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Obituary: Donald Keene

The Japan Foundation is deeply saddened by the death of Donald Keene, who passed away aged 96, in Tokyo on Sunday evening.

A naturalised Japanese citizen, Donald was an early pioneer of Japanese Studies, not only in his native America, but throughout the world. Having taught at Cambridge shortly after receiving his PhD, Donald made many friends in the UK and spread his influence far and wide.

His tireless work in Japanese Literature earned him the Order of Culture (Bunka Kunsho), the highest cultural award the nation of Japan can bestow. The Japan Foundation were honoured to present Donald with the Japan Foundation Award in 1983 and our London Office was especially privileged to have worked with him in 2017, in bringing the classic Japanese Puppet Theatre (Ko-joruri) to the stage at the British Library.

Donald Keene was an integral part of making Japanese Studies the field that it is today and in helping to spread Japanese culture throughout the world, he will be sorely missed.