Donald Keene, Noted Researcher of Japanese Literature, Dies

Society Culture

Tokyo, Feb. 24 (Jiji Press)--Donald Keene, a pre-eminent U.S.-born researcher of Japanese literature and professor emeritus of Columbia University who brought a number of Japanese works abroad, died of heart failure at a Tokyo hospital on Sunday. He was 96.

Born in New York in 1922, Keene studied at Columbia University. He was inspired by an English translation of "The Tale of Genji" and decided to start research on Japan.

After World War II broke out, Keene studied Japanese language at a school of the U.S. Navy and translated documents of the Imperial Japanese military in Honolulu and elsewhere.

He visited Tokyo after the war ended and witnessed devastation brought about by the war.

Keene later returned to Columbia University and also studied at Harvard University and the University of Cambridge. In 1953, he came to Japan to study at Kyoto University's graduate school.

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Jiji Press Donald Keene