By Edited by Sukehiro Hirakawa University of Tokyo

The East-West controversy over the importance and relevance of Lafcadio Hearn as a author, philosopher and interpreter of Japan keeps unabated. no longer strangely, the centenary of his loss of life in 2004 offered an party for renewed debate and dialogue through each side of the divide. This quantity, edited through one in all Hearn s prime modern apologists, during which he's additionally an important contributor, offers twenty-two different essays drawn from over seventy papers added at meetings held in 4 towns in Japan in 2004, in addition to at different foreign meetings that happened prior. The individuals are Joan Blythe, John Clubbe, Susan Fisher, Ted Goosen, George Hughes, Yoko Makino, Peter McIvor, Hitobe Nabae, Cody Poulton and Masaru Toda. Their contributions diversity from Sukehiro Hirakawa s A Reappraisal to Joan Blythe s Enduring worth of Lafcadio Hearn s Tokyo Lectures ."

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The memory of the first two years spent on the Greek island of Leucadia was as beautiful as a dream, and we are not sure if the child had ever bathed in the Ionian Sea before moving to Dublin. It was probably either at Tramore, County Waterford, Ireland, or near Bangor, North Wales, that Hearn learned to swim around the summer 1857 or 58. W. Frost, writes as follows in Young Hearn: The happiest times of these years were spent in North Wales. 4 After having lived in the United States for fifteen years, Hearn felt financially more at ease, and in 1884 he took a long vacation, going from New Orleans to Grande Isle, off the coast of Louisiana, to pass a summer, which is minutely described in Chita published in 1889: Southwest, across the pass, gleams beautiful Grande Isle: primitively a wilderness of palmetto latanier; – then drained, diked, and cultivated by Spanish sugar-planters; and now familiar chiefly as a bathing-resort.

In the Greece of the last century no one believed any more in mythological gods, while in Japan, the ancient beliefs still survived, and the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu-o¯mikami, was worshipped every morning. 22 That discovery was thrilling for Hearn. He was very much attracted by folkloristic details. For example, in Japan the month of October was called, according to the lunar calendar, the month when there are no gods, kan-na-zuki, the gods are absent because at that time all Shinto gods are supposed to assemble in that province of Izumo where Hearn went to teach.

In this age of globalization the existence of peripheral cultures and local religions are being more or less threatened by the move towards worldwide industrialization and Westernization. It is natural that someone like Hearn who had fled from the mainstream of the Western Christian civilization and who was sympathetically interested in marginalized cultures should attract the attention of some Orientals. ’1 This is what Hearn said, and this attitude of Hearn’s is fundamentally sound. In any case, in order to bridge the widening gaps, bifocal approaches will be necessary.

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