The People and Culture of Japan
Conversations Between Donald Keene and Shiba Ryotaro
Donald Keene and Shiba Ryotaro
Translated by Tony Gonzalez
Hardcover | ISBN 978-4-916055-57-6 | 174 pages | 210mm (h) x 148mm (w) | March 2016
- About the Book
This book features conversations between Donald Keene, a preeminent scholar of Japanese literature, and Shiba Ryotaro, the author who continued to contemplate the human condition through his original and distinctive lens of history. These talks―which mainly explore the foundation of Japanese culture―took place in Japanese on three occasions in 1971, in the historic cities of Nara, Kyoto and Osaka. Drawing on their profound insights into Japan's relations with foreign cultures over the course of Japanese history, the two engage in a passionate discussion of their first-hand impressions and observations of Japanese culture.
- About the Author
Donald Keene was born in New York in 1922. He graduated from Columbia University in 1942 and immediately entered the Navy Japanese Language School. He served as a translator and interpreter during the war. Afterwards, he obtained a doctoral degree from Columbia. He first taught at Cambridge University in 1948-53. He spent 1953-5 at Kyoto University. He became a professor at Columbia in 1955. Since then he has published about 50 books relating to Japanese literature. He received the Medal of Culture in 2008.
Shiba Ryotaro was born in Osaka in 1923, and graduated from the Mongolian department at the Osaka Foreign Language School. In 1960, while working as a newspaper reporter, he received the Naoki Prize for his first novel Fukuro no shiro (Castle of Owls), after which he became a full-time novelist. He has received many other awards, including the Japan Art Academy’s Imperial Award, for his many historical works such as Kukai no fukei (Kukai the Universal: Scenes from his Life). He received the Order of Culture in 1993. Other main works include Ryoma ga yuku (Ryoma Goes his Way), Kaido o yuku (On the Highway), Kono Kuni no Katachi (The Form of Our Country), and Saka no ue no kumo (Clouds above the Hill). He died in February 1996.