Aleph

Monday, May 08, 2006

"He created an illusion and lived his days and nights within its confines. That illusion was his Japan. He found in Japan the ideal coupling of the cerebral and the sensual, mingled and indistinguishable, the one constantly recharging the other and affording him the inspiration to write.

He came at a time when virtually all foreigners were here to instruct, pontificate and lord themselves over the Oriental upstart; yet he himself came solely to learn, to fossick, to discover what his temperament had taught him was beautiful and potent in the human spirit. Fresh off the ship in 1890, he wrote of the Japanese to his friend and subsequent biographer Elizabeth Bisland, "I believe that their art is as far in advance of our art as old Greek art was superior to that of the earliest European art-groupings. We are barbarians! I do not merely think these things: I am as sure of them as of death. I only wish I could be reincarnated in some little Japanese baby, so that I could see and feel the world as beautifully as a Japanese brain does..."

Lafcadio Hearn: interpreter of two disparate worlds from Japan Times


1:31 AM
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