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  • Published: 6 August 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241381274
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $22.99

Japanese Ghost Stories




A selection of Lafcadio Hearn's brilliantly entertaining and eerie ghost stories, regarded as major classics in Japan

In this collection of classic ghost stories from Japan, beautiful princesses turn out to be frogs, paintings come alive, deadly spectral brides haunt the living and a samurai delivers the baby of a Shinto goddess with mystical help. Here are all the phantoms and ghouls of Japanese folklore: 'rokuro-kubi', whose heads separate from their bodies at night; 'jikininki', or flesh-eating goblins; and terrifying faceless 'mujina' who haunt lonely neighbourhoods. Lafcadio Hearn, a master storyteller, drew on traditional Japanese folklore, infused with memories of his own haunted childhood in Ireland, to create these chilling tales. They are today regarded in Japan as classics in their own right.

  • Published: 6 August 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241381274
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $22.99

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Praise for Japanese Ghost Stories

The particular value of Murray's collection is that it leads us in chronological order through a much greater breadth of Hearn's writings on the supernatural in Japan, with ghostly tales selected from 11 of his books ... This book insightfully shows how Hearn filtered Japanese ghostly originals through the prism of his own expansive imagination and traumatized experience to create works that were distinctly, and chillingly, his own

Japan Times

What makes these stories, preserved from ancient times, especially readable today is the preternaturally postmodern form they are given in Hearn's deeply idiosyncratic telling

New Yorker

The overarching mood is of wonder . . . the stories occupy the reverie world our mind projects onto the backs of our eyelids, where the ordinary mingles with the supernatural

The Wall Street Journal

An extraordinary author . . . Paul Murray, a former Irish diplomat, has been hooked since a 1970s posting in Japan. His Penguin compilation includes 34 selections, a chronology of Hearn's peripatetic life, some intriguing background information about the sources of the stories, and a number of evocative woodblock prints. Murray's introduction is exceptionally useful to contextualize the man and his oeuvre, tracing the powerful influence of Irish folktales and ghost stories on Hearn's take on Japanese counterparts

Los Angeles Review of Books

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