Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Japan, an Attempt at Interpretation” as Want to Read:
Japan, an Attempt at Interpretation
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Japan, an Attempt at Interpretation

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  62 ratings  ·  17 reviews
This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally importan ...more
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published April 30th 2009 by BiblioLife (first published 1904)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Japan, an Attempt at Interpretation, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Japan, an Attempt at Interpretation

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 194)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

He took on the role of the psychologist, sociologist and anthropologist at the same time to write down this book.

Born in Greece, Lafcadio (1850-1904), the son of a Greek mother and an Irish father, had a peculiar life trajectory. From Dublin he went to America at the age of 19. He served as a reporter in New Orleans; his prose-style was both “macabre and vivid”.

(what was he looking at??? you may wonder)

From 1896 till 1903 he lectured at the University of Tokyo. He would become a resident in th
This book is a classic, and deservedly so. A journalist and autodidact, a man free of conventional biases of all sorts, it seems… Hearn lived in Japan for 15 years. He taught there and married there – and brought to bear his exquisitely honed powers of observation and sympathetic insight, and his keen intelligence… to the study of a culture that fascinated him to no end. And yet, though under the spell of Japan, he could see it clearly, as often only an outsider can.

The book is written in the hi
I lived in Japan for years, and even visited Hearn's old house in Shimane-ken, but before now I had never read any of his books. And, capsule review: Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation makes me want to look at some of the others.

The first half of the book is devoted entirely to religious matters, primarily drawing a connection from the practices of the "ancestor cult" to the organization of Japanese society. He draws all the usual connections you would expect from such an association--filial pi
Lafcadio Hearn does a wonderful job of providing a very comprehensive insight into the Japanese culture of the past up till his time (the end of 19th Century).

Academically speaking, this book is a useful ethnography about Japan’s religious and social life throughout its known history. Full of details, anecdotes and personal observations, this is a rare option to look at a world that has already disappeared.

Hearn’s approach is also the typical 19th Century ethnographer/sociologist’s approach and
Mina Soare
Jul 07, 2015 Mina Soare is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mina by: Betrand Russell (The Problem of China)
Japan, An Interpretation shows his dawning realization of the grim sides of the Japanese character, after the cherry-blossom business has lost its novelty. I shall not have much to say about cherry-blossom; it was not flowering when I was in Japan. - Bertrand Russell, The Problem of China
Mar 03, 2010 Laren added it
My father's wife, Takeko, an enigmatic, charming, Japanese aristocrat, gave me this book as if to say,
Here, here's a manual of style so you can understand why you don't understand me. I treasure it more than the pearls she gave me...If you neglect to pour the tea, Takeko apologizes.... Well that's no longer puzzling...of course I look for enchantment everywhere and within this book...which attempts to deconstruct "the underlying strangeness of this world,— the psychological strangeness," I found
Having been recently in Japan, I read this book while on my trip and after it and I found a lot of truth in Hearn's study of Japanese society.

The author relies on the famous Herbert Spencer to explain the sociological aspect of the Japanese and gives a sincere and knowledgeable interpretation of the religious, social, political, and economic reality of these amazing islanders.

The most surprising thing is that this book was written at the beginning of the 20th century and yet you still see the
Daniel Silveyra
If you have a Kindle then get this book, no questions asked. It's free.

If you don't have a Kindle, it becomes a little more difficult to recommend. Essentially, the book is a collection of musings on Japan from an English professor who's lived there for several years.

The magical thing about current-day Japan is that you can still see the ghost-like traces of the way things were in the Meiji era (as here described). Add an extra star to the rating if you're reading this while in Japan.

Hearn is an
Izuzetan pokušaj tumačenja onoga što čoveku sa zapada deluje izuzetno mistično, drugačije i neshvatljivo. Lafkadio Hern na veoma pitak i slikovit način (često koristeći poređenja sa zapadnom čoveku poznatim društvima i društvenim uređenjima) prikazuje celokupnu japansku kulturu. Teško je na 400 stranica sažeti nešto što se hiljadama godina formiralo i krilo od bilo kakvog pogleda i uticaja, ali Hern u tome uspeva.
Ovo je vodič kroz Japan kakvog danas nema, jer nijedno društvo nije moglo da se sp
Greece-born Lafcadio Hearn spent decades of his lifetime in Japan, even marrying a Japanese woman, thus becoming a Japanese citizen by the name of 小泉 八雲 (Koizumi Yakumo). He wrote many books on Japan, especially about its folklore. In this posthumously published book, he takes a closer look at Japan's religious history. How it developed from ancient beliefs into Shintoism, resisted suppression attempts by Buddhism and Christianity and how – despite efforts of westernizing Japan during the era kn ...more
Lee Belbin
One of the first serious insights into Japanese culture by a westerner. Hearn's books (if you can find them) are all a fabulous read.
Simultaneously a product of Hearn's true affection for his adopted country and a clear-eyed accounting of its inherent problems and approaching existential dilemmas.
Liz Wager
Not as much fun as Isabella Bird but quite interesting about shinto, etc.
Outdated, flowery, and Orientalist, but still worth reading.
Oct 12, 2015 Monica marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Monica by: AC
Having AC here is so rewarding! Thanks for pointing this out!
Jan 11, 2011 Dayna is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
VERY much liking this book.
The marked it as to-read
Nov 09, 2015
Jess marked it as to-read
Oct 27, 2015
Carlosg777 marked it as to-read
Oct 27, 2015
Malak Adny
Malak Adny marked it as to-read
Oct 19, 2015
Courtney Umlauf
Courtney Umlauf marked it as to-read
Oct 09, 2015
Cym Coffman-mitch
Cym Coffman-mitch marked it as to-read
Oct 05, 2015
Jucus marked it as to-read
Sep 27, 2015
Giuliana Modesti
Giuliana Modesti marked it as to-read
Aug 23, 2015
Richard Snodgrass
Richard Snodgrass marked it as to-read
Jul 26, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (in Greek: Πατρίκιος Λευκάδιος Χερν, aka Koizumi Yakumo, in Japanese: 小泉八雲) was born in the island of Lefkas (aka Lefkada), Greece. He was a son of an army doctor Charles Hearn from Ireland and a Greek woman Rosa Cassimati (in Greek: Ρόζα Αντωνίου Κασιμάτη). After making remarkable works in America as a journalist, he went to Japan in 1890 as a journey report writer of a mag ...more
More about Lafcadio Hearn...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »