Kwaidan – Lafcadio Hearn

Kwaidan is a book consisting of seventeen incredible and fascinating stories and three non-fiction pieces. I think that those who are fond of Japanese literature and culture should read it immediately. However, even if you are not fond of Japanese literature, you might like these stories, especially the section entitled Studies on Insects.


Kwaidan - Lafcadio Hearn

Kwaidan both surprised me with the strange stories in the first episode and made me like Japan a lot more. I thought these stories would scare me. But I managed to find a different sadness in all of them, let alone fear. Of course, this is all about me, but I still think that readers like me will be saddened as they read about restless souls.

If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it is that every reader will indeed be surprised. The second part of the book, entitled Studies on Insects, became my favourite part. There are three different articles in this section: Butterflies, Mosquitoes and Ants. All three are beautiful than the other, and you can read them over and over again. Lafcadio Hearn wrote a book that is as interesting and intriguing as his life. No matter how unexpected and exciting, this is a book that touches people on many different levels. Enjoy!



Most of the following Kwaidan, or Weird Tales, have been taken from old Japanese books,—such as the Yaso-Kidan, Bukkyo-Hyakkwa-Zensho, Kokon-Chomonshu, Tama-Sudare, and Hyaku-Monogatari. Some of the stories may have had a Chinese origin: the very remarkable “Dream of Akinosuke,” for example, is certainly from a Chinese source. But the story-teller, in every case, has so recolored and reshaped his borrowing as to naturalize it…

One queer tale, “Yuki-Onna,” was told me by a farmer of Chofu, Nishitama-gori, in Musashi province, as a legend of his native village. Whether it has ever been written in Japanese I do not know; but the extraordinary belief which it records used certainly to exist in most parts of Japan, and in many curious forms… The incident of “Riki-Baka” was a personal experience; and I wrote it down almost exactly as it happened, changing only a family-name mentioned by the Japanese narrator.

Lafcadio Hearn

Koizumi Yakumo, born Patrick Lafcadio Hearn, was a Japanese writer of Greek-Irish descent. We remember him for his books about Japanese culture. Especially his collections of legends and ghost stories, such as Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Japanese Literature – A Literary Journey

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