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‘The Real Birthday Of New Japan’ – Lafcadio Hearn’s ‘After The War’

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Chapter Summary

The battle of Yalu was, according to Arthur Diósy, 'the most important naval action since Trafalgar', a battle which proclaimed Japan's entry into the modern world as an independent military power, as a 'nation no longer in leading strings, but capable of being, and fully determined to be, a dominant factor in Eastern Asia'. In the case of the Sino-Japanese War, Lafcadio Hearn put his reflections on the conflict into a more permanent form in an essay entitled 'After the War' which he included in his book Kokoro (1896). In structure, 'After the War' is a typical Hearn essay, a mixed bag of general impressions, scene-setting by means of some historical narrative, and impressionistic descriptions of two specific incidents in the immediate post-war period in which Hearn himself was involved. 'After the War' is, therefore, a somewhat unusual essay from the pen of Lafcadio Hearn.

Keywords: After the War; Arthur Diósy; battle of Yalu; Japan; Kokoro; Lafcadio Hearn



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