Donald Lawrence Keene

Donald Lawrence Keene

Product Description

Donald Lawrence Keene (born June 18, 1922 in New York City) is a Japanologist, scholar, teacher, writer, translator and interpreter of Japanese literature and culture. 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 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Keene retired from Columbia and moved to Japan where he became a citizen with the intention of living out the remainder of his life in his adopted country. Keene is well known and respected in Japan and his move there in the aftermath of the earthquake crises was widely lauded. Keene gave a lecture in Sendai in October 2011.

Keene has 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 has also published about 30 books in Japanese (some translated from English).

Keene is the president of the Donald Keene Foundation for Japanese Culture.

National honors and decorations


(Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, Third Class, 1975)

(Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, Second Class, 1993)

Order of Culture (Bunka kunshō), 2008.


Person of Cultural Merit (Bunka Korosha) (Japanese Government), 2002 (Keene is the third non-Japanese person to be designated "an individual of distinguished cultural service" by the Japanese government)

Now, he is living in Kita-ku, Tokyo as a Japanese