Emeritus Senior Scholar
Donald Keene received his B.A. (1942), M.A. (1947), and Ph.D. (1949) degrees from Columbia University, and his Litt. D. (1978) from Cambridge University. He is the recipient of the Kikuchi Kan Prize of the Society for the Advancement of Japanese Culture (1962); the Order of the Rising Sun, Second Class (1993) and Third Class (1975); the Japan Foundation Prize (1983); the Yomiuri Shimbun Prize (1985); the Shincho Grand Literary Prize (1985); the Tokyo Metropolitan Prize (1987); the Radio and Television Culture Prize (1993); and the Asahi Prize (1998). He has received honorary degrees from St. Andrew's College (1990), Middlebury College (1995), Columbia University (1997), Tohoku University (1997), Waseda University (1998), Tokyo Gaikokugo Daigaku (1999), and Keiwa University (2000). He was the first non-Japanese to receive the Yomiuri Literary Prize for the best book of literary criticism in Japanese (awarded in 1985 for the original Japanese version of Travellers of a Hundred Ages) and he was awarded the Nihon Bungaku Taisho (Grand Prize of Japanese Literature) for the same work. In the autumn of 2002, Professor Keene was awarded one of Japan's highest honors, the title "Person of Cultural Merit" (Bunka Koro-sha), for his distinguished service in the promotion of Japanese literature and culture. Professor Keene is only the third non-Japanese to be designated an individual of distinguished cultural service by the Japanese government.
Professor Keene began teaching at Columbia University was named Columbia University Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature in 1981 and University Professor in 1989; he is currently a University Professor Emeritus and Shincho Professor Emeritus. Professor Keene has published approximately 25 books in English, consisting of studies of Japanese literature and culture, translations of Japanese works of both classical and modern literature, and edited works including two anthologies of Japanese literature and the collection Twenty Plays of the No Theatre (1970). His major publications include a four-volume history of Japanese literature, and his Japanese publications include approximately 30 books, some written originally in Japanese, others translated from English.