As an interpreter of Japan to the West, Lafcadio Hearn was without parallel in his time. His numerous books about that country were read with a fascination that was a tribute to his keen powers of observation and the vividness of his descriptions. Today, even though Japan has changed greatly from what it was when he wrote about it, his writing is still valid, for it captures the essence of the country - an essence that has actually changed a good deal less than outward appearances might suggest. In a word, the Japanese character and the Japanese tradition are still fundamentally the same as Hearn described.
Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, by Lafcadio Hearn, features several Japanese ghost stories and a brief study on insects. Hearn declares in his introduction, that most of these stories were translated from old Japanese texts (probably with the help of his wife, Setsu Koizumi). He also states that one of the stories - Yuki-onna - was told to him by a farmer in Musashi Province, and this was, to the best of his knowledge, the first record of it.
The Japanese have two kinds of ghosts in their folklore—the spirits of the dead, and the spirits of the living. This classic of Japanese literature invites you to take your choice, if you dare.
In Ghostly Japan collects twelve ghostly stories from Lafcadio Hearn, deathless images of ghosts and goblins, touches of folklore and superstition, salted with traditions of the nation. While some of these stories contain nightmare imagery worthy of a midnight creature feature, others are not ghostly or ghastly at all. "Bits of Poetry" offers an engaging study on verse, and "Japanese Buddhist Proverbs" explains the meaning of several aphorisms based on Japanese cultural references.
Whether you're looking to spot the demons that walk among us, or simply to enjoy the prose of a legendary craftsman, In Ghostly Japan affords countless delights. Stories include:"Fragment" about a young pilgrim who encounters a mountain of skulls"Ingwa-banashi" about a dying wife who bequeaths a rival a sinister legacy"A Passional Karma" about a spectral beauty who returns for her handsome samurai lover
This collection of essays and classic stories set in Japan by Lafcadio Hearn—one of the earliest Westerners to write about Japan—is an essential addition to any collection of Japanese literature.
Shadowings is made up of three parts: "Stories from Strange Books," which presents sex old Japanese tales; "Japanese Studies," in which Hearn explores the lore of his adopted country; and "Fantasies," a group of essays in which he gives free rein to his wide-ranging imagination. All in all, it is a delightful collection of Japanese curiosities and fancies.
A blind musician with amazing talent is called upon to perform for the dead. Faceless creatures haunt an unwary traveler. A beautiful woman — the personification of winter at its cruelest — ruthlessly kills unsuspecting mortals. These and seventeen other chilling supernatural tales — based on legends, myths, and beliefs of ancient Japan — represent the very best of Lafcadio Hearn's literary style. They are also a culmination of his lifelong interest in the endlessly fascinating customs and tales of the country where he spent the last fourteen years of his life, translating into English the atmospheric stories he so avidly collected. Teeming with undead samurais, man-eating goblins, and other terrifying demons, these twenty classic ghost stories inspired the Oscar®-nominated 1964 film of the same name.
This classic collection of Japanese ghost and folk stories is of enormous importance to the field of Japanese studies.
Japanese curios, with sundry cobwebs, excite the curiosity and imagination of a master spinner of tales, and the result is Kotto, another Lafcadio Hearn classic about old Japan. Here Hearn spins tales from old Japanese books to illustrate some strange beliefs. They are only curios, he says laconically, but some of these legends will make your spine tingle and your heart trip faster, like the one about a waterfall called Yurei–Daki, or the Cascade of Ghosts.
The ghosts were as real as their warnings, but a bold woman failed to heed them—a horrible mistake. Hearn could also find in the commonplace the stuff of which imperishable literature is spun. A drop of dew hangs quivering on the bamboo lattice of his study window. Its tiny sphere repeats the colors of the morning—of sky and field and far-off trees, of a cottage with children at play. But much more than the visible world is imaged by that dewdrop: the world invisible, of infinite mystery, is likewise repeated. Buddhism finds in such a dewdrop the symbol of that other microcosm called the Soul.
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