- He was born Patrick Lafcadio Kassimati Charles Hearn, usually shortened as Patrick Lafcadio Hearn. His middle name, Lafcadio, is based on the Lefkada island where he was born.
- After an unhappy early life of abandonment and moving from home to home, he went to New Orleans to work as a newspaper correspondent and eventually to Japan. Even in New Orleans, he showed a tendency for vivid descriptions of grisly and sensational stories, which would indicate his success with folklore later in life. Thanks to his talents, he gained a national readership for his visions of New Orleans.
- In 1890, Hearn moved to Matsue, Japan and later started working as a schoolteacher in Izumo. This was apparently the happiest period of his life; he liked the quiet, mystical atmosphere of Matsue. To Hearn who idolized the exoticism and traditional aspects of Japan, Matsue was like paradise to him. Later on, when he moved to Tokyo to become the English teacher of Tokyo Imperial University, he always longed for Matsue.
- At the Imperial University, he was Natsume Souseki's predecessor. Hearn was a charismatic teacher who always made lectures interesting, according to his students. Later when he retired due to salary complications with the school and Natsume replaced him, Natsume's strict manners and serious lectures made his class far less popular than Hearn's.
- Hearn married Koizumi Setsuko in 1891; they had three sons and a daughter. He adopted Japanese citizenship and, with it, the Japanese name Koizumi Yakumo (inspired from Futabatei Shimei's Drifting Clouds.) He died of heart failure in Tokyo on 26 September 1904.
- Hearn never actually mastered the Japanese language. He never learned properly to read or write, much less speak, though in time he and his wife evolved a kind of baby-talk combined from both languages, and eventually he mastered the kana alphabet and could send her notes.
- In 1994 in Tokyo, his ashes were buried after a Buddhist ceremony. 
- The Selected Writings of Lafcadio Hearn edited by Henry Goodman