“The Legacy of Lafcadio Hearn/ Koizumi Yakumo in America” Webinar Panel Discussion

Join us for EMBCA’s “The Legacy of Lafcadio Hearn/ Koizumi Yakumo in America” Webinar Panel Discussion on Sunday, September 24, 2023 at 2 P.M. EST/ 9 P.M. Athens/Lafkada EEST on the Anniversary of his passing on September 26, 1904 in Okubo,Tokyo. The panel discussion will be Introduced and moderated by Lou Katsos EMBCA’s President. The distinguished panel , in formation , will include Simon J. Bonner, Dean, College of General Studies and Distinguished Professor of Social Studies at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee; Author/ Reporter, and President of the Lafcadio Hearn Society/ USA Steve Kemme; and Author/Poet Nicholas Alexiou, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Hellenic American Project at Queens College.

Lafcadio Hearn/ Koizumi Yakumo was born on June 27, 1850 in Lafkada, Greece, to Rosa Antoniou Kassimatis a Hellenic woman of noble Kytheran lineage and Charles Hearn an Irish born British Surgeon who was stationed in Lafkada. Lafcadio was a pioneering Greek-Irish writer, journalist , and ethnographer who left an enduring legacy in America, and later in Japan, through his unique contributions to literature and cultural understanding. His writings, which continue to captivate readers and scholars alike and his contributions as a literary bridge between cultures remain a testament to his enduring significance in the realms of literature, cross-cultural understanding, and the exploration of the unknown. Although he is famously known by most people for his profound impact on the understanding of Japan and its culture in the late 19th century our panel discussion will focus on his profound legacy in America, and a topic overlooked by some. In the U.S. where he arrived in 1869 he was regarded by some as America’s foremost ethnographic documentarian of the 19th Century (and probably Japan’s also where he lived later and married into an old Samurai family Yakumo eventually becoming a Japanese citizen and where he was/is known as Koizumi Yakumo.).

In America Lafcado made significant contributions to literature through his works set in Cincinnati and New Orleans. In Cincinnati, becoming well known, Hearn's early career began as a journalist and editor, where he honed his storytelling skills. His writings there often focused on local culture, politics, and social issues, providing insightful commentary on the rapidly changing society of the time. Hearn's perceptive observations and vivid descriptions captured the essence of Cincinnati's vibrant communities, architecture, and daily life. One of Hearn’s notable works in Cincinnati is his book "Cincinnati: A Guide to the Queen City and Its Neighbors." published in 1875. Through detailed accounts of neighborhoods, landmarks, and historical events, Hearn provided readers with a captivating insight into Cincinnati's past and present.

However, it was in New Orleans the Crescent City that Hearn's literary legacy truly blossomed and where he is credited with “inventing” New Orleans as an “exotic and mysterious place”. His deep fascination with the city's unique blend of cultures and traditions led him to create some of his most captivating works. Through his keen observations, Hearn captured the mystique of New Orleans, its diverse population, and the intriguing customs that shaped its identity. There he delved into the city's unique customs, voodoo traditions, and multicultural influences. Hearn's deep fascination with the occult and folklore materialized in his writings, capturing the mystique of the American South. His essay collections, such as "Gombo Zhèbes" and "La Cuisine Créole," celebrated the city's culinary and cultural richness, shedding light on aspects often overlooked.

EMBCA is an organization exempt from Federal Income Tax under Internal Revenue (IRC) Section 501(c)(3), classified as a public charity, and qualifies to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under Section 2055, 2106, or 2522 . Donors can deduct contributions they make under IRC Section 170. Thank you all again for your continuing enthusiasm and support of our events !!