The Lafcadio Hearn Reading Performance began in Matsue in 2007. It is performed by a leading Japanese actor, Shiro Sano, and the world-renowned guitarist, Kyoji Yamamoto. A different theme is introduced every year. Now in its 13th year, this fusion of literature and music is an extremely unique performance art and cultural resource.
It has been performed overseas. It was received enthusiastically in Greece, the home of Hearn’s mother, in 2014, and in Ireland, the home of Hearn’s father, in 2015. In recent years, Hearn’s open-minded outlook has been re-evaluated in the context of contemporary society. This reading performance has found a place in this current as a new cultural resource which plays a role in cultural creation activities.
The performance consists of a script from Hearn’s works, created by Sano, who is a Hearn devotee, and guitar music by Yamamoto. While reflecting the subtlety of a delicate spirit, the fusion of literature and music further emphasizes the cadence of the stories. Their performance, which embodies the world of Hearn, is attracting attention for its new method of expression of literature.
The performance also includes a lecture by the folklorist and great-grandson of Lafcadio Hearn, Bon Koizumi. We hope to highlight Hearn’s deep understanding which he used to depict the fundamental cultures of Japan and the USA. while exploring ways to enhance Japanese-American cultural exchange.
In his lifetime, Hearn adopted the role of storyteller and retold over 80 stories. Kwaidan is the representative culmination of his efforts. In Ireland, it was said that Sano’s storytelling was music, and Yamamoto’s music was storytelling. We want the people of the USA to experience this world of profound imagination through Kwaidan, in which Hearn was at his best.
This time, the calligrapher, who has provided the title calligraphy for the reading performance, Nanami Nanasawa, will hold a Ink art performance in New York. We expect the spirit of Japanese calligraphy combined with the spirit of Hearn will resonate in this new performance.
schedule and venues:
Thursday, 24th October, 2019, 7:30pm
Japan Society (Lila Acheson Wallace auditorium)
admission: Japan Society Member $25, Guest $30
presented by Japan Society
Sunday, 27th October, 2019, 2:00pm
Cincinnati Art Museum (Fath auditorium)
Tuesday, 29th October, 2019, 7:00pm
Tulane University (Freeman auditorium)
The 25th anniversary of the friendship cities between Matsue and New Orleans
Bon Koizumi (Lecture, Supervision)
Shiro Sano (Reading, Script)
Kyoji Yamamoto (Music)
The Hearn Society
ORIX Corporation USA (New York performance)
Japan America Society Greater Cincinnati
Japan Research Center of Greater Cincinnati
Hearn Society USA
Japan Society of New Orleans
Embassy of Japan in the United States of America
The Japan World Exposition 1970 Commemorative Fund
Lafcadio Hearn Reading Performance 小泉八雲 朗読のしらべ. 762 likes. 小泉八雲・朗読の夕べ「稀人―彼方より訪れしもの」佐野史郎、山本恭司 Lafcadio Hearn Reading Performance “Maraudo – Visitors from the World Beyond” by Shiro Sano and Kyoji…
Profile of the Performers
Shiro Sano is an actor from Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture.
In 1975, he participated in the establishment of the theatre company, Shakespeare Theatre. In 1980, he moved to the theatre group Jokyo Gekijo, which was led by Juro Kara. After leaving the group, he made his film debut in a leading role in To Sleep So As To Dream (1986), directed by Kaizo Hayashi. In 1992, he played the role of Fuyuhiko, a character who is a “mother’s boy”, in the television drama Zutto anata ga suki datta (TBS). This role became a social phenomenon. In 1999, he made his debut as a director with the movie Karaoke. In 2006, he directed Tsuyu no hito shizuku, a work which featured a montage of Shoji Ueda’s photographs (DVD, 2006, Toei Animation). He has also appeared in films overseas, including The Sun, directed by Alexander Sokurov, and My Way, directed by Kang Je-gyu. He is listed as a producer for Yuki Onna, a story by Hearn, which was directed by the Czech director Jiri Barta.
Sano and Kyoji Yamamoto were classmates at Matsue Minami High School.
Kyoji Yamamoto is a musician from Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture.
He started playing the guitar when he was 15, and entered the Yamaha/Nemu Music Academy. At that time, he was hailed as a genius guitarist, and while still a student, was selected as the lead guitarist and lead vocalist of BOWWOW. At the time of his debut, his tour with KISS and Aerosmith attracted much attention. He has constantly led the Japanese rock scene with his dynamic and powerful sound and guitar technique. He later formed the band VOWWOW, which was based in London and was active in Europe and the USA for around four years. The band was highly rated overseas, and had a chart entry in the UK. It also had a large influence on famous artists from overseas.
In addition to activities with the band, Yamamoto has released a guitar instrumental album, held sessions with jazz fusion musicians, and sung and played acoustically. In recent years, he has been in charge of the music for the reading performance with Shiro Sano, and has produced other artists. With wide-ranging musical experience, he plays an active role on the global music scene.
Bon Koizumi is from Tokyo. He is the great-grandson of Lafcadio Hearn.
He studied Folklore at Seijo University and graduate school, and moved to Matsue in 1987. He explores cultural resources from the perspective of ghost stories and the supernatural, and conducts practical research, which is used in tourism and cultural experiences. He introduces the “open mind” of Lafcadio Hearn to society in places around the world that are associated with Hearn. Along with the actor Shiro Sano and the musician Kyoji Yamamoto, he participates in the Lafcadio Hearn Reading Performance. In July, 2017, he was a recipient of the Foreign Minister’s Commendation for contribution to the cultural exchange between Japan and Ireland. He has published works including Minzoku Gakusha—Koizumi Yakumo (Kobunsha, 1995) and Kwaidan yondaiki—Yakumo no itazura (Kodansha, 2014) He is a member of The Japan P.E.N. Club.
Koizumi is the director of the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum, and the honorary director of the Yaizu Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum. He is also an honorary professor of the University of Shimane Junior College.