Professor Donald Keene - Obituary

Celebrated scholar of Japanese literature, Professor Donald Keene, passed away at a hospital in Tokyo on February 24. He was 96.

The U.S.-born academic and translator inspired generations of students with an interest in Japanese literature and culture. He introduced numerous talented writers to the world - many of them his friends - and his translations included both classic and contemporary works, Noh plays and modern novels.

Dr Keene was a specially invited professor at Tohoku University's Faculty of Arts and Letters in 1978, where he gave a special lecture on Yasunari Kawabata's novel, Snow Country. In 1997 he was made an honorary doctor of the university. In 2002, to celebrate the Faculty of Arts and Letters' 80th anniversary, Keene gave a keynote lecture on Higashiyama culture and contemporary Japan.

Following the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake that hit the Tohoku region in 2011, Professor Keene visited the area many times and spoke of his love for Japan. In a show of solidarity for those recovering from the disaster, he relocated to Tokyo in 2012 and took Japanese citizenship.

He received the country's highest cultural award, the Order of Culture in 2008.

Obituary in Japanese


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