Jun 13

Justin’s Japan: Japan Society Bids Sayonara to Donald Keene

Columbia University Professor Emeritus Donald Keene, left, will talk with Carol Gluck at Japan Society's Farewell Evening with Donald Keene June 13. (Courtesy of Japan Society)

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his page here for related stories.

This evening (June 13), New York’s Japan Society adds another page to its storied history by hosting the Farewell Evening with Donald Keene, a final talk with Columbia University’s Professor Emeritus and Shincho Professor Emeritus of Japanese Literature.

A scholar, author and translator for over 50 years, Keene is a paragon in the field of Japanese studies. As the translator of legendary works from Mishima, Chikamatsu and Bashō and the writer of dozens of books in his own name (some written in Japanese), Keene’s achievements in bringing the island nation’s culture closer to the West are incalculable.

Upon his decision to retire this spring and become a Japanese citizen, the indefatigable Keene—who turned 89 last week—will speak at Japan Society about his appreciation for Japan, its literature and culture, his recollections of the past, and his hopes for the future as he discusses what motivated him to move permanently to Japan in light of the recent tsunami and earthquake. Moderated by his Columbia University colleague (and fellow celebrated Japanologist) Carol Gluck, the evening will be full of memories.

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