Donald Keene at home: Tokyo, 2002

    Newer Older

    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.

    PacoAlcantara, elcalamar, Jeff Kubina, and 29 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. Bavid Dailey ages ago | reply

      Lighting and focus is a bit too much on the book which I feel detracts from the facial features of the portrait.

      Score : 7/10 from the Rate My Portrait group

    2. Dr Tao ages ago | reply

      Great portraiture of a great person (and great personality), indeed!
      Well, his legendary books about history of Japanese Art, culture, literature, theatre etc........... are among my favorites.............. Really, a must for an expert in the field of Japanese culture!

      Many thanks for sharing with us!

    3. Dr Tao ages ago | reply

      I faved and tagged your picture with BRAVO and this serves as an invitation to The Best: BRAVO
      You are invited to post this image to " The Best: BRAVO, invite only"

    4. madelyn * persisting stars ages ago | reply

      He is so settled in this photo - the beauty of a life
      thoughtfully lived and well observed.

    5. excited protest [deleted] ages ago | reply

      Your excellent photo deserves a Tornado Award.

    6. nouredine ages ago | reply

      thanx for invitation !
      Your excellent photo deserves a Tornado Award.

    7. michaelab311 ages ago | reply

      This is really interesting... Sometimes I think without my diaries I would have forgotten half of my past and have a wrong memory of the other half...

      Great portrait of a great man!

      Seen in the 6+Faves, 100+Views, Leave 2 Comments Group

    8. myjuditz ( on Hubble ) ages ago | reply

      Very beautiful composition, light and tones are awesome!

      I viewed this in the Bonza GalleryBonza Gallery

    9. marcus_Z! ages ago | reply

      Great Portrait! Fave!

      I saw this in the 10+ Faves group and Faved it.

    10. K. Sawyer Photography ages ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called The Writer's Haven, and we'd love to have your photo added to the group.

    11. amirjina ages ago | reply

      Oh wow. うらやましい!

      I am eternally indebted to Donald Keene for his Anthologies of Japanese literature. The only place that I could find some of the Manyoshu and oh so many other goodies that I have come to love (and some of the main reasons I came here to live).

      My Japanese progresses slowly, but I will not stop until I can read the things I love in the language they were written. But in the meantime, I have translations - many from this man.

      And I love that he is using a fountain pen! Great picture.

      Found in a search. (?)

    12. H I R O A R T 104 months ago | reply

      Good picture.
      I like his books. 『日本との出会い』 『日本文学の歴史』・・・
      He is great.

    13. aaron_language 100 months ago | reply

      That is a wonderful picture of Donald Keene writing. We wanted to let you know that we have downloaded your photo and are considering using it for a short movie on being a better writer. Our website is at Thanks for making your photo available with a Creative Commons license.

    14. aurelio.asiain 100 months ago | reply

      Thanks a lot, @swingthesickle and @aaron_language. Please let me know if you finally find it useful. Best,


    15. aaron_language 95 months ago | reply

      We have finally finished our movie with your photo. You can see it at Thank you again for the Creative Commons license and the great photo. We are now working on a second version of this movie with Japanese subtitles. We hope it will be up in the next month or so, but it could be longer.

    16. 54StorminWillyGJ54 89 months ago | reply

      This is really interesting indeed!

    17. jadegraham606 36 months ago | reply

      i have a question about: so in this symbolic, there would be chocolate chips and sprinkles

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts