Lafcadio Hearn: Visions of the Supernatural
(Exhibition: The 170th Anniversary of the Birth of Lafcadio Hearn & the 130th Anniversary of His Arrival in Japan and Matsue)
Saturday June 27, 2020–Sunday June 6, 2021
An entrance to the world of the supernatural
A glimpse behind the scenes in the creation of ghost stories
The source material for many of Lafcadio Hearn’s ghost stories is still available. These original materials are contained in rare books from the Edo (1603 – 1868) to the early Meiji (1868 – 1912) periods. They are held in the Lafcadio Hearn Library, University of Toyama Central Library. (This institution has around 2,400 of Hearn’s books.) These books are key to understanding the secrets behind the creation of Hearn’s retold works.
“Retelling” means to rewrite folklore in a contemporary way. In many of his stories, Hearn fleshed out the originals and expanded them. He also sought to enhance their frightening appeal and artistic effects.
Manuscripts found after Hearn’s death contain illustrations drawn by Hearn of 14 Japanese supernatural beings (Yokai), which he had chosen from Kyoka Hyaku Monogatari. His eldest son, Kazuo, compiled these and published them in Japanese Goblin Poetry (Koyama Shoten). It is interesting to see images of the Yokai which Hearn liked, and that appeared in his works as leading or supporting characters.
We intend to explore behind the scenes of Hearn’s creation of ghost stories and his masterful use of the retelling genre.