Donald Keene in his Tokyo home in 2002.
Donald Lawrence Keene
June 18, 1922
New York City, United States
|Died||February 24, 2019 (aged 96)|
Donald Lawrence Keene (June 18, 1922 - February 24, 2019) was an American-born Japanese scholar, historian, teacher, writer and translator of Japanese literature. Keene was University Professor Emeritus and Shincho Professor Emeritus of Japanese Literature at Columbia University, where he taught for over fifty years. Soon after the 2011 T?hoku earthquake and tsunami, he retired from Columbia, moved to Japan permanently, and acquired citizenship under the name K?n Donarudo ( ?, "Donald Keene" in the Japanese name order). This was also his poetic nom de plume (, gag?) and occasional nickname, spelled in the ateji form ?.[a]
Keene received a Bachelor's degree from Columbia University in 1942. He studied the Japanese language at the U.S. Navy Japanese Language School in Boulder, Colorado and in Berkeley, California, and served as an intelligence officer in the Pacific region during World War II. Upon his discharge from the US Navy, he returned to Columbia where he earned a master's degree in 1947.
Keene studied for a year at Harvard University before transferring to Cambridge University where he earned a second master's and became a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge from 1948-1954, and a University Lecturer from 1949-1955. In the interim, in 1953, he also studied at Kyoto University, and earned a Ph.D. from Columbia in 1949. Keene credits Ry?saku Tsunoda as a mentor during this period.
While studying in the East Asian library at Columbia, a man whom Keene did not know invited him to dinner at the Chinese restaurant where Keene and Lee, a Chinese-American Columbia graduate student, ate every day. The man's name was Jack Kerr, and he had lived in Japan for several years and taught English in Taiwan. Kerr invited Keene to study Japanese in the summer to learn Japanese from a student he taught in Taiwan, for Kerr to have competition when learning Japanese. Their tutor was Inomata Tadashi, and they were taught elementary spoken Japanese and kanji.
While staying at Cambridge, after winning a fellowship for Americans to study in England, Keene went to meet Arthur Waley who was best known for his translation work in classical Chinese and Japanese literature. For Keene, Waley's translation of Chinese and Japanese literature was inspiring, even arousing in Keene the thought of becoming a second Waley.
Keene was a Japanologist who published about 25 books in English on Japanese topics, including both studies of Japanese literature and culture and translations of Japanese classical and modern literature, including a four-volume history of Japanese literature which has become the standard work. Keene also published about 30 books in Japanese, some of which have been translated from English. He was president of the Donald Keene Foundation for Japanese Culture.
Soon after the 2011 T?hoku earthquake and tsunami, Keene retired from Columbia and moved to Japan with the intention of living out the remainder of his life there. He acquired Japanese citizenship, adopting the legal name K?n Donarudo ( ?). This required him to relinquish his American citizenship, as Japan does not permit dual citizenship.
On February 24, 2019, Keene died of cardiac arrest in Tokyo, aged 96.
|The Battles of Coxinga: Chikamatsu's Puppet Play, Its Background and Importance (Taylor's Foreign Pr, 1951)|
|The Japanese Discovery of Europe: Honda Toshiaki and other discoverers 1720-1952 (Routledge and K. Paul, 1952)|| (, 1957). Jp trans. & ?
nihonjin no seiyou hakken (?, 1968). Jp trans. ? [?trans of 2nd ed]
|Japanese Literature an Introduction for Western Readers (Grove Pr, June 1, 1955)|
|Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology (Grove Pr, June 1, 1956)|
|Living Japan (Doubleday, 1959)||? (, 1973). Jp trans. &
ikiteiru nihon Revised edition published as ? (?, 2002). Jp trans. ? [?mistake. ?Separate work]
|Major Plays of Chikamatsu (Columbia University Press, January 1, 1961)|
|Four Major Plays of Chikamatsu (Columbia University Press, June 1, 1961)|
|Donald Keene, Kaneko Hiroshi (photography) & Jun'ichir? Tanizaki (introduction), Bunraku: The Art of the Japanese Puppet Theatre (kodansha International, 1965)|| (, 1966). Jp trans. ?
|Japanese Discovery of Europe, 1720-1830. Revised/2nd ed. (Stanford University Press, June 1, 1969)|
|The Manyoushu (Columbia University Press, 1969)|
|Twenty Plays of the Noh Theatre (Columbia University Press, June 1, 1970)|
|War-Wasted Asia: letters, 1945-46 (Kodansha International, 1975)||? (, 2006). Jp trans. ?.
kinou no senchi kara
|World Within Walls: Japanese Literature of the Pre-Modern Era, 1600-1867 (Henry Holt & Co, October 1, 1976)
Second book in the "A History of Japanese Literature" series
| , 2 vols. (, 1976-77). Jp trans.
nihon bungakushi kinseihen
|Landscapes and Portraits: Appreciations of Japanese culture (Kodansha International, 1978)|
|Meeting with Japan (, 1979)||? (, 1972). Jp trans.
nihon tono deai
|Some Japanese Portraits (Kodansha Amer Inc, March 1, 1978/9)|| (?, 1975). Jp trans.
nihon bungaku sanpo
|Travels in Japan (Gakuseisha, 1981)||? (, 1980). Jp trans.
|Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature of the Modern Era; Fiction (Holt Rinehart & Winston, April 1, 1984)
Third book in the "A History of Japanese Literature" series
|* Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern Era; Poetry, Drama, Criticism (Holt Rinehart & Winston, April 1, 1984)
Fourth book in the "A History of Japanese Literature" series
|Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern Era (Henry Holt & Co, September 1, 1987)|
|The Pleasures of Japanese Literature (Columbia University Press, October 1, 1988; ISBN 0-231-06736-4)|| (JICC, 1992). Jp trans.
koten no tanoshimi Later published by , 2000.
|Donald Keene with Herbert E. Plutschow, Introducing Kyoto (Kodansha Amer Inc, April 1, 1989)|
|Travelers of a Hundred Ages: The Japanese As Revealed Through 1,000 Years of Diaries (Diane Pub Co, June 1, 1989)|| (?, 1984 and 1988). Jp trans. ?
hyakudai no kakaku: nikkini miru nihonjin Later published by Asahi, 2011 and 2012. [?trans of revised edition]
|Modern Japanese Novels and the West (Umi Research Pr, July 1, 1989)|
|No and Bunraku: Two Forms of Japanese Theatre (Columbia University Press, December 1, 1990)|| (, 2001). Jp trans. & ?
noh, bunraku, kabuki
|Appreciations of Japanese Culture (Kodansha Amer Inc, April 1, 1991)|
|Donald Keene with Ooka Makoto, The Colors of Poetry: Essays in Classic Japanese Verse (Katydid Books, May 1, 1991)|
|Travelers of a Hundred Ages (Henry Holt & Co, August 1, 1992)|
|Seeds in the Heart: Japanese Literature from Earliest Times to the Late Sixteenth Century (Henry Holt & Co, June 1, 1993)
First book in the "A History of Japanese Literature" series
|On Familiar Terms: A Journey Across Cultures (Kodansha Amer Inc, January 1, 1994)
Reworking of the 1990-1992 Japanese newspaper column.
| (?, 1993). Jp trans.
kono hitosuji ni tsunagarite
|Modern Japanese Diaries: The Japanese at Home and Abroad As Revealed Through Their Diaries (Henry Holt & Co, March 1, 1995)
Later published by Columbia University Press, 1999 [?revised edition] Japanese edition published first.
|The Blue-Eyed Tarokaja: A Donald Keene Anthology (Columbia University Press, June 1, 1996). Editor. J. Thomas Rimer||
aoi me no taroukaja
|On Familiar Terms: To Japan and Back, a Lifetime Across Cultures (Kodansha Amer Inc, April 1, 1996)|
| - Living in Two Countries (Kodansha International, 1999). Jp trans.
English and Japanese bilingual text
|Donald Keene with Anne Nishimura & Frederic A. Sharf, Japan at the Dawn of the Modern Age: Woodblock Prints from the Meija Era, 1868-1912 (Museum of Fine Arts Boston, May 1, 2001)|
|Sources of Japanese Tradition: From Earliest Times to 1600 compiled by Donalde Keen, Wm. Theodore De Bary, George Tanabe and Paul Varley (Columbia University Press, May 1, 2001)|
|Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912 (Columbia University Press, April 1, 2002)||? (, 2001). Jp trans. .
meiji tennou Also published in 4 volumes, 2007.
|Donald Keene with Lee Bruschke-Johnson & Ann Yonemura, Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne Van Biema Collection (University of Washington Pr, September 1, 2002)|
|Five Modern Japanese Novelists (Columbia University Press, December 1, 2002)||- (, 2005). Jp trans. ?
omoide no sakkatachi: Tanizaki, Kawabata, Mishima, Abe, Shiba
|Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion: The Creation of the Soul of Japan (Columbia University Press, November 1, 2003)|| (, 2008). Jp trans. .
Yoshimasa to ginkakuji
|Frog In The Well: Portraits of Japan by Watanabe Kazan 1793-1841 (Asia Perspectives),(Columbia Univ. Press, 2006)||? (, 2007). Jp trans.
|Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan. (Columbia University Press, 2008)||20 (, 2007)
watashi to 20 seiki no kuronikaru Later published as ? (, 2011). Jp trans. ? Un Occidental En Japon (Nocturna Ediciones, 2011). Es trans. José Pazó Espinosa
|So Lovely A Country Will Never Perish: Wartime Diaries of Japanese Writers (Columbia University Press, 2010)||? (?, 2009). Jp trans. ?
nihonjin no sensou: sakka no nikki wo yomu
|The Winter Sun Shines In: A Life of Masaoka Shiki (Columbia University Press, 2013)||? (, 2012). Jp trans.
| (?, 1963). Jp trans. ?
| (, 1972)
nihon no sakka
|Kobo Abe and Donald Keene, (?,1973)
hangekiteki ningen. In conversation with Kobo Abe
|Ooka Shouhei and Donald Keene, ? (, 1973)
higashi to nishi no haza made'. In conversation with Ooka Shouhei
|Tokuoka Takao and Donald Keene, ? ? (, 1973)|
|. Column in Asahi Weekly ?, 8th Jan 1957 - 26th Sept 1975
Donarudo Kiin no nihonbungaku sanpo
| (, 1977)
Later published as watashi no sukina rekoodo
|? (?, 1977)
nihonbungaku wo yomu
| (, 1979)
nihongo no miryoku. A collection of conversation.
| (, 1979) [?trans]
nihon wo rikaisuru made
| (?, 1979)
nihonbungaku no nakahe
| (, 1980). Jp trans. .
ongaku no deai to yorokobi Later published by 1992.
|? (, 1981) Jp trans.
tsuisaki no utagoe
| (, 1981)
watashi no nihonbungaku shouyou
| (?, 1983)
nihonjin no shitsumon
| . Column in the Asahi Evening News, 4th Jul 1983 - 13th Apr 1984.
hyakudai no kakaku: nikki nimiru nihonjin
|Ryotaro Shiba and Donald Keene, (?, 1972, 1984)
nihonjin to nihonbunka: conversations with Ryotaro Shiba Later published as ? (, 1992) sakai no naka no nihon: juurokuseiki made sakanobattemiru. In conversation with Ryotaro Shiba.
| (, 1986)
sukoshi mimi no itakunaru hanashi
| (Asahi, 1987) [?trans. ]
futatsu no bokoku ni ikite [Living in two countries]
|. Column in the Asahi Evening News, 7th Jan 1990 - 9th Feb 1992.
kono hitosushi ni tsunagarite
| (?, 1990)
koden wo tanoshimu: watashi no nihonbungaku
|? (?, 1990)
nihonjin no biishiki
|? ? (Asahi, 1992)
koe no nokori: watashi no bundankouyuuroku [Remaining voices: Record of my literary circle]
|Yukio Mishima & Donald Keene (editor), ? 97? (, 1998)
Mishima Yukio mihappyoushokan 97 letters addressed to Donald Keene
| (?, 2000) [?trans]
nihongo no bi [The beauty of Japanese]
|? (?, 2003).
meijiennnou wo kataru [Stories of the Emperor Meiji]. Based on a series of lectures.
| (?, 2003)
nihonbungaku ha sekai no kakebashi
|Jakucho Setouchi, Donald Keene & Shunsuke Tsurumi, ? ? (?, 2004)
doujidai wo ikite wasureenu hitobito
|? (, 2005/2010)
watashi no daijina basho
donarudo kiin chosakushou (zen-15gan). The collected works of Donald Keene (15 volumes) [excluding The history of Japanese literature]
|Donald Keene & Koike Masayuki, (?, 2011)
senjou no Eroica shinfonii: watashi ga keikenshita nichibeiikusa
|Donald Keene and Setouchi Jakuchou, ? (, 2012)|
|- (PHP, 2013)
watashi ga nihonjin ni natta riyuu - nihongo ni miserarete
|Translation of the History of Japanese literature series
Includes critical commentary
Keene was awarded various honorary doctorates, from: