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Lafcadio Hearn Files

Lafcadio Hearn Conference July 4—6, 2014

[***Book your tickets to Greece & Lefkada early, and plan to attend this marvellous Symposium***]

Lafcadio Hearn Conference July 4—6, 2014 - Hearn photograph 3

Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo 1850-1904) was born in Greece and brought up in Ireland. Migrating to the United States, where he worked as journalist and translator he eventually reached and settled in Japan. Separated from his parents at an early age he moved around different parts of the world. In his 54 years of life, free from all prejudice, racial or religious, Hearn respectfully comprehended the culture he came across with an open mind.

It is within the scope of this international symposium to amplify Lafkadio’s ‘Open Mind’ precisely from such an open, multilateral, approach through the man’s work, correspondence and lecture papers. We propose that the symposium be held in his birthplace in

Greece, the island of Lefkada.

Lafcadio Hearn was born to Rosa Cassimati (Kytherian Greek) and Charles Hearn (Irish) in Lefkada, Greece, on June 27, 1850. Although separated from his mother at the age of four –never to see her again, his affection towards her and his pride over his Hellenic descent remained unabated throughout his life. Arguably, had it not been for these subconscious roots forming his open-mindedness, given the Hellenic conceptualization of being as a transmigrating soul in a polytheistic universe, he wouldn’t have fathomed so discernibly into the culture of Japan.

Such affinities between Greece and Japan, between west and east, came to be described by Hearn as a Utopia. In his own words:
“We should have to go back to the Greek times for that. Were some great classic scholar, perfectly familiar with the manners and customs of this country, to make a literary Study of the parallel between Greek and Japanese life and thought, I am sure that the result would be as surprising as it would be charming.” (Insects and Greek Poetry)

Phrases in late works of his, such as in ‘The Dream of a Summer Day’ depict, abstractly, his days with Rosa in Lefkada; and his affection for his mother, pouting out in that letter addressed to his brother, James.

Lefkada has decided to inaugurate the ‘Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum’ at the time of the symposium. We deem this project as an excellent opportunity for Lefkada, his own birth-place, to further enhance its comprehension of the man and his legacy.

The theme of the symposium, “The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn” expresses his life and concept of values. In 2009, the art exhibition expressing Hearn’s sprit through art was held in The American College of Greece in Athens for the first time in the world, whose opening attracted some five hundred people. In 2010, another art exhibition, under the same title yet organized by The City of Matsue, was held inside Matsue Castle, impressed 45,000 visitors. The exhibition has since then been held in New York in 2011, in New Orleans in 2012. Public interest and sensitivity towards Lafkadio is steadily rising and spreading.

In view of the above, it is considered rather significant that an international symposium be held, aiming at shedding still more light in Hearn’s open mind, along with further dispersing and promoting interest and attention to Hearn and his work. In his later life, Hearn urged the necessity of ancient Greece. “Those old Greeks, though happy as children and as kindly; were very great philosophers, to whom we go for instruction even at this day. What the world now most feels in need of is the return of that old Greek spirit of happiness and of kindness.” (Insects and Greek Poetry)

Thus, it is deemed appropriate to hold the symposium in Lefkada, the place of his birth and the place where the cultural events were initiated. Should, as decided, the symposium take place in Lefkada, Hellenic and Japanese bonding shall be further reinvented, and reinforced, tending to Lefkadio’s quest and wish for living and thinking in an open-minded world.


International Symposium in Greece to Commemorate the 110th Anniversary of Lafcadio Hearn’s Death

The Open Mind of Lafacdio Hearn:
His Spirit from the West to the East
date: July 4—6, 2014

venue: Lefkada, Greece

Organizer: The Planning Committee for the Memorial Events in Greece to Commemorate the 110th Anniversary of Lafcadio Hearn’s Death

Co-Organizer: Municipality of Lefkada

With The Support of Embassy of Greece in Japan, Embassy of Japan in Greece, The American College of Greece

The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn:
His Spirit from the West to the East
date: July 5—6, 2014
venue: Ionian Blue Hotel
Admission: Free

Hearn’s open mind cultivated in European climates, especially in Greece and Ireland was further developed and enriched to more open spirit through his trips to the U.S., Martinique and Japan. It may be said that the basis of his open mind was formed by his attitude in his childhood to learn and get familiarized with Hellenistic polytheism on his mother's side and the Celtic spiritual world on his father’s side.

The internaional symposium will be held at Lefkada, the place of his birth, in July, 2014, aiming at interpreting Hearn's ‘Open Mind’, focusing how Hearn’s spirit developed by receiving a variety of influences of different cultures in his journey through life.

Saturday, July 5, 10:00-13:50
Memorial Speech
Bon Koizumi (Japan/Ireland/Greece)
Professor, University of Shimane; Great-Grandson of Lafcadio Hearn
The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn — A Spiritual Odyssey from Greece to Japan

Session 1 “The Rediscoveries of the Open Mind”
1. Mari Christine (Japan/USA)
Inter-Cultural Interpreter; Hearn Library Researcher, Toyama University
Lafcadio Hearn’s Open Mind in the Classroom: First Findings of Hearn Lectures in Kumamoto
2. John Moran (Ireland)
Journalist, the Irish Times
The Odyssey of Lafcadio Hearn
3. (A Speaker from Greece)
4. Masayuki Ikeda (Japan)
Professor, Waseda University

What Hearn Is Telling Us Now: Universality and Literature of Retellings
Sunday, July 6, 10:00-13:00
Session 2 “The Developments of the Open Mind”
1. Hariclea Zengos (Greece)
Professor, The American College of Greece
At Home in the World: Transnational Hearn
2. Dimitrios Vassiliadis (Greece)
Professor, University of Athens
Lafcadio Hearn and Buddhism
3. Louis Solo Martinel (France/Martinique)
Instructor, University of Tokyo & Waseda University
Exoticism and Cross-Culturality: On Lafcadio Hearn’s Fantastic Tales
4. Shingo Nagaoka (Japan)
Professor, Shimane University
Greek, Irish and/or British?: Hearn's Immigration to America and his Cultural Identities
5. Paul Murray (Ireland)
Hearn Biographer
Gothic Horror: The Dublin Haunting of Lafcadio Hearn


Welcome Event at The American College of Greece
date: Thursday, July 3
venue: The American College of Greece, Athens, Greece
organized by The American College of Greece

The American College of Greece will present a piano and voice recital with works by Greek composers from the Ionian Islands including Lefkada. Tatiana Papageorgiou, pianist; Zachos Terzakis, tenor.

Lafcadio Hearn Recitation Night in Lefkada — Reading Performance by Shiro Sano & Kyoji Yamamoto
date: Saturday, July 5, 21:00

venue: Open Theatre, Lefkas Cultural Center

This reading performance first started in 2006 by Shiro Sano, an actor born in Matsue. Later Kyoji Yamamoto, a world famous guitarist also from Matsue joined this performance. The combination of recitation by Sano and music by Yamamoto has created a unique atmosphere expressing the world of KWAIDAN by Lafcadio Hearn, which has been attracting the audience. This event has been held late autumn every year since 7 years ago organized by Matsue City. Sano chooses the story to be recited based on a theme and coordinates the event, while Yamamoto adds mystic music created by his guitar. This collaboration has successfully elevated the ‘recitation’ to the realm of art.

We hope this event will provide the audience with an opportunity that they will feel the beauty of Hearn’s works and what he wants to appeal through his works, so that they can find the attraction of Hearn’s literature. We also hope the audience will experience the world of imagination Hearn used to experience through recitation, which he loved all through his life.

Seiwa Bunraku (Japanese traditional puppet show) “Yuki-Onna”
date: Sunday, July 6, 21:00
venue: Open Theatre, Lefkas Cultural Center

Seiwa Buraku is a puppet play (Ningyo Jyoruri) that has been inherited since 150 years ago in Seiwa Village, Kumamoto. The performance has been carried on as a farmers’ Bunraku by the villagers and the heads and the costumes of the dolls have been kept at ‘Bunrakukan’ in the village by a preservation group. This traditional performance has been played as many as 260 times a year. ‘Yuki-onna’ was added to their repertoire as Lafcadio Hearn, the original writer of the story, stayed in Kumamoto for almost 5 years. The script was written by Kazutoshi Hando. We believe people in Greece will enjoy the Japanese traditional performance through this performance.

Opening Ceremony of Lafcadio Hearn Museum
date: Friday, July 4
venue: Lefkas Cultural Center
organized by the Municipality of Lefkada

The museum is planned to be opened in the Cultural Center of the Municipality of Lafkada. Copies of some precious documents related to Hearn’s family including the marriage certificate of Charles and Rosa, the birth and death certificate of Hearn’s brother Robert and the birth certificate of Lafcadio will be exhibited.

Unveiling Ceremony of Masaaki Noda’s “The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn”
Date: Friday, July 4
venue: Lefkas Cultural Center

The unveiling ceremony of ”The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn”, a monument created by Masaaki Noda, a Japanese artist active in New York will be held. The monuments of the same title were erected at the American College of Greece, Athens in 2009 and at the bank of Lake Shinji, Matsue Japan in 2010.

The third monument with the title will be donated by Mr. Noda on the occasion of the opening of Lafcadio Hearn Museum in Lefkada.

Exhibition and workshop
Welcome Reception
date: Friday, July 4
venue: Lefkas Cultural Center
organized by the Municipality of Lefkada


Date: Saturday, July 5—Sunday, July 6
organized by the Municipality of Lefkada
A tour visiting sites related to Hearn.

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