Lafcadio Hearn


Lafcadio Hearn, Koizumi Yakumo 小泉八雲
(1850-1904) (Koizumi Yagumo)

and Fujieda Daruma 藤枝だるま !!!

Remember the death of Lafcardio Hearn
on Sept. 26, 1904


Most foreign residents with an interest in Japan besides partying or lining their pockets will likely have become aware of Hearn shortly after arriving here -- probably forming a picture of an early visitor who described a Japan that no longer exists.

Hearn occupies a more important position among the Japanese themselves. He is a writer who has contributed to the national oeuvre. Virtually any Japanese will have read his stories in their middle-school English textbooks, or perhaps even their Japanese readers (his "In a Cup of Tea" has been anthologized in translation). TV and movie versions of his "Yuki-Onna," "The Story of Mimi-nashi Hoichi," "Mujina" and other spectral tales tingle spines in ghostly August. And the intelligentsia opine that Hearn not only popularized old Japanese stories as literature, but also discovered the "Japanese soul" -- as if this had not already been revealed by the Manyoshu poets before the eighth century.

Much as Basho's haiku are etched in stone at the spots of their inspiration, Hearn's writings continue to validate his places of residence in Japan. Matsue (Shimane Prefecture), Kumamoto, Yaizu (Shizuoka Prefecture) and Tokyo have each held Hearn-related events in this centennial year of his passing on Sept. 26. Such validation helps pillar tourism, especially in Matsue, which alone had the foresight to preserve one of Hearn's homes.

Apropos Hearn's "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," Basil Hall Chamberlain, the Meiji Era Japanologist, wrote: "Never perhaps was scientific accuracy of detail married to such tender and exquisite brilliancy of style."
articles about Hearn from the Japan Times of 2004


Another article about Matsue and Hearn,
Japan Times July 22, 2005

... in his adopted country, Lafcadio Hearn is lionized among writers in the English language with the same kind of reverence normally accorded to authors of the ilk of Melville and Shakespeare.

It's a little hard to go about Matsue and not be aware of its most famous former foreign resident. A Hearn Square awaits the visitor at the station. Images of the man abound in the city. His thoughts about Matsue are displayed everywhere on plaques. He is prominent in the souvenir shops. Visitors drink Hearn sake. They drink Hearn beer. One of the more atmospheric spots in town goes by the name of (surprise, surprise) Hearn-dori.

Hearn was certainly romantically inclined, and he saw the castle as a "veritable architectural dragon, made up of magnificent monstrosities -- a dragon moreover full of eyes set at all conceivable angles." Quite. A structure within the castle grounds that Hearn never did see, since it dates from 1903, the year before his death and long after his departure from Matsue, is the Local History Museum.

This building was constructed specially for the Meiji Emperor on the off chance that he might drop by for a visit. But he never did. Not seeing this elegant white structure, executed in that engaging East-meets-West style of a century ago, though, was very much the emperor's loss. Even if he had seen it, one building that the emperor would have been wholly indifferent to is the house where Hearn lived. Though Hearn spent just 15 months in this city [before Matsue's severe winters got the better of him and he moved to warmer Kumamoto] this was clearly the place in Japan that made the greatest impression on him.


Lafcadio Hearn at Matsue

Hearn arrived in 1890 and spent fifteen months in Matsue, ‘province of the gods’. in a classic case of what anthropologists call the honeymoon period, he was enchanted by everything he saw. . . .
source : www.greenshinto.com


Like all of Lafcadio Hearn's writings, "A Japanese Miscellany" is full of wandering musings, thoughts and observations of Japan freshly under the Meiji Restoration, when hints of old Japan could still be seen in the life of the people. All of the stories are fairly short, and reflect Hearn's love of folk magic, ghosts and moonlight themes.

In this book, Hearn writes about
"Otokichi's Daruma" , a tiny Buddhist god of luck.
source : www.amazon.com


I have seen a picture of Otokichi and his Daruma on TV, but today,
I finally could locate in the Internet.
Hearn's photo album showed a picture of Otokichi and his Daruma Collection on the shelf. Otokichi introduced him to the secret of painting one eye for Daruma and the next one when the wish was granted.

小泉八雲のエッセイ "音吉の達磨"、あの眼なし達磨が此の寺,群馬の名刹小林山達磨寺,で生まれ全国の民俗となった。

source : crazykatsu

.. .. .. .. .. 「乙吉の達磨 Otokichi Daruma」
二階茶の間 The living room on the first floor.

小泉八雲避暑の家 - The house of Koizumi Yagumo
- Reference =

『乙吉さん-子供たちが達磨さんの左の眼をたたきつぶしたのですか』 へい、へいと云って乙吉は、上等の鰹を俎板(まないた)の上に取り上げながら、気の毒そうに笑いを含んで云った。 『はじめから左の眼はございません』 『こんな風に作ってあったのですか』と、私は、また訪ねた…。 八雲はこどもの頃、友達の過失で左眼を失い義眼だった。 この山口乙吉(焼津城之越)の家に滞在していた時にこんな話がある。

Since Hearn suffered from bad eyes and had only one eye to see, he took a special interest in the custom of painting one eye for a Daruma. He was specially fond of this story he heard from Yamaguchi Otokichi in the town of Yaezu.


About the Daruma Memorial Day

Anybody who has read “Otokichi’s Daruma” in A Japanese Miscellany will know that the good man Otokichi set a red image of Daruma on the kamidana or Shelf of the Gods, in his shop. Hearn observed:

…But I was rather startled by the peculiar aspect of Otokichi’s Daruma, which had only one eye, – a large and formidable eye that seemed to glare through the dusk of the shop like the eye of a great owl. It was the right eye, and was made of glazed paper. The socket of the left eye was a white void.

- snip-
Mrs Hearn once said that it was one of the greatest delights of his life at Otokichi’s every year, to create the left eye of Daruma with his generous payment on the evening of his departure.


Fujieda Daruma and Lafcadio Hearn

三代目・作太郎が張子だるまを作り始めた明治30年以降、当時志太地区唯一のだるま作者だったこともあり、藤枝だるまは販路をのばし有名な虚空蔵尊のだるま市や清水寺のだるま市で売られた。 焼津の魚屋である山口乙吉は出回り始めた藤枝だるまを恐らく虚空蔵尊のだるま市で、明治31年に買ったと考えられている。 

そのだるまがたまたま乙吉の家に滞在していた文豪・小泉八雲(ラフカディオ・ハーン)の目に留まることになり、八雲はだるまに願掛けして目入れをする日本の風習を知ることになった。 八雲のこの時の体験は小説『乙吉の達磨』のなかに書かれることになった。 


The family of Otokichi bought one of these Fujieda Daruma at a New Year Fair at the Shimizu Temple. It was a token for good luck in fishing at Yaezu, a port town. Hearn realized the character for EIGHT 八 painted for the eyebrows of Daruma (seven times down, eight times up) . 八 Eight is used in the Japanese name of Hearn, eight clouds, Yakumo 八雲.
Later at Yaezu (Yaizu) this Daruma was known as "Yakumo Daruma" or "Otokichi Daruma".


Daruma with ears (mimitsuki Daruma)
Daruma like a pumpkin (kabocha Daruma) and our
Yakumo Daruma

. Folk Toys from Shizuoka .



edited by Hayato Tokugawa, VOLUME I and II

Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan is regarded as Lafcadio Hearn’s seminal work with regard to Old Japan and things Japanese: the first popularly published book that told the West, in beautiful language, of the wonders that he saw there. These two volumes truly gave the West its first glimpses of a part of the world and a country of which little was known, but that fascinated almost everyone.
In Volume One of The Annotated Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, in addition to a brief biography of Lafcadio Hearn and an explanation of his literary style, necessary I think, in order to understand a man who lived one of the strangest lives of any American author and who loved Japan deeply, we have the opportunity to explore, right along with Hearn, what are now some of the most popular tourist attractions of Japan, but at a time long before they ever became destinations for sightseers. We are given the opportunity to share the thrill of his first days in Japan and his images of new places and things, many of which no longer exist today.
As he tours about Yokohama and Kamakura, and then later moves westward to the city of Matsue in Izumo, he tells us of Japan’s people, its culture, its traditions, its mysteries, and its gods, sharing with us his own special perceptions, appreciation, and love for what he saw. He goes even further than that, taking the reader to places never before (at least at that time) seen by a foreigner; such places as Kitzuki, the most ancient Shinto shrine in Japan, the mysterious “Cave of the Children’s Ghosts,” and completely unfamiliar towns and villages on the west coast of the Japanese Sea.
Hearn concludes this volume with a marvelous essay on a uniquely Japanese phenomenon, that of Shinju, or the suicide of star-crossed lovers, followed by a treatment of many of the traditions of Japanese romance, founded in both Buddhism and Shinto. The author’s last essay turns out to be well worth the wait: a delightful collection of Japanese legends and lore on of all things, the mysterious, fanciful fox — kitsune — both informative and fun for any student of Japanese folklore.
We hope you enjoy this new profusely illustrated and augmented presentation of Volume I of Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, and find it some of the best of Lafcadio Hearn.

In Volume Two of The Annotated Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan,
as in Volume One, we have the opportunity to explore Japan right along with Hearn; however this time, the locations are not those destined to become popular tourist attractions, but rather islands, towns, and villages, on the west coast of Japan, the Japanese sea, which still remain relatively unknown to outsiders and even to many Japanese. Along the way, he tells some “ghostly” stories and describes many of the old-fashioned customs and beliefs of the people he finds there.
But even before these travels and tales begin, he invites us into the garden at his home on Kitabori-cho in Matsue, just a few streets northwest of a hill where stands Matsue Castle, and which has been lovingly preserved by the people of the city and opened to the public. There we are treated to a tour and an explanation of some of the basics of Japanese ornamental gardening, an introduction to some of the creatures that inhabit his yard, along with some wonderful old stories.
Hearn then moves on to a very informative essay on Shinto, a primer of sorts, and then provides us with a comparative look at both Japanese Buddhism and Shinto, and how both religions approach their respective esteems for the dead.
If you have ever been intrigued by the hairstyles of Japanese women, particularly those seen in the old ukiyo-e prints and antique photographs, Lafcadio Hearn next takes us on a tour de force of the myriad of Meiji styles and their complexities, and tells a “ghostly” story involving his wife’s own hairstylist and a head which, detached from its body, travels about on its own.
During the Meiji era, education was paramount to Japan’s future positon in the world and Lafcadio Hearn was part of the process of bringing the youth of the nation first into the late 19th century and then the twentieth. With the fondest of memories, Hearn tells us of his early days as a teacher in Matsue and introduces us to some of his favorite pupils in a way that is both endearing and humorous; yet, ultimately tragic.
He then changes direction, introducing the reader to two special Japanese festivals, that of the New Year and another which follows a month later, Setsubun; at the same time he introduces us to some fascinating, if not so benevolent, spirits associated with them. He then moves on to tell us a bit about Japanese dancing girls, geisha, and concludes that chapter with a touching story of a renowned dancer from the past.
Later we are treated to a discussion of the fascinating concept of multiple souls in one person, and a winter visit to some ghosts, goblins, and Japanese Hell — Jogoku.
Our visit with Hearn concludes with a serious essay on the meaning of the (then) seemingly omnipresent smile of the Japanese people and then makes some ominous predictions for Japan’s future, followed by his farewell to Matsue; which was marked by love and respect from his students and the town; yet, again was marred by tragedy, and described as only he could express it.
- source : amazon.com


Lafcadio Hearn in Japanese Costume
Sekino Junichiro


Lafcadio Hearn and Haiku
by Cor van den Heuvel

In A Japanese Miscellany (1901), he says of the twentyeight dragonfly haiku he has just translated:

Of course these compositions make but slight appeal to aesthetic sentiment: they are merely curious for the most part. But they help us to understand something of the soul of the elder Japan. The people who could find delight, century after century, in watching the ways of insects, and in making such verses about them, must have comprehended, better than we, the simple pleasure of existence.

They could not, indeed, describe the magic of nature as our great Western poets have done; but they could feel the beauty of the world without its sorrow, and rejoice in the beauty, much after the manner of inquisitive and happy children.

A more positive and consistently expressed insight into the value of haiku is the following passage from an essay “Bits of Poetry” that appeared in Hearn’s In Ghostly Japan (1899):

The common artprinciple of the class of poems under present consideration is identical with the common principle of Japanese pictorial illustration. By the use of a few chosen words the composer of a short poem endeavors to do exactly what the painter endeavors to do with a few strokes of the brush—to evoke an image or a mood—to revive a sensation or emotion.

And the accomplishment of this purpose—by poet or by picturemaker—depends altogether upon capacity to suggest, and only to suggest. A Japanese artist would be condemned for attempting elaboration of detail in a sketch intended to recreate the memory of some landscape seen through the blue haze of a spring morning, or under the great blond light of an autumn afternoon. Not only would he be false to the traditions of his art: he would necessarily defeat his own end thereby.

In the same way a poet would be condemned for attempting any completeness of utterance in a very short poem: his object should be only to stir the imagination without satisfying it. So the term ittakkiri—meaning “all gone,” or “entirely vanished,” in the sense of “all told”—is contemptuously applied to verses in which the verse-maker has uttered his whole thought;—praise being reserved for compositions that leave in the mind the thrilling of a something unsaid.

Like the single stroke of a temple-bell, the perfect short poem should set murmuring and undulating, in the mind of the hearer, many a ghostly aftertone of long duration”
(pp. 313-14).

Read a long essay here:


More links about Hearn

Search Google pictures gallery for Lafcadio Hearn portrait


Read stories from Hearn himself

My First Romance
Fuji-No-Yama, 1898 (ascent of Mount Fuji)
Kwaidan, 1904 (some traditional Japanese ghost stories)
The Story of Mimi-Nashi-Hôïchi
Yuki-onna (at Steve Trussel's Hearn home page)
Ubazakura (at Steve Brown's Hearn home page)
At a Railway Station, from Kokoro (1896), thanks to Steve Brown
Louisiana College has a good home page with a short biography.


juuyaku o ikete Hearn no fujin no ma

Juuyaku is arranged
in the room
Mrs. Hearn used

source : shirawobi Shimane
juuyaku 十薬, dokudami (Houttuynia cordata)


Venceslau de Moraes
a Portuguese writer contemporary of Hearn,
who lived also 30 years in Japan, from 1898 to 1929, and married O-Yone, a Japanese lady from Tokushima.

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Lafcadio Hearn and Wenceslau de Moraes in Japan
Wenceslau de Moraes

Moraes first came to Japan in August, 1889. In 1893, as second in command at Macao, he visited Nagasaki, Kobe and Yokohama to purchase weapons, and again each year for the same purpose through 1897. With a Portuguese consulate soon to be established in Kobe, Moreas showed interest in the post. But during his 1898 annual visit to Japan, he was relieved of his duties in Macao and ordered to return to Portugal. Soon, however, through the efforts of friends at home, he was back in Japan, in Kobe, as consular agent at the deputy consulate in Kobe-Osaka. In 1899, the office was elevated in status to consulate, and Moraes became the first consul.

Moraes avoided the foreign community in Kobe, preferring to visit temples and shrines. He began living with a woman, Yone Fukumoto, in 1900. With her the next year, he made his first visit to Tokushima, her home, where Moraes would eventually die.

As consul, Moraes was responsible for the Portuguese pavilion at the Fifth Domestic Industrial Exposition in 1903. With the cooperation of Portuguese producers and merchants, he exhibited wine and olive oil, and generally helped acquaint the Japanese with his country.

In 1910, a military revolt ended Portugal’s monarchy and a republic was proclaimed. When remittances to the consulate were disrupted, Moraes used his own money to try to bring it through the hard times. In 1912, Yone passed away. The following year Moraes resigned as consul general and moved to Tokushima. There he focused on writing, living with a woman named Koharu Saito, with whom he had a son, Asaichi, in 1915. But Koharu died the next year, and Asaichi in 1918. Though alone and lonely, Moraes literary output did not suffer. He continued to send manuscripts to Portugal for publication.

At home on the evening of June 30, 1929, having drunk too much, Moraes stumbled, fell to the floor, struck something, and died.
source : www.kufs.ac.jp/toshokan


surechigau jitan no kaori yakumo no ki

passing the scent
of Gitanes
Yakumo’s Day

Nakamura Miyoko
Tr. Fay Aoyagi


. Yakumo 八雲 "Eight Clouds" in Japanese Legend .
and the first Waka poem

- #yakumo #hearn #koizumi #matsue -



Unknown said...

I grown up in Shizuoka prefecture.
So well known about Yaezu and Fujieda, I am very pleased to hear the story of Daruma of this district.

thank you.

anonymous said...

Lafcadio Hearn, the American expatriate and naturalized Japanese citizen who expounded on the spirit of haiku. In his 1899 book, In Ghostly Japan, he explains that the best haiku “leave in the mind the thrilling of a something unsaid. Like the single stroke of a temple-bell, the perfect short poem should set murmuring and undulating, in the mind of the hearer, many a ghostly aftertone of long duration” (155). Two years later, in A Japanese Miscellany, he adds, “Almost the only rule about hokku, —not at all a rigid one, —is that the poem shall be a little word-picture, —that it shall revive the memory of something seen or felt, —that it shall appeal to some experience of sense” (97-98). Haiku, Hearn suggests, requires a different sort of reading than the English verse of his time: its unspoken spaces ask its readers to muse, to remember, to connect to personal experience . . . to feel.

David Lanoue


News said...

Matsue museum opens Hearn exhibit
MATSUE, Shimane Pref. — A museum in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, kicked off a yearlong exhibition Sunday to follow the footsteps of naturalized Japanese writer Lafcadio Hearn, also known as Yakumo Koizumi, through photographs.

Born to an Irish father and Greek mother in 1850, Hearn arrived in Japan in 1890 and married a Japanese woman in Matsue, where he lived for a while. He introduced Japan's traditional culture to the world before passing away in 1904 at the age of 54.

The exhibition at the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum presents modern photos of scenes depicted by Hearn in his 1894 travelogue "Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan," taken by Toshinobu Takashima, a photographer from Shimane Prefecture.


Gabi Greve said...

The Legend of Tchi-Niu
Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904)

In the quaint commentary accompanying the text of that holy book of Lao-tseu called Kan-ing-p’ien may be found a little story so old that the name of the one who first told it has been forgotten for a thousand years, yet so beautiful that it lives still in the memory of four hundred millions of people, like a prayer that, once learned, is forever remembered.


Gabi Greve said...

Ubazakura うば桜 / 姥桜 Cherry-tree of the Milk-Nurse

KWAIDAN: Stories and Studies of Strange Things

Gabi Greve said...

“Shinkoku is the sacred name of Japan. Shinkoku, the Country of the Gods; and of all Shinkoku, the most holy ground is the land of Izumo.” These lines are from Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan by Lafcadio Hearn, the peripatetic nineteenth-century author whose many books and articles contain precious records of a traditional Japan on the cusp of industrialization and modernization.

Hearn arrived in Japan in 1890 and settled in Matsue, a castle town not far from Izumo Taisha. He wrote lovingly of what he called “the Province of the Gods” and was among the first non-Japanese to gain entry to the precincts of one of Shinto’s holiest shrines. He remained in Japan until his death in 1904 and eventually became a naturalized Japanese citizen. He remains a beloved figure in his adopted homeland, best known by his Japanese name, Koizumi Yakumo.
zumo Taisha Shrine: The Ancient Meeting Place of the Gods

Gabi Greve said...

Hearn about the Kappa in Matsue
Shrine Kawako no Miya 川子の宮
in Kawachi, Matsue / 河内村 Kawachimura

Gabi Greve said...

Lafcadio Hearn and Jizo Bosatsu

Text by Lafcadio Hearn. Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan (1894)
Photos by Ojisanjake More Glimpses of Unfamilar Japan (2009)

Gabi Greve said...

Lefkada’s Hearn: Europe reclaims its literary ‘lost son’

The Greek island of Lefkada, rising from the Ionian Sea south of Corfu, is famed for its white beaches and vertical cliffs from which the poet Sappho is said to have leaped to her death. The island is also claimed as the one of the potential sites of Homer’s Ithaca, home of the great wandering hero Odysseus.

Japan Times

Gabi Greve said...

Mushi no bungaku 蟲の文学 Insect Literature
by Koizumi Yagumo (Lafcadio Hearn)

虫の音楽家 小泉八雲コレクション

Gabi Greve said...

In Ghostly Japan : Chapter 14
Story of A Tengu
By Hearn, Lafcadio

This collection of 14 stories collected by Lafcadio Hearn, contains Japanese ghost stories, but also several non-fiction pieces. Hearn tries to give a glimpse into the customs of the Japanese, by giving examples of Buddhist Proverbs and explaining the use of incense and the nation wide fascination with poetry.