Born of an Irish father and Greek mother, Hearn spent much of his childhood in the home of his aunt Sarah Brenane in various locations around Rathmines. He lived in Leeson Street, Leinster Road and Prince Arthur Terrace before beginning a career marked by long-distance travel and a fascination with other cultures. From the age of 19 he lived in the United States, and wrote widely about New Orleans, but he is best known for the years he spent in Japan. In 1890 he moved to Japan and adopted the Japanes name Koizumi Yakimo. He is credited with introducing many Westerners to the life and culture of the Japanese, including their ghost stories, lyric forms, religion and customs. He is particularly noted with being one of the first Westerners to translate and appreciate the ancient Japanese form of the haiku.