Donald Keene’s recently published So Lovely a Country Will Never Perish: Wartime Diaries of Japanese Writers represents the latest in the scholar’s influential oeuvre in Japanese literature and culture.
In the book, Keene weaves archival materials together with personal reflections and the intimate accounts from writers’ diaries to produce an entirely original portrait of Japanese wartime attitudes. Writers included in the book include Nagai Kafu, Takami Jun, Ito Sei, Hirabayashi Taiko, Yamada Futaro, and the scholar Watanabe Kazuo.
Last Fall, the Japan Times taped an interview with Donald Keene on a variety of issues. Here are some excerpts, the first of which is his response to a question about his first impressions of Japan:
Keene on how his experience influenced his study of Japanese: