Image of Lafcadio Hearn


Lifetime: 1850 - 1904 Passed: ≈ 119 years ago




Greece, Japan

Lafcadio Hearn

Koizumi Yakumo, born Patrick Lafcadio Hearn, was a writer. He worked in the United States before moving to Japan and becoming Japanese. He was of Greek-Irish descent. He wrote about Japanese culture, especially his collections of legends and ghost stories, such as Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. In the United States, he is also known for his writings about New Orleans, based on his decade-long stay there. 


Hearn was born on the Greek island of Lefkada to a Greek mother and an Irish father, after which a complex series of conflicts and events led to him being moved to Dublin, where he was abandoned first by his mother, then his father, and finally by his father's aunt (who had been appointed his official guardian). At the age of 19, he emigrated to the United States, where he found work as a newspaper reporter, first in Cincinnati and later in New Orleans. From there, he was sent as a correspondent to the French West Indies, where he stayed for two years, and then to Japan, where he would remain for the rest of his life. 


In Japan, Hearn married a Japanese woman with whom he had four children. His writings about Japan offered the Western world a glimpse into a largely unknown but fascinating culture at the time. 

Books by Lafcadio Hearn

Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things Cover image

Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things

Horror Fiction
Supernatural Ghost Story Short Works Legends

Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, often shortened to Kwaidan ("ghost story"), is a 1904 book by Lafcadio Hearn that features several Japanese ghost stories and a brief non-fiction study on insects. It was later used as the basis for a 1...

Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation  Cover image

Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation

History Non-Fiction Religion
Ancient Tradition Christianity Japan Beliefs Historical Buddhism Folk lore

In this posthumously published book, he takes a closer look at Japan's religious history: How it developed from ancient beliefs into Shintoism, resisted suppression attempts by both Buddhism and Christianity and how – despite efforts to westernise Ja...

Kokoro: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life  Cover image

Kokoro: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life

Essays Travel
Tradition Life Short Works Geography Emotion Japan

"The papers composing this volume treat of the inner rather than of the outer life of Japan, for which reason they have been grouped under the title Kokoro (heart). Written with the above character, this word signifies also mind, in the emotional sen...

Some Chinese Ghosts Cover image

Some Chinese Ghosts

Revenge Justice Ghost Story Betrayal Folk lore

This book has become a classic in the horror genre, providing a unique insight into Chinese folklore and the supernatural. Hearn's extensive knowledge of Chinese culture and language allowed him to delve deep into the country's traditional ghost sto...

Fantastics and Other Fancies Cover image

Fantastics and Other Fancies

Fantasy Fiction
Spirit Imaginative Literature Skills Experiences Legends Mortality

This is a captivating collection of imaginative and enchanting tales written by the renowned author Lafcadio Hearn. Originally published in 1893, this literary gem continues to mesmerize readers with its timeless allure. Lafcadio Hearn, a prominent...

Gleanings in Buddha Fields Cover image

Gleanings in Buddha Fields

Fiction Essays
Love History Nature Culture Society Heritage Life Short Works Japan

"A journey into the soul of Japan through the lens of Buddhism." In a land of ancient temples and sacred texts, a writer seeks to understand the essence of Buddhism. Gleanings in Buddha Fields is a collection of essays and sketches by Lafcadio Hear...

Kottō : being Japanese curios, with sundry cobwebs Cover image

Kottō : being Japanese curios, with sundry cobwebs

Kottō contains 20 Japanese stories, collected from different sources and translated by Lafcadio Hearn. The types of stories in this collection are widespread: There are old ghost stories Hearn is best known for (The Legend of Yurei-Daki), his own ob...

In Ghostly Japan Cover image

In Ghostly Japan

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 th...

Exotics and Retrospectives Cover image

Exotics and Retrospectives

Lafcadio Hearn, born 1850 in Greece, went to Japan when he was 40 years old and became a Japanese citizen only 6 years later. His writings about Japan from the beginning of the Meiji era, when the country was just opening to the West, remain among th...

Shadowings Cover image


This is another of the popular books that Lafcadio Hearn wrote on various Japanese subjects. The first part "Stories From Strange Books" is a collection of Japanese tales about ghosts and strange occurrences. In the second part "Japanese Studies", He...

Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan: First Series Cover image

Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan: First Series

Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan is a collection of essays by Lafcadio Hearn detailing his first impressions of the country he found so fascinating he decided to stay there for the rest of his life. In these essays and recollections he expresses his cu...