 25, 2001
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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!
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.
The story of Mimi-nashi Hoichi
The story of O-Tei
Of a mirror and a bell
A dead secret
The story of Aoyagi
The dream of Akinosuke
Insect Studies -