• Kyodo

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An avid collector of items related to 19th century writer Lafcadio Hearn has donated rare copies of U.S. newspapers containing his articles to the University of Cincinnati and four other American institutions.

Shigeru Hiyama, who lives in Nara, said he admires Hearn for “accurately introducing the culture and hearts of the Japanese overseas.”

Hearn came to Japan in 1890, married a Japanese woman in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, and was later naturalized. Known in Japan as Koizumi Yakumo, he is best known for his retelling of Japanese legends and ghost stories, including the book “Kwaidan.”

The 70-year-old Hiyama became a Hearn collector after visiting Cincinnati more than 20 years ago, buying books and magazine and newspaper articles. Hearn, who lived from 1850 to 1904, was a reporter in the U.S. city in the 1870s.

Hiyama donated editions of the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Cincinnati Commercial, published about 130 years ago, to five institutions, including the University of Cincinnati and the publisher of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

On accepting the donation, the Enquirer said the newspapers had returned to the city after a “world trip.”

Saying he hoped to “be of some help to society,” Hiyama also donated more than 100 copies of the two newspapers to Japanese municipalities that have links to Hearn, including the Matsue and Kumamoto municipal governments.

Because articles in the old newspapers have no bylines, Hiyama had an expert at the University of Cincinnati verify that they were written by Hearn.

“A collector should never think he’s the No. 1. I will continue collecting as long as I am alive,” Hiyama said, who still runs a trading company for bicycle parts in Osaka.

Hearn was born in Greece in 1850 to an Irish father and Greek mother.

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