Lafcadio Hearn, also known as Koizumi Yakumo – 小泉八雲

Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) was an open-minded writer and world-traveller born in Greece and raised in Ireland. He settled in New Orleans from 1877 to 1887 before immigrating to Japan in 1890. The same year, he settled in Matsue as an English teacher. Though he only stayed here for fifteen months, he introduced Matsue and Japan to the Western world through his famous writings. His Former Residence and Memorial Museum are a must-see when you visit Matsue. Hearn is commemorated in various ways throughout Matsue, including monuments, literature study groups, and an annual speech contest. See our Culture section to find out more about Lafcadio Hearn and his ghost stories related to Matsue.

Lafcadio Hearn was one the first Westerners to be granted Japanese citizenship and is best known in Japan under the name Koizumi Yakumo. He took the family name of his wife, Koizumi Setsu, the daughter of a samurai whom he met in Matsue. He took Yakumo (“infinite clouds”) as his first name because of its connection to the Izumo region and Matsue, which he referred to as "the Chief City of the Province of the Gods". He came back to visit the city many times after he moved to other parts of Japan.