Scholar of Japanese literature cultural critic Columbia University Professor Emeritus
- Donald Keene, known officially as Keene Donald and facetiously as Kinu Naruto
- Born in New York in 1922. Scholar of Japanese literature and culture. Professor Emeritus of Columbia University.
- In 1940, at the age of 18, was deeply impressed by Arthur Waley's translation of The Tale of Genji and the next year began the study of Japanese, at first with a tutor, later at Columbia University, and most importantly, at the U.S. Navy Japanese Language School where he studied in 1942-3. During the war he served in the navy as a translator and interpreter of Japanese.
- After the war he returned to Columbia as a graduate student. His teacher was Ryūsaku Tsunoda with whom he studied mainly classical Japanese literature. After he obtain his master's degree in 1948 he travelled to Cambridge University in England where he remained for five years, at first as a student but for four years as a lecturer in Japanese.
- In 1953 he went to Japan and studied at Kyoto University for two years. He then returned to Columbia as an assistant professor, and for the next 56 years he taught Japanese language and literature. At the same time, he produced a series of books, including translations of both classical and modern works of Japanese literature and studies of Japanese cultural history.
- From 1953 to the present he has spent all or a part of every year in Japan and has published numerous books in Japanese, some written in Japanese, others in English and translated into Japanese.
- His works have been recognized in Japan by various awards, beginning with the Kikuchi Kan Prize in 1962. In 1984 his study of Japanese diaries Travellers of a Hundred Generations was awarded both the Yomiuri and the Shinchō Prizes.
- He has also been awarded honors by the Japanese Government including the Kyokujitsu Jūkōshō (Rising Sun Award, Second Class) in 1993; the Bunka Kōrōshō (Person of Cultural Merit) in 2002; and the Bunka Kunshō (Order of Culture) in 2008.
- In 2011, after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, he announced he would apply for Japanese citizenship. This was granted in 2012.