In Ghostly Japan: Spooky Stories with the Folklore, Superstitions and Traditions of Old Japan (Tuttle Classics) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2005/1/15
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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
Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) was born on the Greek island of Lefkas, the son of an Anglo-Irish surgeon in the British army and a Greek mother. After his parent's divorce when he was six, he was brought up in Dublin by a great aunt. At the age of nineteen, he went to America, eventually ending up in New Orleans as a newspaper reporter. His flight from Western materialism brought him to Japan in 1890, where he worked for an English newspaper, the Kobe Chronicle, and taught in various schools. In 1896, he began teaching English literature at Tokyo Imperial University, a position he held until 1903, and at Waseda University. Hearn married a samurai's daughter, Koizumi Setsu, became a Japanese citizen and a Buddhist and changed his name to Koizumi Yakumo. At the young age of 54, he died of a heart attack. Hearn's search for beauty and tranquility, for pleasing customs and lasting values, made him a confirmed Japanophile. His keen intellect, poetic imagination, and wonderful clear style permitted him to penetrate to the very essence of things Japanese. He became the great interpreter of things Japanese to the West. Hearn's most famous work is a collection of lectures entitled Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation (published posthumously in 1905). His other books on Japan include Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan (1894), Out of the East (1895), Kokoro (1896), Gleanings in Buddha Fields (1897), Exotics and Retrospectives (1898), Shadowings (1900), A Japanese Miscellany (1901), and Kwaidan (1904).
I did not want another book about japanese traditions, and the description makes is sound as just another book on old western stories greatly interpreted, but it is not. If you care about Hearns thoughts as a japanologist then you get what you want, otherwise find another book and save yourself the tedium.