- "You cannot stop being an American after 89 years.... But I have become a Japanese in many ways. Not pretentiously, but naturally."
Early life [change]
Keene was born in Brooklyn in New York City. He received a Bachelor's degree from Columbia in 1942. He studied Japanese language at the U.S. Navy Japanese Language School. After World War II, he returned to Columbia where he earned a master's degree in 1947.
His first visit to Japan was during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.
Selected works [change]
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- The Battles of Coxinga: Chikamatsu's Puppet Play, Its Background and Importance, 1951
- The Japanese Discovery of Europe: Honda Toshiaki and other discoverers 1720-1952, 1952
- Japanese Literature an Introduction for Western Readers, 1955
- Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology, 1956
- Major Plays of Chikamatsu, 1961
- Four Major Plays of Chikamatsu, 1961
- Japanese Discovery of Europe, 1720-1830, 1969
- Twenty Plays of the Noh Theatre, 1970
- World Within Walls: Japanese Literature of the Pre-Modern Era, 1600-1867, 1976
- Some Japanese Portraits, 1979
- Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern Era, 1984-1988
- The Pleasures of Japanese Literature, 1988
- Introducing Kyoto, 1989 (with Herbert E. Plutschow)
- Travelers of a Hundred Ages: The Japanese As Revealed Through 1,000 Years of Diaries, 1989
- Modern Japanese Novels and the West, 1989
- No and Bunraku: Two Forms of Japanese Theatre, 1990
- Appreciations of Japanese Culture, 1991
- The Colors of Poetry: Essays in Classic Japanese Verse 1991 (with Ooka Makoto)
- Travelers of a Hundred Ages, 1992
- Seeds in the Heart: Japanese Literature from Earliest Times to the Late Sixteenth Century,1993
- On Familiar Terms: A Journey Across Cultures, 1994
- Modern Japanese Diaries: The Japanese at Home and Abroad As Revealed Through Their Diaries, 1995
- The Blue-Eyed Tarokaja: A Donald Keene Anthology, 1996
- On Familiar Terms: To Japan and Back, a Lifetime Across Cultures, 1996
- Japan at the Dawn of the Modern Age: Woodblock Prints from the Meija Era, 1868-1912, 2001 (with Anne Nishimura & Frederic A. Sharf)
- Sources of Japanese Tradition: From Earliest Times to 1600, 2001 (with William Theodore De Bary, George Tanabe and H. Paul Varley)
- Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912, 2002
- Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne Van Biema Collection, 2002 (Lee Bruschke-Johnson and Ann Yonemura)
- Five Modern Japanese Novelists, 2002
- Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion: The Creation of the Soul of Japan, 2003
- Frog In The Well: Portraits of Japan by Watanabe Kazan 1793-1841, 2006
- Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan, 2008
- So Lovely A Country Will Never Perish: Wartime Diaries of Japanese Writers, 2010
- Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, Third Class, 1975
- Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, Second Class, 1993
- Person of Cultural Merit, 2002
- Order of Culture, 2008
- "Donald Keene obtains Japanese citizenship; shows off 鬼怒鳴門 as his name," Japan Today. March 9, 2001; retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Fackler, Martin. "Lifelong Scholar of the Japanese Becomes One of Them," The New York Times, November 2, 2012; retrieved 2012-11-02.
- Keene Center of Japanese Culture, About Donald Keene; retrieved 2012-11-02.
- Pilling, David. "Lunch with the FT: Donald Keene," 28 October 2011; retrieved 2012-11-5.
- Arita, Eriko. "Keene: A life lived true to the words," Japan Times. September 6, 2009; retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Library of Congress Authority File, Keene, Donald; retrieved 2012-11-02.
- WorldCat Identities: Keene, Donald; retrieved 2012-11-1.