August 31, 2018

Professor from Japan visits Nathaniel Hawthorne’s home to complete his dissertation research by Lorraine Glowczak

Professor Ikuta with John Manoush and Rebecca Tracy
The boyhood home of Nathaniel Hawthorne located in Raymond on Hawthorne Road entertained a special guest on Monday morning August 27th. A professor of American literature from a college in Japan traveled to Raymond, Maine to visit Hawthorne’s home as part of his dissertation research which focuses on the author’s life as a child. 

Professor Kazuya Ikuta of Kagoshima Women’s College in Kagoshima has a five-day research tour planned throughout Maine and Massachusetts. He made his first stop in Raymond where he sat down with members of the Hawthorne Community Association to discuss the history of the house as well as share his own interest in the well-known author, recognized for many classical novels such as the “The Scarlett Letter.”

John Manoush, Secretary/Historian of the Association along with the Association Treasurer, Rebecca Tracy and trustees Abel Bates and Sylvia Sullivan, all of Raymond, shared their knowledge with Professor Ikuta about Hawthorne’s life story and history.

Ikuta, who has already completed extensive research on Hawthorne, explained the reason for his interest in the American author. “In Japan, college students not only take English courses to learn the language, but they study American literature classics to help them understand the culture and history,” he said. “Nathaniel Hawthorne is among one of Japan’s favorite classical authors.”

#beangroupIkuta stated that he had always been captivated by Hawthorne’s life, but it was after reading the book “Hawthorne’s First Diary” by Samuel T. Pickard that his interest in the author’s boyhood life increased. “As a result of reading that book, I became fascinated about his childhood,” Ikuta explained. “But I discovered that there is controversy surrounding the authenticity of that diary. As a result, my study and dissertation will focus on getting as accurate information as possible on Hawthorne’s boyhood life.”

Ikuta’s visit also included a discussion of Richard Manning (Hawthorne’s uncle) whose house is located across the street from the boyhood home. A tour of the cemetery where Manning and several early residents and first settlers of Raymond are buried also took place.
Ikuta’s historical research tour will continue to Bowdoin College in Brunswick where Hawthorne attended and graduated. Ikuta’s research will also take him to Salem, MA where Hawthorne was born as well as to the Peabody Museum in Essex, MA where the famous portrait of Hawthorne by Charles
Osgood is on exhibit.

Briefly, Hawthorne’s boyhood home in Raymond has been owned and cared for by The Hawthorne Community Association since 1921 and is still used from to time by its members for social and cultural events. It is registered as a National Historic Building. If one is interested in becoming a supporter of the association, please contact Manoush at

As for the visitor from Japan, Manoush was honored to host someone who traveled such a great distance. “I think this is the farthest anyone has traveled to visit the Hawthorne House and we were happy to accommodate him. It was a most pleasant visit,” he stated.

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