Donald Keene at home: Tokyo, 2002
One of the greatest, maybe the number one Western specialist in Japanese literature. A charming person and a kind friend also, always eager to share his immense knowledge. This photo was taken in October, 2002, and he is signing a copy of his Emperor Meiji's biography, not for me but for Enrique Krauze. The tape recorder there belongs to Enrique, who was making an interview, then published in Letras Libres.
Last of these links opens the autobiographical serial Keene has been publishing in the Yomiuri for the last 48 weeks, ended today (Dec. 23) with these two paragraphs:
" Some readers of my serial have expressed admiration for my ability to remember so much that happened long ago. I, on the contrary, am more aware of what I have forgotten. Recently I had the occasion to take out some old photographs. They show me standing next to other persons, all of us smiling at the camera. I don't remember either the places or who the people were. I search for a clue, perhaps words written on a wall in a foreign language, anything that might reveal in which country the picture was taken. All that survives of these moments are some photographs without captions.
"I have often regretted that I haven't kept a diary. A diary would surely help me to recapture much of the past. But perhaps it is just as well to have forgotten so much. If I remembered everything, I would recall things that frightened me when I was a small child, teachers I disliked at school, friends who I thought had betrayed me, people I loved who did not love me. No, it is probably better not to try to remember. I hope that this chronicle, for all its deficiencies, has at least suggested how one human being spent an essentially happy life." (Chronicles of My Life in the 20th Century).
This photo belongs to The Asiain Gallery.