Donald Keene

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Donald Keene CC '42 MA '47 PhD '51 is University Professor Emeritus and Shincho Professor Emeritus of Japanese Literature. As a student at Columbia, he studied under Mark Van Doren, whose philosophy of engagement with primary literary texts shaped Keene's approach to Japanese literature. He taught Japanese literature and culture for over fifty years, and is a celebrity in Japan, where his memoirs were recently serialized in the country's highest-circulation newspaper. In 1986, the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture was founded in his honor.

Keene retired only in 2011. In 2012, his popularity in Japan culminated when he became one of the few Westerners ever granted Japanese citizenship. A museum will even be built in his honor containing a replica of his study in New York.[1] In the meantime, he's taken up all kinds of unique Japanese customs - like adopting 60 year old men.[2]