Project Description


Donald Keene received his B.A. (1942), M.A. (1947), and Ph.D. (1949) degrees from Columbia University, and his Litt. D. from Cambridge University in 1978. He is the recipient of the Kikuchi Kan Prize of the Society for the Advancement of Japanese Culture (1962); the Order of the Rising Sun, Second Class (1993) and Third Class (1975); the Japan Foundation Prize (1983); the Yomiuri Shimbun Prize (1985); the Shincho Grand Literary Prize (1985); the Tokyo Metropolitan Prize (1987); the Radio and Television Culture Prize (1993); and the Asahi Prize (1998). He has received honorary degrees from St. Andrew’s College (1990), Middlebury College (1995), Columbia University (1997), Tohoku University (1997), Waseda University (1998), Tokyo Gaikokugo Daigaku (1999), and Keiwa University (2000). He was the first non-Japanese to receive the Yomiuri Literary Prize for the best book of literary criticism in Japanese (awarded in 1985 for the original Japanese version of Travelers of a Hundred Ages) and he was awarded the Nihon Bungaku Taisho (Grand Prize of Japanese Literature) for the same work. In 1991 he received the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandorf Award, and in 1994 he won the Inoue Yasushi Prize. Professor Keene has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1976, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1986; and in 1990 he became an honorary member of the Japan Academy. He began teaching at Columbia University in 1955, and was named Columbia University Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature in 1981 and University Professor in 1989; he is currently a University Professor Emeritus and Shincho Professor Emeritus. Professor Keene has published approximately 25 books in English, consisting of studies of Japanese literature and culture, translations of Japanese works of both classical and modern literature, and edited works including two anthologies of Japanese literature and the collection Twenty Plays of the No Theatre. His major publications include a four-volume history of Japanese literature. Professor Keene’s Japanese publications include approximately 30 books, some written originally in Japanese, others translated from English. The Japanese translation of his history of Japanese literature has appeared in 18 volumes. His biography of Emperor Meiji in two volumes was published in October 2001 by Shinchosha. The English text, Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912, was published by Columbia University Press in 2002.

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