Donald Keene Exhibition

"Donald Keene: 100th Anniversary Exhibition— A Lifelong Pursuit of Japanese Culture," Kanagawa Museum of Japanese Literature special exhibition, May 28–July 24, 2022 (in Japanese)

Starting with his accidental encounter with Arthur Waley’s translation of The Tale of Genji in 1940, just before the outbreak of the Pacific War, Donald Keene (1922–2019) pursued a career in the study of Japan and led the way in introducing Japanese literature to the world and even to Japanese themselves. Residing in both the United States and Japan over many decades, he studied Japanese literature from ancient to contemporary as well as history, performing arts, and other genres. He produced countless translations and mentored numerous younger scholars of Japanese literature and culture. No ivory tower scholar, he became close friends with leading writers including Tanizaki Jun’ichirō, Kawabata Yasunari, Mishima Yukio, Abe Kōbō, and Shiba Ryōtarō, and his writings about them form a precious testimony to the history of modern Japanese literature.

The exhibition introduces photographs and artifacts from Keene’s more than 70 years as a Japanologist, covering his enthusiasm for every aspect of Japanese culture, as well as his passions for opera and travel. [translated from the Kanagawa Museum of Japanese Literature website]

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