Sunday, July 05, 2009

Mysterious Tales of Japan

There are countless illustrated versions of Lafcadio Hearn's Japanese ghost stories, but I have a fondness for this one, which was published in 1996 by Putnam and is apparently already out-of-print, though secondhand copies are readily available. A couple of the tales are from sources other than Hearn, but the volume includes three of the four stories on which Masaki Kobayashi's magnificent film Kwaidan was based, lacking only "In a Cup of Tea."

The retelling is by storyteller and author Rafe Martin, the illustrations by Tatsuro Kiuchi, a prolific artist who has worked in a variety of styles both here and in his native Japan. Among his other projects is a series of nearly 300 images to accompany a serialized novel by Hikaru Okuizumi, The New Journey to the Center of the Earth.

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