A book of Japanese folklore and ghost stories, written in both Irish and English, is to be launched in Derry.
Mayor John Boyle will host the launch of Sayonara on behalf of the North West Japanese Cultural Group this Saturday, December 8, between 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm at Holywell Trust in Bishop Street.
There will also be a reading from the book of Yuki-Onna.
Collected by 19th century Irish-Greek writer, Patrick Lafcadio Hearn, the book includes 23 Japanese folk and ghost stories as well as a series of essays.
It will be the first time the Japanese writings have been published in English and Irish.
Born in Lafkada Island in Greece in 1850, Hearn grew up in Dublin before moving to the US as a 19-year-old.
Hearn ater visited and fell in love with Japan which he described as an “unknown country.”
He married and settled in Japan where he became particularly fond of Japanese folk talks, several of which he published in America and Europe.
The stories in Sayonara have been translated into Irish by Pádraig Mac Cearáin and illustrated by Clare McCay who was born in Japan.
Junko Okura of the North West Japanese Cultural Group said the book was based on a writer who was well respected in Japan.
“Children who don’t even know the author’s name are familiar with the ghosts featured in the stories that he collected. If it weren’t for Hearn, lots of these ghost stories would most probably have been completely forgotten about.”
Ciarán Ó Pronntaigh, who edited the book, said Hearn’s memory had grown in Ireland in recent years.
“I hope the launch of this book will introduce local people to the beauty of Japanese folklore which are featured both in English and in Irish in this beautifully illustrated book,” he said.