Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo)

(June 27th 1850 — September 26th, 1904)

Koizumi Yakumo, born Patrick Lafcadio Hearn and published under the name Lafcadio Hearn, was a Japanese writer of Greek and Irish descent. He is best known for his records of Japanese ghost stories, which were widely published at the turn of the 20th century.

Hearn was born in Greece to a Greek mother and an Irish father. He was moved, sent, and abandoned several times during his childhood. At a young age, he was sent with his mother to Dublin to live with his father’s family while his father was stationed in the British West Indes as part of the military.

When his parents’ marriage fell apart, Hearn was left in the care of an aunt. His mother returned to Greece and his father signed over custody to the aunt by the time he was seven. He was sent to have a Catholic education in France. When he was 16, he badly injured his left eye and suffered from myopia that left him with very poor vision. Before he was seventeen, his aunt became bankrupt and could no longer pay for tuition or his case, so he was sent to live with his aunt’s former maid.

At 19, Hearn was sent to America to work, despite the financial improvement of his family. He spent some time there very poor, and traded menial labour for basic necessities. Eventually, he manged to secure a job at the Cincinnati Daily Enquirer, working as a true crime reporter.

He was eventually fired from that job for marrying an African-American woman, Althea Foley. The marriage was considered illegal in Ohio at the time because of the difference in race. When Hearn and Foley divorced six years later, Hearn moved to New Orleans and began to write about the city.

Eventually, Hearn went the the French West Indies for a brief time before moving to Japan. In Japan, Hearn found his home. He became a Japanese citizen, married a Japanese woman, and began writing about Japanese culture and traditions. He changed his name to Yakumo and took his wife’s last name (Koizumi). The last fourteen years of Hearn’s life were spent in Japan.

Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo) is a book author.

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Japanese Ghost Stories

Victorian Era

Why do I like ghost stories? I like them because I like to hear stories. I like to suspend my disbelief for that instant why I wonder if they could happen. I like them because I like to read stories about a version of reality that is just a bit off-kilter and unexplained. This is a review of Lafcadio Hearn’s Japanese Ghost Stories.