The Japan Times asked author Suzanne Kamata to reach out to some of her fellow writers for their memories and thoughts about Donald Keene, the noted scholar of Japanese literature who died Sunday in Tokyo at age 96. Here is a short collection of their replies.
I wrote to Donald Keene when I was gathering stories for my first book, a collection of fiction by expatriates in Japan. I'd thought that being a writer, he might have, at one point, penned a short story set in Japan.
He graciously replied, on the back of a postcard featuring a swallowtail butterfly, "I have not written any fiction, published or unpublished, in Japan. I am sorry that I cannot join your distinguished group of writers."