Museum honoring Japan scholar Keene to open doors

Kyodo

A new museum built in honor of Donald Keene, a prominent U.S.-born scholar of Japanese literature, was opened to reporters Friday in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture, prior to its public unveiling Saturday.

At a news conference at the Donald Keene Center Kashiwazaki, Keene, 91, said: “I would not be here unless I happened to read the translated ‘Tale of Genji.’ I appreciate that the wonderful museum has been created.”

The museum is sponsored by Bourbon Corp., a major confectionery maker based in Kashiwazaki that refurbished its training facility to replicate Keene’s personal library in New York.

On display at the museum are around 2,500 items including his book collection and furniture. Visitors can also view a documentary depicting Keene’s life on a 200-inch screen.

The ties between Keene and Bourbon were established when he helped with the performance of a traditional Japanese puppet show in Kashiwazaki in 2009, to encourage people affected by the major quake that hit the region in 2007.

Keene obtained Japanese nationality last year.