One of the greatest scholars of Japanese literature, 83-year-old Donald Keene has spent the past 52 years in Japan, with the exception of his time spent teaching at Columbia University in New York, where, in 1986, The Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture was established in his honor. So far he has published about 40 books in English and 50 or so in Japanese, received countless awards and has been named a Person of Cultural Merit (Bunka Koro-sha) by the Japanese government.

I forget that I am not Japanese. I don't feel like a stranger here, but then someone asks me if I can eat sashimi and I feel as shocked as any Japanese would be. Of course, most Japanese don't know that Emperor Meiji never ate sashimi because he disliked it immensely.

I am a missionary of Japanese culture. I propagate it in the West to people who might never have heard of anything Japanese. I believe that it could be an important part of their life.