The Daily Manila Shimbun


Late Japan Literature Scholar Keene Remembered at Columbia

September 28, 2019

New York- A ceremony to commemorate noted Japanese literature scholar Donald Keene, who died in February this year at the age 96, was held at Columbia University in New York, his alma mater, on Friday, with the attendance of some 200 people including those who studied under Keene.

Keene, who was born in New York, entered the university at the age 16.

When he was around 18 years old, Keene was mesmerized by an English translation of Japanese classic novel "Genji Monogatari" (The Tale of Genji) and started studying Japanese literature.

After studying at a graduate school of Kyoto University in western Japan, he became a professor at Columbia University in 1960, promoting the charms of Japanese culture across the world through his research activities and fostering of young researchers.

At the ceremony, people who were close to Keene talked about memories of him, such as his research stance to read all kinds of documents and his cheering personalities.

Keene's adopted son Seiki Keene, a "shamisen" three-stringed musical instrument player for traditional "joruri" puppet plays, joined the ceremony from Japan and expressed his gratitude for the attendees.

"This is such a wonderful ceremony held at Columbia Univeristy, which my father loved so much, in New York, where he was born and raised," Seiki said.Jiji Press