Wandering Ghost

Wandering Ghost: The Odyssey of Lafcadio Hearn is a biography of the journalist and writer who eventually became a Japanese citizen, and who wrote so many books about the country before his death in 1904. For someone who witnessed Japan’s passage into the modern age, and did so much to inform the West about it, Hearn is strangely absent from college reading lists. His name only cropped up once in my entire university career, and that was in a folktale that would have raised a chuckle from Hearn himself. The ghost of Lafcadio Hearn is used to scare young undergraduates in Japanese, to warn them of the dangers of benevolent racism, and to prevent them from dying, as he is alleged to have done, from a broken heart when Japan failed to live up to expectations.
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