City to purchase Lafcadio Hearn’s residence for 175 million Yen

Matsue City in Shimane Prefecture plans to acquire the former residence of writer Lafcadio Hearn for 175 million Yen (approx. 1.6 million USD). The seller is a private individual. The traditional, single-storey Japanese residence has a total floor area of 244 sqm (2,645 sq.ft) and sits on a 1,030 sqm (11,083 sq.ft) block of land located directly across the street from Matsue Castle.

The city plans to open the house up to the public after the purchase. The neighboring city-operated Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum is a local tourist landmark, attracting as many as 150,000 visitors each year.

Hearn () moved to Japan in 1890 as a newspaper correspondent. Soon-after he took up a teaching position in Matsue, married the daughter of a local samurai and started a family. He later naturalized and lived in Japan until his death in 1904 at the age of 54. His grave is in the Zoshigaya Cemetery in Tokyo. Hearn lived in Matsue for about 1.5 years.

The house was a samurai residence dating from the mid-to-late Edo period (1603-1868). Hearn rented the house from the Negishi family for a period of 6 months. It was in this house that he began writing his book ‘Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan’. The house was registered as a national historic landmark in 1940.

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Source: The Sankei Shimbun, February 15, 2018.