The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures is grieved to inform the Columbia community that Donald Keene, University Professor Emeritus and Shinchō Professor Emeritus, passed away on February 24, 2019 at the age of ninety-six in Tokyo, Japan. Professor Keene was one of the founding figures of the department and the primary catalyst for the development of Japanese studies at Columbia, translating numerous texts that served as the basis for the undergraduate program and teaching courses on Japanese history and literature for over half a century. His scholarship and service has proved invaluable to the university, and his legacy is commemorated by the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture, an institute dedicated to advancing the understanding of Japan and its culture in the United States through university instruction, research, and public education. The department and the Keene Center will host a memorial service in remembrance of the life and work of Donald Keene in the fall of 2019.
For the full obituary, please see the Keene Center’s website: