Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), also known as Koizumi Yakumo after gaining Japanese citizenship, was an author, best known for his books about Japan. He is especially well-known for his collections of Japanese legends and ghost stories, such as Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. Lafcadio Hearn was born in 1850 of Irish-Greek parentage on one of the Ionian Islands and as a youth was educated in France and England. In 1869 he went to the United States, where he meagerly supported himself by journalism and the writing of books, with French, Creole, and Oriental backgrounds. He worked on newspapers in New York, Cincinnati, and New Orleans, traveled to the French West Indies for a New Orleans newspaper, where he wrote several books recording his impressions and travels.
The flight from Western materialism which characterized Hearn's life led him, in 1890, to Japan, which he found so attractive that he decided to spend the rest of his life there. Hearn taught in the Matsue Middle School in Shimane Prefecture where he met his wife, Koizumi Setsuko, the daughter of an Izumo samurai family; in the Kumamoto High School in Kyushu and as a lecture of English at the Imperial University of Japan, Tokyo from 1896 to 1903. He became a Japanese citizen, taking his wife's family name, Koizumi or "small spring," as a surname, and Yakumo or "eight clouds" as a given name.
His last years were filled with the bitterness of disillusionment, for he found his adopted country embracing the very materialism from which he had fled; he died in 1904 and was buried in the Zoshigaya cemetery in Tokyo.
All photos here are Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum (Matsue)