The East-West controversy over the significance and relevance of Lafcadio Hearn as a writer, thinker and interpreter of Japan continues unabated. Not surprisingly, the centenary of his death in 2004 presented an occasion for renewed debate and discussion by both sides of the divide. This volume, edited by one of Hearn’s leading contemporary apologists, in which he is also a significant contributor, presents twenty-two diverse essays drawn from over seventy papers delivered at conferences held in four cities in Japan in 2004, as well as at other international conferences that took place earlier. The contributors are Joan Blythe, John Clubbe, Susan Fisher, Ted Goosen, George Hughes, Yoko Makino, Peter McIvor, Hitobe Nabae, Cody Poulton and Masaru Toda. Their contributions range from Sukehiro Hirakawa’s ‘ A Reappraisal’ to Joan Blythe’s ‘Enduring Value of Lafcadio Hearn’s Tokyo Lectures’.
Born in 1931,
Sukehiro Hirakawa is a doyen of intercultural relations and Professor Emeritus at Tokyo University. Over his long academic career, he has taught in Japan, France, North America, China and Taiwan, and famously, is the Japanese translator of Dante’s
Divine Comedy. Among his extensive writings, is an important contribution to the
Cambridge History of Japan (Vol. 5, 1989), analysing the Western impact and the Japanese response. Most recently in English, he has published
Japan’s Love-Hate Relationship with the West (2005). This current volume on Lafcadio Hearn complements his earlier work
Rediscovering Lafcadio Hearn (1997).
Table of contents
Preface; 1. Lafcadio Hearn, a Reappraisal; 2. What Does His Greek Mother Mean to Hearn, the Japan Interpreter?; 3. Lafcadio’s Nightmares; 4. Hearn and the Sea; 5. Hearn, Interpreter of the Animistic World of the Japanese; 6. Return to Japan or Return to the West? – Hearn’s ‘A Conservative’; 7. Half a Century after Byron – What Did Greece Mean to the Writer Hearn?; 8. Hearn As an American Writer; 9. Image of ‘the Creole Mother’ in Hearn’s Youma; 10. From Folklore to Literature – Hearn and Japanese Legends of Tree Spirits; 11. Hearn and ‘Orpheus’ – His Art of Retelling Stories of Old Japan; 12. Lafcadio Hearn and Yanagita Kunio: Who Initiated Folklore Studies in Japan?; 13. Insect-music: Hearn’s Orphean Song; 14. Hearn’s Romantic Representation of Shinto, the Way of Japanese Gods; 15. Two Springs: Hearn’s and Kyoka’s Other Worlds; 16. ‘Weird Beauty’: Angela Carter and Lafcadio Hearn in Japan; 17. Hearn and the Muse; 18. ‘The Real Birthday of New Japan’ – Lafcadio Hearn’s ‘After the War’; 19. The Image of the Mother in the Work of Hearn; 20. Hearn: Travel-writing and Controversy; 21. Robert Nichols and Lafcadio Hearn: Cultural Politics and English Professors at the University of Tokyo; 22. The Enduring Value of Lafcadio Hearn’s Tokyo Lectures; Bibliography; Notes; List of Contributors; Index