Donald Keene – Japanese Citizen

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    Japan scholar Donald Keene gives a press conference to announce that he is now a Japanese citizen:

    Keene joked that he would try not to commit any crimes, drawing some laughter from reporters.

    Right after the March 11 disaster, Keene saw the stoic suffering of people in the Tohoku region on TV.

    Worried over the news that an increasing number of foreigners were leaving the country, Keene made up his mind to permanently live in Japan. “I wanted to endure the hardships with the Japanese, who had taken good care of me, at a difficult time like this,” he said.

    Keene applied for Japanese citizenship in November last year.

    He wondered how long it would take to obtain citizenship, but officials only told him it would take some time. He sometimes expressed his anxiety to people around him, saying, “As I’m already 89 years old, I don’t have much time left.”

    Naturalization applications usually take much longer to process. Special attention was given to Keene because of his superstar status.

    He also picked an interesting combination of kanji for his pseudonym: 鬼怒鳴門 (キーン・ドナルド – Kiin Donarudo). It uses characters from two places in Japan: the Kinugawa River (鬼怒川) and Naruto City (鳴門市) in Tokushima prefecture.

    Update: Wondering why Keene picked such a bizarre combination of kanji for his pseudonym? A 2channel aggregation blog contains this comment:


    「三島由紀夫未発表書簡 ドナルド・キーン氏宛の97通」という


    要するにシャレ、ジョーク、遊び ってこった。

    According to somebody who read this book, Yukio Mishima made up various amusing kanji forms of Keene’s name. Keene may have adopted one of Mishima’s joke names as a tribute to his late friend.

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