The back cover blurb for Lafcadio Hearn’s “Kokoro: An Intimate Portrait of Japanese Inner Life” says the book is the writer’s “love letter to Japan.” Despite Hearn’s reputation as an eternal romantic, however, the collection of essays and short fiction does not contain love stories in any traditional sense.

Kokoro: An Intimate Portrait of Japanese Inner Life, by Lafcadio Hearn.256 pagesTUTTLE PUBLISHING, Fiction and nonfiction.

As Hearn points out, the word “kokoro” not only means heart, but “also mind, in the emotional sense; spirit; courage; resolve; sentiment; affection, and inner meaning, — just as we say in English, ‘the heart of things.’”