DISCOVER ANOTHER JAPAN SAN'IN Vol.2
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怪談KwaidanJapanese Ghost StoriesMimi-Nashi-HoichiAbout theIntroduction to the KwaidanHe moved to Dublin, Ireland, his father’s homeland from the age of two. His mother who was born in Greece couldn’t adjust to the different climate or culture, so she returned to Greece when Yakumo was 4.After the departure of his mother, he lived with his great-aunt and experienced ghostly hallucinations frequently.Especially the terrifying experience when he met Lady Jane who had a completely flat face with no eyes or nose (called Nopperabo in Japanese). This gave him an idea for the retelling of the story of Mujina set in Kwaidan. He particu-larly liked fairy tales or ghost stories told by his nanny and his lifetime fascination with folklore began from here.Later, he immigrated to the US and married Mattie Foley, a lady of mixed race working as a cook at the same boarding house. They bonded over stories about the spiritual world and her shamanistic abilities. However, the relationship didn’t last long, and they separated after three years.Mattie still gave Yakumo great influence for his future creations, especially about the life of people living at the bottom of society and stories of ghosts with a slave’s grudge. Also, by experiencing New Orleans, Martinique-Creole culture, his Open Mind grew to accept cultural diversity without prejudice.After coming to Japan as an English teacher at Shimane Prefectural Common Middle School he traveled around San’in, experiencing the region with all five senses. The mysterious local stories told by his partner Setsu, who he met in Matsue were always well received. He worked hard to retell the folk stories of building Matsue Castle and ghost stories about the castle town. Retelling, which is a tech-nique that inspires the old folklores or stories with new literary soul, shows the true worth of Yakumo’s literature.At Amidaji-temple, which was built to mourn the Taira clan that lost the battle of Dan-no-ura against the Minamoto clan, there was a blind man named Hoichi. He was famed for his skill in playing the biwa (a kind of four-stringed lute). One night the spirit of a dead Taira clan member asked him for a recitation. He played the biwa and wove a tale about the battle of Dan-no-ura, whereupon he heard many voices sobbing around him. He was then asked to return and play the biwa and give a recitation for six more nights. JikininkiMuso Kokushi, a monk of the Zen sect lost his way in the mountains. An old priest in hermitage, who he had chanced upon, directed him to a small village. The village headman kindly received Muso; howev-er, the headman died that very night. When Muso was chanting a sutra in front of his dead body, a dim ghost appeared and ate it. A Dead SecretAt a certain house, the ghost of a woman who died in that house happened to appear. A monk was asked to help appease her and drive her from the dwelling. He found a letter in a chest where she always appeared. After the monk burnt the letter, the ghost ceased appearing.Yuki-OnnaOne night, during a blizzard, a young woodcutter was sleeping in a hut. A beautiful woman in a white kimono suddenly appeared to him. She said “Hark, you shall not tell anyone about this night, otherwise I will kill you” then disappeared. Following winter, the woodcutter met a beautiful young woman named Oyuki and later they were married. However, one evening he slipped his tongue and told her about that night… Rokuro-KubiA long time ago, Kairyu a reformed samurai turned monk was traveling in the mountains. The sun set and just as his thoughts turned to sleeping out in the open a woodcutter appeared. The man told him to stay at his house. There were four other men and women staying there, but when Kairyu woke in the middle of the night he opened the sliding door to find five bodies without heads.MujinaOn the Akasaka Road, in Tokyo, there is a slope Kii-no-kuni-zaka (the name of the slope). One night, a man walked by and found a woman crouching by the moat. He said to her “tell me what the trouble is”, when she turned he saw that she had no eyes, nose or mouth.The stories of the Kwaiden are the best of Yakumo’s works and belong to the genre of retold tales. He rewrote folklore and ghost stories from all over Japan that were narrated by Setsu. Several themes such as love, humanity, wisdom and morals are expressed with connection to the spiritual word through the behaviors of ordinal characters. There are two parts; Kwaidan with 17 well-known stories like Yuki-Onna and Rokuro-Kubi; and Mushikai with 3 essays. Lafcadio Hearn FOREIGN SAMURAIKWAIDANHoughton Mifflin and Co.,1904His heart raced when he was listening to ghost stories at a young age. He was interested in folklores and ghost stories throughout his entire life. 8

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