A collection of Japanese ghost stories by Lafcadio Hearn
Pictured above is the cover of a collection of fifteen or so ghost stories compiled and translated by the worldly Lafcadio Hearn, published in 2010 by Fall River Press. Kwaidan in Japanese means "ghost story," and this book was originally published in 1904 as Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. Hearn, who later made Japan his adopted nation, collected these ghost stories together from different texts and scriptures at the beginning of the 20th century. Kwaidan was made into a movie in Japan in 1965 and this text served as the basis—the Criterion Collection released the film on DVD several years ago. My favorite story in both the book and movie is "Hoichi the Earless," which tells of a blind minstrel player who performs for the ghosts of dead nobility unbeknownst to him. His priest friend soon discovers this and paints his entire body with prayers so the ghosts won't be able to see him; unfortunately, though, he forgets to paint Hoichi's ears.