Another Key Text in "Japanese Literature"

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I honestly don't even know how to describe and typify this work. It isn't Japanese because it is by Lafacadio Hearn, a would-be Japanese from ?San Francisco.

Kokoro means "heart" and it includes a number of glimpses into Japanese culture at the time. (read more about Hearn here).

Suffice it to say that this is a major work in the genre. Gutenberg has had some pretty hot properties of recent date.

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I had actually thought Lafcadio Hearn was from the South, but I looked him up, and here's a brief bio: . I once worked at a theatre with a fellow who was developing a one-man play on Hearn's writings and travels, which is why your post caught my eye.

Hearn spent a lot of time in New Orleans.

Actually, I think Hearn is one of the few foreign-born residents whom Japanese society truly accepted as a member. It helped that he took a Japanese name and Japanese citizenship. (And wanted to, unlike the poor Korean folks who were made to give up their real names.) It also helped that he truly worked to preserve and explain Japanese folk culture at a time when the Japanese themselves were often trying to push it under the rug. (It also helps that he's dead....)

There's a lovely webpage somewhere with pictures of his house and garden (which is now a historical site) accompanied by bits of his writing.

Dear MrsDarwin and Maureen,

Thank you. I know a great deal about his work but nearly nothing about the man himself. I think the one article gave me the impression that he spent a good deal of time in San Francisco, but it was evidently misleading.

I enjoyed his work, and he did try to treat the folk tradition with respect. And did a fairly good job of it, as it turns out.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 24, 2005 9:52 AM.

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