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Lafcadio Hearn was a truly international figure in the late 19th century. Having been born in Greece, he spent time in Ireland, Cincinnati, New Orleans, the French West Indies, and then finally (and most importantly for us) Japan.

His most famous work is called Kwaidan which transliterates 怪談(かいだん) kaidan (ghost story) according to his Japanese wife's dialect. It is fitting since the sound "kwai" reminds us of "kowai" (scary).

The book is a collection of Japanese ghost stories he collected from old Japanese texts and by word of mouth. While written in English, these stories have greatly influenced not only foreigners' perception of Japan but also the Japanese themselves. It seems, Hearn was the first to record Yuki Onna, one of the most famous traditional Japanese tales.

Makoto+ Shogun members get access to the entire audiobook (in English) of Kwaidan (minus the insect studies), but here is one of the shorter stories about a cherry tree that blooms every year on a singular winter day.

Jiu-Roku-Zakura

Click the three vertical dots to the right to download the MP3


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