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Writer Lafcadio Hearn’s Great-Grandson Honoured by Japanese Foreign Minister

Mr. Bon Koizumi. Photo: Embassy of Japan in Ireland

On 30 July 2017, Mrs. Mari Miyoshi, Ambassador of Japan to Ireland, presented the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation to Mr. Bon Koizumi and Mrs. Shoko Koizumi for their outstanding contribution to the mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and Ireland.

Mr. Bon Koizumi is the great-grandson of the writer and translator Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), perhaps “Japan’s best-known Irishman” (John Moran) who was born on Lefkada Island, Greece, to an Irish military surgeon and a Greek mother. He is also known as Yakumo Koizumi in Japan where he found a home, married Setsu Koizumi, the daughter of a Matsue samurai, became a citizen and wrote 14 books on cultural subjects.

Bon and his wife Mrs. Shoko Koizumi have been introducing the life and works of Lafcadio Hearn to countries around the world including Japan, Ireland, and Greece since 1990. Hearn’s understanding of Japanese culture and his ‘open-minded’ spirit helped many to nurture mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and Ireland.  As board members of the Sanin Japan-Ireland Association, Mr. and Mrs. Koizumi have been involved with various activities for the purpose of not only publicising Bon’s great-grandfather but also introducing Irish culture to Japan.  Matsue City, where Lafcadio Hearn used to live, has a strong relationship with Dublin, often exchanging reciprocal visits.

At the presentation ceremony, Ambassador Miyoshi said, “I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Koizumi for their outstanding contributions to deepening the mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and Ireland over the last decades”, and continued, “On this occasion of the 60th anniversary of Japan-Ireland diplomatic relations, it gives me great pleasure to award the Foreign Minister’s Commendation to Mr. and Mrs. Koizumi’’. Mr. Masuo Nishibayashi, Ambassador of Japan to Greece, also sent Mr. and Mrs. Koizumi a congratulatory message.

Mr. and Mrs. Koizumi commented, “It is an honour for us to accept this award for our activities. We are grateful for the support of the Japanese Embassy in building bridges of understanding and friendship between Ireland and Japan”.

Japanese pianist Satoko Inoue on tour in Ireland

This summer is bringing lots of amazing Japanese talent to Ireland and we are delighted to announce the concert tour of renowned Japanese pianist Satoko Inoue in three concerts taking place across Ireland this June.

Concerts will be focusing on classical music and music of living composers from Ireland and Japan, celebrating the links between Ireland and Japan with four new works written specially for these concerts featuring pianist and speaker. All the texts (ghost stories and folk tales) are by Lafcadio Hearn/Koizumi Yakumo.

Concerts in Ireland:
Friday 23rd June | 8PM | Regional Cultural Cente, Letterkenny (Tickets – €10 / €5 at door)
  • C.P.E. Bach (from ‘Die sechs Sammlungen von Sanaten, freien Fantasien und Rondos für Kenner und Liebhaber’)
  • Fantasia Ⅰ (Fünfte Sammlung)
  • Rondo Ⅱ (Dritte Sammlung)
  • Claude Debussy – Clair de lune
  • Toru Takemitsu – Rain Tree Sketch 1 (1982)
  • Yuji Itoh – Yuruginaki-Kokoro (2011)
  • John McLachlan – Nuance (2003)
  • Jean-Luc Darbellay – Ciel étoilé (2014)
  • Paul Hayes – Lost in Baha (2001)
  • World premieres with texts from Lafcadio Hearn
    – John McLachlan – Fragment (2016)
    – Paul Hayes – The Second Heaven of Desire in Old Tramore (2016)

Sunday 25th June | 12PM | Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin (Admission Free)

  • Diana Rotaru (1981-) – Prélude Parisien no.1 DEBUMESSQUISSE (2007)
  • Akemi Naito (1956-) – Rain, Calling Autumn (1994)
  • Yuji Itoh (1956-) – Yuruginaki-Kokoro (2011)
  • Jo Kondo (1947-) – Interlude (2017)
  • Paul Hayes (1951-) – 27th January 1995 (1995)
  • David Rosenboom (1947-) – Kicking Shadows (2007)
  • John McLachlan (1964-) – Fragment (after Lafcadio Hearn) (2017)

Tuesday 27th June | 8PM | Large Room, City Hall, Waterford City (Tickets €10 / €5 at door)

  • Toru Takemitsu – Rain Tree Sketch 1 (1982)
  • Satoshi Tanaka – Oracle (2011)
  • Akemi Naito – UBAZAKURA (2017) – world premiere
  • Yuji Itoh – The Reconciliation (2017) – world premiere
  • The Lafcadio Hearn pieces – Speaker John McLachlan
  • John McLachlan – Fragment (after Lafcadio Hearn) (2016)
  • Paul Hayes – The Second Heaven of Desire in Old Tramore (2017)

Lafcadio Hearn, known also by the Japanese name Koizumi Yakumo, was an Irish writer, known best for his books about Japan, especially his collections of Japanese legends and ghost stories.

Pianist Satoko Inoue is renowned throughout Japan, Europe and in United States as a leading interpreter of contemporary solo piano music. She has premiered works by some of Japan’s foremost composers including Jo Kondo, Yori-aki Matsudaira, Yoritsune Matsudaira, and Toshi Ichiyanagi. She is well-known for playing Jo Kondo’s complete piano works and performing works of other contemporary composers such as Toru Takemitsu, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Henry Cowell, Luciano Berio, Giacinto Scelsi, Luc Ferrari, Doina Rotaru, and others.

Besides performing in Japan, Satoko Inoue has performed in major European festivals including Darmstadt, the International Experimental Music Festival in Bourges, and had solo recitals in Bucharest, Bern and Buenos Aires. She has featured in solo concerts in the US, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, Turkey, Romania, Egypt, and Argentina. She has recorded three solo CDs and has further CDs on the labels Edition Hundertmark (Germany), Emec Discos (Spain), and ALM Records (Japan). Inoue is also Associate Professor at the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo.

Satoko’s tour is part of the events celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland.