In Ghostly Japan: A Review

In Ghostly JapanIn Ghostly Japan by Lafcadio Hearn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

More a philosophical and spiritual musing on the supernatural stories of Japan than a collection of ghost stories, In Ghostly Japan by Lafcadio Hearn is beautifully written and wonderfully thought-provoking.

The text steers heavily into the doctrines of Buddhism, but with a clear, Western interpretation and consideration. Despite not totally living up to its name (think more anecdotes, rather than actual ghost stories), In Ghostly Japan is still worth a read for its cultural relevance, as well as Hearn’s unique and powerful imagery.

There are a couple of short ghost stories in the collection, but most lend themselves to ‘impressions’ of ghosts rather than full-on haunting, so if that is what you are looking for, you won’t find it here. As well, some background in the language of culture of Japan will greatly increase your enjoyment, as there are not enough footnotes or translations of certain pivotal words (like sen for money) to make the work abundantly clear. Also, as I mentioned, the book leans on Buddhism for most if its readings, so be aware of that going in.

A book I would happily pick up for a second or third reading.

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