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Japan, an Attempt at Interpretation
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Japan, an Attempt at Interpretation

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  44 ratings  ·  11 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
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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
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
Liz Wager
Not as much fun as Isabella Bird but quite interesting about shinto, etc.
Mar 08, 2011 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.
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Lafcadio Hearn [aka Koizumi Yakumo] was born in Lefkas, Greece. He was a son of an army doctor Charles Hearn from Ireland and a Greek woman Rosa Cassimati. After making remarkable works in America as a journalist, he went to Japan in 1890 as a journey report writer of a magazine. But as soon as he arrived in Yokohama, he quit the job because of a dissatisfaction with the contract. After that, he m ...more
More about Lafcadio Hearn...
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