Donald Keene obtains Japanese citizenship; shows off 鬼怒鳴門 as his name

TOKYO —

Donald Keene, a world-renowned expert in Japanese literature and a professor emeritus at Columbia University, on Thursday announced that he has obtained Japanese citizenship at Tokyo’s Kita Ward Office.

Keen, 89, said he decided to move permanently to Japan and apply for Japanese nationality after he saw the destruction caused by the tsunami in the Tohoku region last March 11 and heard that many foreigners left Japan afterwards, NTV reported. He said he was moved by the resilient spirit of the Japanese in a traumatic situation and strongly sensed that he would like to live in Japan for the rest of his life.

Keene, who relocated to Japan last September, also introduced his name in kanji, 鬼怒鳴門 which is the phonetic equivalent of his name “Keene Donald.” The characters for 鬼怒 are derived from Kinugawa River and 鳴門 from Naruto City in Shikoku.

“I would like to play with words. I guess 怒鬼 literally means ‘an angry ogre,’ but that doesn’t match my personality. You guys decide if it’s a good name,” he said.

Japan Today

  • -12

    T_rexmaxytime

    His first name is 鬼 which means devil. hahaha

    ヤンキーみたいな名前良く選んだなw

  • 3

    Zen student

    Those kanji are way cool. Way to go Donald. Mr. Keene knows more about Japan than most Japanese people. He is the Lafcadio Hearn of our times.

  • 2

    yagura

    When you're 89 and have been involved with Japan as long as Mr. Keene is then you can get away choosing such kanji for your name.

    Actually I think the name of the river is the "Kinugawa" river and not the "Kidogawa" river (unless there is another river that uses those kanji). You got to be careful with those "ateji", they're tricky little buggers. If you don't pronounce it as "kinugawa" then you might not make the connection with "kiinu"

    Pretty high concept stuff that most people will probably not be able to correctly pronounce at first since you essentially have to read the "do" kanji twice in two different ways and voice the final "to" of "Naruto" as "do". Tricky stuff :D

    Kiinu = Keene, (Do)narudo = Donald

    Wish I knew how to write kanji on these posts. It would make things so much easier to follow.

    Moderator: The name of the kanji has been corrected.

  • -4

    smithinjapan

    I like the 'narudo' part, but on the whole the name doesn't work for me because if you go by Japanese names with four characters generally it's the family name that has two or three characters, not the first name. It would read more like, "Keendo narudo" if it were a normal Japanese four-character name. But hey, it doesn't have to work for me as it's not my name, and if the guy likes playing with words, all the power to him. And of course, now that he's Japanese and has taken on a Japanese name, HE can decide what is the first and family name. And good on this guy for the reason for staying here.

  • 5

    zichi

    Congrats to hime, new citizen at 89-years, I guess they cut the procedure time.

    I've had a kanji name for more than 15 years and a fistful of hanko's, 舞来庵 慈智 路蓮津

  • 1

    tamanegi

    So what happens when the j cops stop him to ask to see his arc?

  • 0

    DenTok2009

    Cool. I wonder if his application was fast tracked due to him being an expert. He made the decision after March 11 and here it is a few days shy and he's already a Japanese citizen. Seems like paperwork moves at a snail's pace. He's a professor at Columbia so is he going to spend his vacations here?

  • -1

    JapanGal

    Didn't some father try to use this kanji 鬼 last year for his son and it was rejected? Fill me in if I am wrong. I do not recall 100% on it.

    89 and totally with it. I hope he stays super healthy.

  • 1

    Elvensilvan

    So what happens when the j cops stop him to ask to see his arc?

    Cops don't ask for the "外国人登録証明書" outright. Rather, they'll ask for a "身分証明書". Only after staring at them for quite some time would they brnig out a small notebook and read you the English equivalent.

    Also, JFYI, the ARC is getting phased out starting July this year.

  • 2

    cleo

    JapanGal, if you're thinking of the same father I'm thinking of, he wanted to call his baby 悪魔 (Devil, Satan). The city office refused to accept it. I think it was a good while more than a year or so ago, though.

    There are plenty of Japanese surnames that contain 鬼.

    http://kanji.reader.bz/more/%E9%AC%BC

  • 0

    yagura

    smithinjapanMAR. 09, 2012 - 03:04PM JST I like the 'narudo' part, but on the whole the name doesn't work for me because if you go by Japanese names with four characters generally it's the family name that has two or three characters, not the first name. It would read more like, "Keendo narudo" if it were a normal Japanese four-character name. But hey, it doesn't have to work for me as it's not my name, and if the guy likes playing with words, all the power to him. And of course, now that he's Japanese and has taken on a Japanese name, HE can decide what is the first and family name. And good on this guy for the reason for staying here.

    There are lots of 3-character first names. Usually they are for women but there are some for men.

    For example: Michiko, Sachiko, Mieko, Ayako, Ayano, Kenjiro, etc., etc. can all be written in 3 characters.

    The trick in reading Mr. Keene's name is that not only the second kanji (the "do") both a part of the reading of his first and last names but the reading is different in each case. Kind of clever in my opinion.

  • -6

    kwatt

    His new mane is Demon + Anger + Sound + Gate. It means that "Angry demon sounds all the way." I just don't like it at all.

  • 2

    yagura

    zichiMAR. 09, 2012 - 03:07PM JST Congrats to hime, new citizen at 89-years, I guess they cut the procedure time. I've had a kanji name for more than 15 years and a fistful of hanko's, 舞来庵 慈智 路蓮津

    "buraian jichi rorantsu"

    Brian Zichi (or Jichi) Lorentz (or Lawrence)?

    Pretty cool.

  • 1

    Reckless

    This is just what Japan needs to reinvigorate itself! Another 80 year old.

  • -3

    smithinjapan

    yagura: "There are lots of 3-character first names. Usually they are for women but there are some for men."

    Lots of three character first names with one character surnames?

  • -3

    smithinjapan

    Meant to add, and meant to add before that as well, that I'm aware there are exceptions. I just don't think it works well as: 鬼 怒鳴門. He even adds that the characters 怒鬼 together mean 'angry ogre', implying that the name is a set of paired Kanji.

    But whatever. I still give the man kudos, and especially at 89.

  • -1

    garomakaikishi

    so why did he wait all these years to become a japanese? doesnt make sense to me. and why would japanese government give an 89 y.o. man a citizenship?

  • 1

    yagura

    smithinjapanMAR. 09, 2012 - 04:00PM JST yagura: "There are lots of 3-character first names. Usually they are for women but there are some for men." Lots of three character first names with one character surnames?

    But his surname is not read as just one character. It's read as a combination of the two.

    It's the combination of 鬼怒 that gives it the reading "kiinu". This is in reference to the "Kinugawa" river. You have take the two together for it to make sense.

    So, his name is sort of like: 鬼怒 (怒)鳴門

  • -1

    Drama Lama

    I wonder if he really gave up his American citizenship

  • -5

    Wakarimasen

    gave him citizenship to bring down average age in Japan. agree seems silly of him to apply so late in his life.....

  • 1

    Zen student

    His new name is Demon + Anger + Sound + Gate. It means that "Angry demon sounds all the way." I just don't like it at all.

    Kwatt, are you serious? What's not to like. That is one wicked (pun intended) name I gotta say!

  • 0

    GW

    I read it took him 4months to seal this deal, good on him I suppose but like so much in Japan clearly connections can grease things to make them happen faster................

  • 3

    Goals0

    He isn't using the kanji for his official name. It's just for these name cards.

    He made some other interesting comments as reported by Asahi:

    "Frankly, I am disappointed," Keene said when asked what he thought about post-disaster Japan.

    Immediately following the calamity, lights were turned off and elevators were shut down in Tokyo. "People are acting together to help those in the disaster-stricken Tohoku region," Keene said he thought at the time.

    "But now, there are so many bright (electric) signboards that are not necessary. And that is not just in Tokyo. People have probably forgotten about (the disaster)," he said.

  • -6

    tmarie

    which is the phonetic equivalent of his name “Keene Donald.” No it isn't. Phonetic represent sounds and do na ru do is NOT the equivalent to Donald.

    Four months for him? Glad to see the government isn't fair in this. How many of us have been here for years and are still waiting for permanent residence?

  • 2

    y3chome

    wow respecto, i remember using this dudes textbooks back in Uni

  • -2

    ebisen

    It is a great honour for Japan that such a highly intelligent and valuable person choose to become a Japanese...

  • 4

    zichi

    Yagura, 舞来庵 慈智 路蓮津

    Brian zichi Lorentz

  • 1

    yagura

    tmarieMAR. 09, 2012 - 04:45PM JST which is the phonetic equivalent of his name “Keene Donald.” No it isn't. Phonetic represent sounds and do na ru do is NOT the equivalent to Donald. Four months for him? Glad to see the government isn't fair in this. How many of us have been here for years and are still waiting for permanent residence?

    Permanent residency and citizenship are not solely based on "time served". Lots of other things come into play. It's not uncommon for professional athletes, etc. to be put on the fast track for citizenry because of their fame and because of their contributions to Japanese sport, culture, etc.

    From Wikipedia: "The Minister of Justice may waive the age and residence requirements if the applicant has a special relationship to Japan (for example, a Japanese parent)."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_nationality_law#Naturalization

    In Mr. Keene's case, I'm sure his age was a big factor but the guy has been "a friend of Japan" and promoting things Japanese for decades. He is an extraordinary person so they sped up the process for him. If you had a similar track record (if you do then I apologize) then you probably would be given the same consideration.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Keene

  • -6

    tmarie

    Permanent residency and citizenship are not solely based on "time served".

    PR does have a min period though. This guy just moved back, has been here less than a year and gets the red carpet rolled out for him. I doubt if he was a nobody this would have happened.

  • -4

    hot_dog_dynasty

    He decided to obtain citizenshp because other foreigners were fleeing Japan?

    I would have turned down his application. If his love and devotion to this country is dependent on the actions of others, well, conditional patriotism is not patriotism at all.

  • 0

    Ah_so

    so why did he wait all these years to become a japanese? doesnt make sense to me. and why would japanese government give an 89 y.o. man a citizenship?

    There is a good reason to give up US citizenship - tax. A US citizen can never escape the IRS, whereever he or she lives. The age of 89 is probably an ideal time to sever the link.

    And why would Japan give him citizenship? Well, it is not as though he is going to start a huge family and challenge the concept of what makes one "Japanese" by producing non-Japanese looking Japanese citizens.

  • -5

    smithinjapan

    yagura: "It's the combination of 鬼怒 that gives it the reading "kiinu". This is in reference to the "Kinugawa" river. You have take the two together for it to make sense. So, his name is sort of like: 鬼怒 (怒)鳴門"

    So you're admitting what I said -- it needs to literally be explained to make sense, and doesn't stand on its own. I know the reference to the river from the explanation in the article, but how many people who DON'T get his reference are going to understand what he himself and you explain? My point was as a four character name it does not work well with the one syllable surname and three syllable first name (using Japanese phonetics, anyway). I like the creativity the man put into the name and agree it's clever, and again it's his name and of course his choice, I'm just saying I think it's awkward.

    tmarie: "which is the phonetic equivalent of his name “Keene Donald.” No it isn't. Phonetic represent sounds and do na ru do is NOT the equivalent to Donald."

    It doesn't say it's exactly the same, it says it's the phonetic equivalent -- as in it's the closest you can get given the differences. I agree they don't at all sound the same, especially to the untrained ear (ie. people who are not used to Katakana-English), but it's not meant to imply they are exact.

    garomakaikishi: "so why did he wait all these years to become a japanese?"

    It states the reason why he chose to become a citizen when he did.

    "doesnt make sense to me. and why would japanese government give an 89 y.o. man a citizenship?"

    Money and fame (in this case both his reputation and the fact they can bilk his reason for citizenship in relation to the disasters of last year).

  • -2

    smithinjapan

    hot_dog: "I would have turned down his application. If his love and devotion to this country is dependent on the actions of others, well, conditional patriotism is not patriotism at all."

    Look at the man's history -- it's clear that was not the ONLY reason, just the final catalyst, perhaps. Obviously he has a long history with the literature and culture of this nation. Now, if you want to talk about why the media is making such a big deal of one person attaining Japanese nationality, I agree with you.

  • -1

    T_rexmaxytime

    ヤンキー 語録:

    **夜露死苦【よろしく】 愛死天流【あいしてる】 愛羅武勇【あいらぶゆう】 走死走愛【そうしそうあい】 ** **K.Donald: 【鬼怒鳴門】 **


    very similar!!

  • 1

    Serrano

    If my name was Donald Keene I wouldn't take that kanji as my name, lol.

  • 2

    Blair Herron

    You guys decide if it’s a good name

    Sorry, but I don't think it looks good.I have to agree with T_rexmaxytime. It looks like 暴走族 group name.

    How about...

    錦 努生登

    錦(kin)=beautiful color and pattern 

    努(do)=strive

    生(naru)=arrise

    登(to=do *ateji)=step up

  • -1

    koiwaicoffee

    Good, now let's see when his neighbors call him gaijin and speak to him in broken English only.

  • 11

    cleo

    why would japanese government give an 89 y.o. man a citizenship?

    This isn't just any old geezer. Look him up on wiki - he has a distinguished academic record in the field of Japanese Studies as long as your arm and then some, he's published stacks of books on Japanese topics in English and Japanese including a 4-volume history on Japanese literature that has become the standard work, he has honorary degrees from 9 Japanese universities, and in addition to a raft of other awards and commendations he's been decorated by the Emperor with the Order of the Rising Sun 2nd and 3rd class and the Order of Culture, and has been designated a Person of Cultural Merit by the Japanese government.

    Now those of you whining How come he gets fast-track treatment and I don't?, you can start complaining when you've done half the stuff he has.

    Congratulations, Professor.

  • 0

    kurumazaka

    Congrats, Dr. Keene! Regarding Permanent residency/citizenship, I have been told that citizenship is actually much easier to acquire.

  • -3

    GW

    Cleo, I have no argument with him getting a new passport, but surely you can understand how it may crate a bit on some of us pee-ons, its like the laws of this country, they apply to some, but no others, this one I aint sweating much but it is an example of special treatment, simple as that, nothing more, nothing less.

    And if yr fine with cool, just dont complain next time some prez or politician gets turn their nose up at the "laws" because they are special also

  • 3

    yagura

    tmarieMAR. 09, 2012 - 05:25PM JST PR does have a min period though. This guy just moved back, has been here less than a year and gets the red carpet rolled out for him. I doubt if he was a nobody this would have happened.

    That is the point. This guy isn't just a "nobody" (your word not mine). Which is probably why in his case the age and residence requirements were waived. Not sure why that is so difficult to accept. Probably there are lots of countries that do similar things for similar people.

  • 5

    cleo

    it is an example of special treatment,

    If anyone deserves special treatment from the Japanese government, I cannot think of anyone more qualified than Prof. Keene. It's not as if he just turned up out of the blue after the tsunami and asked for a favour on a whim. He has a longer, deeper, more illustrious connection with Japan than most Japanese people.

  • 2

    Ranger_Miffy2

    CLEO sums it up nicely. Clearly some JT commenters need to educate themselves about the great and long and original contributions Prof. Keene has made towards bringing Japanese literature to the world. He had some hassles and hoops to jump through in spite of his lofty authority. No one can escape that. Live long and prosper, Prof. Keene. This is good news to read.

  • 2

    yagura

    smithinjapanMAR. 09, 2012 - 05:44PM JST So you're admitting what I said -- it needs to literally be explained to make sense, and doesn't stand on its own. I know the reference to the river from the explanation in the article, but how many people who DON'T get his reference are going to understand what he himself and you explain? My point was as a four character name it does not work well with the one syllable surname and three syllable first name (using Japanese phonetics, anyway). I like the creativity the man put into the name and agree it's clever, and again it's his name and of course his choice, I'm just saying I think it's awkward.

    I'm not admitting what you said. I'm say that it seems like he considers his surname to be 鬼怒 (two characters) and he considers his given name to be 怒鳴門 (3 characters). He just chooses to write it as 鬼怒鳴門. I did say in my very first post that most people would probably not correctly pronounce it right the first time.

  • 1

    GDemmons

    Silly. Who cares. He has had an apartment here for many years. I hope his citizenship and the sale of his NY apartment will somehow bring peace to the 300,000 Tohoku refugees.

  • -1

    garomakaikishi

    im 40 and i was born in japan and i cant get a citizenship. but this old white dude gets it at 89?

  • 2

    yagura

    GWMAR. 09, 2012 - 07:25PM JST Cleo, I have no argument with him getting a new passport, but surely you can understand how it may crate a bit on some of us pee-ons, its like the laws of this country, they apply to some, but no others, this one I aint sweating much but it is an example of special treatment, simple as that, nothing more, nothing less. And if yr fine with cool, just dont complain next time some prez or politician gets turn their nose up at the "laws" because they are special also

    Yes, but it appears to be written into the law that the Minister of Justice has the ability to waive the age and residency requirements for people who have special relationship with Japan. That's not special treatment, that's part of the law.

    Mr. Keene has not been the first person this has been done for and he will probably not be the last.

  • -2

    tmarie

    Well said GW. If anyone deserves special treatment from the government, shouldn't it be those foreigners who have paid taxes here for years, help prop up the economy and have helped the population by getting married and having Japanese kids? Indeed, the guy has done a lot academically but what has he done in terms of actually helping Japan with their money problems and population issues?

    **It doesn't say it's exactly the same, it says it's the phonetic equivalent -- as in it's the closest you can get given the differences. I agree they don't at all sound the same, especially to the untrained ear (ie. people who are not used to Katakana-English), but it's not meant to imply they are exact. ** phonetics is related to sound. They could have said "Japanese equivalent" and I would have agreed. Phonetically it is not equivalent or anything near the same.

  • -1

    tmarie

    **He had some hassles and hoops to jump through in spite of his lofty authority. **

    Such as?

  • -4

    smithinjapan

    yagura: "I'm not admitting what you said. I'm say that it seems like he considers his surname to be 鬼怒 (two characters) and he considers his given name to be 怒鳴門 (3 characters). He just chooses to write it as 鬼怒鳴門."

    So you're not admitting what I said (that it doesn't stand without explanation) but have to explain that his name is 鬼怒怒鳴門 but that he writes it differently, and admit that most people will not pronounce it correctly and won't understand it without reference?

    That makes about as much sense as the name, I suppose.

  • -5

    smithinjapan

    yagura: And yes, you ARE admitting what I said by having to explain the meaning of the name -- it does not stand on its own.

  • -1

    warnerbro

    Lafcadio Hearn did strive to resuscitate what remained of premodern Japan during the late Meiji period, but he never really learned to read Japanese. Donald Keene translates Heian literature so his grasp of the language is far more profound.

  • -1

    GW

    Cleo, miffy,

    I dont think I or others have made light of Keene's accomplishments, just pointed out a bit of favoritism, what next will he get a free pass on toll roads, people to pump his gas at self serve stations, lower tax rate or something..........

  • 2

    Blair Herron

    Yagura says: Pretty high concept stuff that most people will probably not be able to correctly pronounce at first since you essentially have to read the "do" kanji twice in two different ways and voice the final "to" of "Naruto" as "do". Tricky stuff :D

    Yes. That’s exactly what Mr. Keene says.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fdMrbjqSIs

    Lots of three character first names with one character surnames?

    Yes.

    [popular one character surname]

    菅kan, 岡 oka, 星 hoshi, 林 hayashi, 森 mori, 東 higashi, 紺 kon, 仲 naka, 錦 nishiki, 原 hara

    [popular three character male first name]

    ~太郎taro(健太郎kentaro、幸太郎kotaro)

    ~次郎 jiro(健次郎kenjiro、幸次郎kojiro)

    ~一郎ichiro(健一郎kenichiro、幸一郎koichiro)

    ~之助nosuke(新之助shinnosuke、幸之助konosuke)

  • -4

    smithinjapan

    Blair: Again, while you miss the part where I said of course there are exceptions, you do not give any examples of combinations of both three character first names (and most of the names you mention for men are for people who are now seniors) and single character surnames, and in any case yagura still contradicts himself when he says I am wrong that it is not awkward but that it cannot really be read as it is in terms of the context.

    Bottom line is he says it's up to us to judge if it's a good choice or not, and regardless of the fact that I know it's really NOT up to us but of course is his decision, I say it's not a good choice. I'm entitled to my opinion.

  • -5

    smithinjapan

    GW: I think you've been called on this one in terms of favouritism. On the contrary, I think that now despite the fact he is Japanese he will never been seen as such by most, hence while accomplishing a lot and DESERVING what he has sought out and accomplished, he'll never really have it in essence because he is not of 'Japanese blood'. It'll always be a kind of honourary status.

  • -2

    Pukey2

    I'm wondering whether he got brownie points when he berated foreigners who selfishly fled Japan when the threat of radioactive contamination appeared. If I said the same about the Japanese who fled NZ after that earthquake, I wonder whether I could get extra points toward my application for NZ citizenship. But anyway, good for Japan and Mr Keene. They deserve each other - a win-win situation.

    There's a Japanese surname called 鬼頭. However, if a Chinese, especially one from HK, ever saw that name, they wouldn't be able to stop laughing.

  • 2

    Blair Herron

    There are three categories for naturalization in Japan

    [普通帰化futsu kika] [特別・簡易帰化tokubetsu/kani kika] [大帰化dai kika]

    http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%B8%B0%E5%8C%96#.E7.8F.BE.E4.BB.A3.E3.81.AE.E6.97.A5.E6.9C.AC.E3.81.AB.E3.81.8A.E3.81.91.E3.82.8B.E5.B8.B0.E5.8C.96

    You may be granted naturalization as 大帰化 by the Minister of Justice without having satisfied either conditions of 普通帰化 or 特別・簡易帰化 if your contribution to Japan is recognized by Japanese diet under the article 9 of the Japanese Nationality Act. Mr. Keene could be granted naturalization as 大帰化. In 2008, he was given the Order of Culture by the Japanese government in recognition of his contributions to promoting Japanese literature and culture in Europe and the United States.

  • -3

    smithinjapan

    Pukey: I know a couple of people with 鬼 in their surname, though not 鬼頭. As for laughable names, there are plenty in every language. I have a friend with the family name 河尻 and while it's not hard to imagine the etymology, 澤尻 is a lot more laughable but no one will deny Erika's status (deserved or not is another issue).

    Good point about the NZ earthquake and Japanese leaving. I recall heaps of tours being cancelled to NZ when that occurred, as well as people leaving back to Japan from Christchurch, but I don't recall any of the negative media (only 'it stands to reason'), nor people like 鬼怒(怒)鳴門 in NZ crying foul of people fleeing. While I admire the man's commitment to this nation and his background, I still say if someone feels they are in danger they have a right to leave if and when they can, and that part of the reason his nationality change is getting so much attention is because he is a rare example of a 'foreigner' (and now he's not, but will still be seen as one for the rest of his life) speaking out against foreigners who were labelled 'fly-jin' in the face of very rightful and legitimate concerns (regarding the government's lack of transparency and info on the Fukushima NPP and their very poor handling of the earthquake/tsunami as a whole).

  • 1

    Newsman

    Cleo: Amen.

  • 4

    yagura

    smithinjapanMAR. 09, 2012 - 08:58PM JST yagura: And yes, you ARE admitting what I said by having to explain the meaning of the name -- it does not stand on its own.

    Not really. I said in my first post that it would be hard for some people to pronounce correctly the first time around. I'm just repeating that. I am not contradicting myself. My first post was before yours so if anything you are agreeing with me.

    Also, the name of the river 鬼怒川 and that area while not very familiar to you, may be more familiar to Japanese people. It's a pretty big river so it's not too much of a leap to say that some Japanese people would know the reading "kinu" for 鬼怒 even if you or I didn't at first.

    You also said his surname is the one character 鬼. I said it's seems to be the two characters 鬼怒. Again this is not me agreeing with you.

    You said that it is not usual to have 3-character family names and only single character first names. I said it's not all that uncommon. You can take any of the surnames and given names that Blair Herron gave you and combined them into a name. Again this is not me agreeing with you.

    Finally I never said it was a good or bad choice. I said it was kind of clever.

  • -2

    tmarie

    GW: I think you've been called on this one in terms of favouritism. On the contrary, I think that now despite the fact he is Japanese he will never been seen as such by most, hence while accomplishing a lot and DESERVING what he has sought out and accomplished, he'll never really have it in essence because he is not of 'Japanese blood'. It'll always be a kind of honourary status.

    Exactly. This is what I tell Japanese people who assume I got citizenship when I got married. When I ask if they would see me as Japanese I always get told "no" so what is the point? I would get to vote but still face the same issues every visible foreigner in Japan does. What's the point of chucking away my Canadian citizenship to become Japanese and then not be accepted as one? For Americans and taxes I get it but for many others, why bother? What is the appeal?

  • 2

    zichi

    Nothing more than what he has earned and fully deserved.

  • 2

    Blair Herron

    most of the names you mention for men are for people who are now seniors

    I don’t think so.

    [Rank of popular baby boy names in 2010]

    健太郎54, 虎(こ)太郎(たろう)69, 凜太郎112, 琥太郎160, 遼太郎199

    http://5go.biz/sei/cgi/ninki1.htm

    [Japanese actors in 20s,30s,40s]

    小泉孝太郎(Koizumi Kotaro 34) 安部新之助(Abe Shinnosuke 30) 尾崎英二郎(Ozaki Eijiro43) 大下源一郎(Oshita Genichiro33) 兼崎健太郎(Kanesaki Kentaro 28) 賀川黒之助(Kagawa Kuronosuke47) 小谷昌太郎(Kotani Shotoaro25) 坂口涼太郎(Sakaguchi Ryotaro22) 清水宏次朗(Shimizu Kkojiro47) 白川裕二郎(Shirakawa Yujiro36) 清水良太郎(Shimizu Ryotaro24) 鈴木龍之介(Suzuki Ryunosuke20) 高田 宏太郎(Takada Kotaro29) 津田健次郎(Tsuda Kenjiro41) 中村誠治郎(Nakamura Seijiro32) 増田修一朗(Masuda Shujiro32)

    http://dir.yahoo.co.jp/Entertainment/TV_People/Actors_and_Actresses/Japanese_Actors/WhitePages/wp_0.html

    you do not give any examples of combinations of both three character first names (and most of the names you mention for men are for people who are now seniors) and single character surnames.

    原 沙知子(Hara Sachiko, actress), 原 奈津子(Hara Natsuko, actress), 原 紗央莉(Hara Saori, actress) 原 久美子(Hara Kumiko, actress) 岡 幸次郎(Oka Kojiro, musician) 林 真理子(Hayashi Mariko, writer), 林 明日香(Hayashi Asuka, tarento) 林 亜紀子(Hayashi Akiko,pro snowboarder) 林 邦史朗(Hayashi Kunishiro, fencer), 林 健太郎(Hayashi Kentaro, soccer player), 林 壮之介(Hayashi Sonosuke, Japan Purple Co., CEO)

    I say it's not a good choice. I'm entitled to my opinion.

    I agree. As I mentioned above, 鬼怒鳴門 looks like Bosozoku name. or it reminds me of 酒鬼薔薇. I recommend 錦 努生登.

    His kanji name is just for his name card or more like for fun. His official name in 戸籍(koseki) is written in Katakana.

  • 0

    GyGene

    ボンド、ジェイームズ・ボンド。。。

    Oh well, maybe his citizenship will do something to help somebody... I have had permanent residence, but not citizenship...

  • 0

    shanabelle

    He is a great academic and translator, but if you read many of his commentaries on Japanese society・・・・like many old school academics, he has always seemed somewhat out of touch socially. (Read them!) So his choice of 'an angry ogre' is absolutely spot-on, Donald you have summed yourself up so well!

  • 0

    TheQuestion

    Until my first assignment in Japan I worked primarily out of Detroit and delt primarily in office reviews in Lyon. Making the jump from western management and complieance to asian practices was tough but Keene's books "Japanese Literature an Introduction for Western Readers" and "Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan" gave some excellent perspective (not in the compliance so much but definatly in getting accustomed to custom). His work in translating literary works is also more than praise worth.

    Chronicles also taught me a new appreciation for the fine young woman that offered to proofread my documents after getting wind of some jokes at my expense. Learning a language is hard enough, but getting idioms and some of the more subtle word plays through a skull as thick as mine was a miracle. Translators deserve more respect than they generally get, I try my best to give them the credit they've earned.

    Congratulations are in order. If anybody deserved a fast track it would be Donald Keene.

    He is a great academic and translator, but if you read many of his commentaries on Japanese society・・・・like many old school academics, he has always seemed somewhat out of touch socially. (Read them!)

    I kind of liked some of his work for that exact reason. The commentaries are largely for non-japanese so if you go to in-depth you lose the audience. Its a nice middle of the road approach between forcing full imersion and a clinical study of japanesse society.

  • -3

    nigelboy

    I dont think I or others have made light of Keene's accomplishments, just pointed out a bit of favoritism, what next will he get a free pass on toll roads, people to pump his gas at self serve stations, lower tax rate or something..........

    No GW. You simply ignored it before Cleo educated you. He gets special treatment because he's "special". On the flip side, there are tons of caucasian gaijin who are qualified to attain citizenship despite the fact that he/she still can't fill out his/her name and address on an application in Japanese due to the simple fact that he/she is married to a Japanese citizen.

    As for his Kanji, pretty cool if you ask me. 鬼怒(川)and 鳴門 Read separately by two characters, two geographic locations. Displayed together looks like ヤンキー(yankee, no pun intended)語録. 怒 character having two sounds (nu) and (do) =Kiinu Donarudo.

  • 0

    oginome

    @TheQuestion;

    Any books which naviagate through American culture and its economic wasteland that you would recommend? I find it hard to get to grips with that strange country.

  • 0

    cleo

    When I ask if they would see me as Japanese I always get told "no" so what is the point?

    The point (for those who choose to go that way) is presumably that the foreign-nationality-related paperwork disappears. How strangers 'look at you' is irrelevant and seems a strange criterion to base a decision over nationality on.

  • -4

    LH10

    don't like this, he's not japanese...

  • 3

    bicultural

    LH10, he is indeed "Japanese." It refers to his citizenship, not the color of his skin. I also have a Japanese passport, but English is my first language and I look a bit different from most of my neighbors here in Tokyo.

  • 1

    GW

    No GW. You simply ignored it before Cleo educated you

    NBoy,

    Cleo did NOTHING in the way of my education in this regard, its clear you both favour favouritism LOL!, I dont that simple really.

    So you have 3people with their applications in, one, run of the mill person, two, a Japanese scholar, three, someone inbetween 1& 2, now while you & Cleo have no problems fast tacking #2 , personally I think ALL THREE shud go through the same process.

    Japan is bad enough these sorts of things in many aspects of life here, imo ever so correct opinion Japan needs to DO AWAY with special treatments of people business, politicians etc, not increase it.

    There now hopefully you'll learn something though I wont be betting on you.

  • 0

    cleo

    Saying Prof Keene is 'a Japanese scholar' is a bit like saying Godzilla is a newt.

  • 1

    havill

    Who wrote this? This headline is false. That name is (obviously) a joke. To quote a more authoritative source:

    http://mainichi.jp/select/wadai/news/20120309ddm012040160000c.html

    「鬼怒鳴門(キーン・ドナルド)」と書かれた名刺を区からプレゼントされると満面の笑みを見せた。言葉遊びが好きで、自分の名と音が似ている「鬼怒川」と「鳴門」から漢字を当てた。戸籍名は片仮名で「キーン・ドナルド」とするという。

    In short, he neither chose that name nor is it his official name on his family register.

    More info here:

    http://www.turning-japanese.info/2012/03/donald-keene-becomes-japanese.html

  • 2

    Ranger_Miffy2

    Prof. Keene richly deserves his Japanese citizenship. He has devoted his entire long life to Japanese literature, noh theatre, and more. His translations brought the rich range of Japanese literature into the readers of English. His academic work, mostly at Columbia, is absolutely foundational to creating the scholars who went on to establish departments of Japanese in major universities in the USA and the rest of the world. He has asked for nothing by way of special favors. Just did the work, day after day after day. And, he is a warm and charming man, to boot. What more do you want?

    Just because he is now an "old, white dude" does nothing to denigrate him and just highlights the ignorance of the commentator. Let's hear what his detractors here plan to accomplish and contribute to the wider world by their 89th year.

  • 0

    GW

    Saying Prof Keene is 'a Japanese scholar' is a bit like saying Godzilla is a newt.

    Haha nice one, my example was just an example, notice how I didnt put Keene's name in there.........anyway since you obviously seem to know "what" Keene is title wise, dont keep it a secret I am sure many are waiting to hear!

  • -2

    tmarie

    The point (for those who choose to go that way) is presumably that the foreign-nationality-related paperwork disappears. How strangers 'look at you' is irrelevant and seems a strange criterion to base a decision over nationality on. Getting rid of the paperwork isn't such a perk if you have to continuously explain to people - say, the people at immigration - that you are Japanese. Let alone your employers, the nosy people who ask you about it, students... I get asked enough IF I am Japanese and they accept it when I say no. Couldn't imagine the ignorance I would face if I did "become" Japanese. Look at the comments here with him not being Japanese - from foreigners. No imagine how much worse it would be from the Japanese. No thanks.

  • 1

    cleo

    since you obviously seem to know "what" Keene is title wise, dont keep it a secret I am sure many are waiting to hear!

    I've no idea what you mean. His title is 'Professor'.....it's no secret....

    one, run of the mill person, two, a Japanese scholar, three, someone inbetween 1& 2, now while you & Cleo have no problems fast tacking #2 , personally I think ALL THREE shud go through the same process

    The 'process' involves taking into consideration what contributions the person has made to Japan. In that sense, all three are going through the same process - #1 nothing special, #2 slam dunk if the contribution is as massive as that of the Prof, #3 depends whether the person is nearer #1 or #2. What you want to do is hold the Olympics and either give everyone a gold for just turning up, or give no one any kind of medal so that no one feels left out.

    From the Nationality Act -

    第九条 日本に特別の功労のある外国人については、法務大臣は、第五条第一項の規定にかかわらず、国会の承認を得て、その帰化を許可することができる。

    (Article 9 The Minister of Justice may obtain approval from the Diet and permit naturalization of a foreign national having provided a special distinguished service in Japan notwithstanding the provision of Article 5, paragraph (1).)

    (Article 5 paragraph (1) is the bit about continuously having a domicile in Japan for 5 years).

  • -2

    tmarie

    Cleo, don't you think others who have paid into the pension/health care system, pay taxes, have given Japan more children... deserve more consideration than a scholar who hasn't really done any of the above? Japan needs more and people more than they need academics - regardless of birth country.

    And then this leads me to ask why on earth the first foreign geisha was turned down for PR when SHE also gave a lot to Japan in terms of culture, education, taxes and the like. PR and she got turned down. Why the special treatment for him but not for her?

  • -1

    tmarie

    For the info... on "Sayuki" http://www.debito.org/?p=1664

  • 0

    cleo

    don't you think others who have paid into the pension/health care system, pay taxes, have given Japan more children... deserve more consideration than a scholar who hasn't really done any of the above?

    If you can call Prof. Keene 'a scholar who hasn't contributed to Japan', then I must assume you don't know who he is. No, I don't think people who have simply gone about their daily lives and happened to do it in Japan deserve more than an extraordinary man who has made an enormous and indelible mark on the world of Japanese literature and culture.

    I can't find anywhere in the Nationality Act where it says having a pension, paying taxes or being a parent are conditions for acquiring nationality.

  • 1

    cleo

    I don't know any of the particulars of Sayuki and her application for PR, but I'd be willing to bet debito's story isn't the whole story....

  • -1

    GW

    I've no idea what you mean.

    read yr post 3/10 @12:01 for a clue

  • -4

    tmarie

    Cleo, those people who live their day to day life contribute to the economics and population issue. This guy hasn't done either. In terms of this, he's done nothing. Not that he hasn't done anything at all.

    If Japan came out of the dark ages and allowed dual, I'd be first in line. Until then, a Japanese passport offers zero incentive to most foreigners here.

  • 0

    cleo

    those people who live their day to day life contribute to the economics and population issue. This guy hasn't done either. In terms of this, he's done nothing.

    Sorry, but I think 3 decorations from the Emperor and one from the government do put him in a class apart from the rest of us who are basically just obeying the laws of the land (atarimae). How many of those people who came to Japan to contribute to the economy and population owe at least a part of their interest in/knowledge of Japan to this man, whether directly or indirectly? I know I did.

    If Japan came out of the dark ages and allowed dual, I'd be first in line.

    :-) Not if I get there first.

  • 2

    zichi

    Cleo,

    I agree with most of what you have said. If any foreigner is deserving to be given his request to be a Japanese citizen, even if it was fast tracked, it's Donald Keene. Over the years he spent much time in Japan too. His contribution is enormous. He has come to enjoy his last years and prepare for his death in a way he wants.

    But Keene played no part in my coming to Japan to live and I've read very little by him.

  • -3

    tmarie

    He played zero part in mine as well. Cleo, perhaps he has for you but I'd be willing to bet your average Japanese and foreigner have no idea who he is and what he's done. That not to be disrespectful but is the truth.

    And I'll fight you to be first! ;)

  • 1

    cleo

    tmarie, we can stand together and do janken one minute before they open the doors. :-)

    Anyone who had any interest in Japan before they came and did any reading-up on the culture of Japan are likely to have read something that was influenced by him, even if they didn't directly and knowingly read what he wrote and never heard his name until today.

  • 2

    rmistric

    @Cleo

    Wasting your time trying to reason with people like tmarie. All they want to focus on is the negative. Some 89 year guy got citizen for whatever reason and people like tmarie feel like they're being cheated in some way.

    No matter how distinguished a career Dr. Keene has had, not matter what his contributions in helping the rest of the world learn a little more about Japan were, people like tmarie who see him as taking something he wasn't entitled too.

  • 2

    MASSWIPE

    Much of this thread explains why I sometimes hate the internet. People denigrating and downplaying the accomplishments of Donald Keene--really? His accomplishments amount to nothing, his work means nothing to the average Japanese person--really? I shake my head at such comments written by people who will never be known by anything other than their anonymous online names. Keene has accomplished more in his life than most of us could ever hope for. No problem at all that Japan exercised its right as a sovereign nation to confer citizenship on him.

    Keene never married, but he was quoted as saying that he had married a wife called Japan. If such sentiments make some of you sick, Keene himself doesn't care, and one has to ask why you are involved with Japan at all if you react in such a manner to Keene's pro-Japanese sentiments.

  • 1

    loserville

    Anyone who has spent anytime in a Japanese literature or culture course in college, from 100 level up to graduate will have come across Donald Keene. He is one of a few scholars of Noh Theater and because of his work I have decided to become a scholar in Noh. To belittle and denigrate his contributions to Japanese studies is absurd, and to say he has given nothing to Japanese society is ridiculous. This man has probably given more to Japanese Society than most people ever can. He deserves this, so stop your gripping.

  • -1

    mitoguitarman

    Interesting. But the problem is how to get millions of YOUNG foreigners to become Japanese. Without many young people coming here, the country will die with a whimper.

  • -2

    Ch1n4Sailor

    Donald Keene, a world-renowned expert in Japanese literature and a professor emeritus at Columbia University, on Thursday announced that he has obtained Japanese citizenship at Tokyo’s Kita Ward Office.

    Good luck... No matter what nationality your passport now reads, or how great your knowledge of Japan, you'll always be considered a foreigner, "外国人" and treated accordingly. Unfortunately for him, he will find out what 70 years in a University couldn't teach him, about reality in Japan.

  • 1

    AreYouKiddingMe

    Keene is officially a national treasure of Japan, in terms of academia. When I found out he resigned from Columbia and moved here, I was eager for him to start lecturing :-| It is THE equivalent to importing the "Adam Smith" of Japanese Studies to Japan (from US). Congrats to Keene on his citizenship.

  • 0

    Daijoboots

    Donald Keene, a world-renowned expert in Japanese literature

    with surprisingly crap pronunciation. Obviously no one dared or bothered to point out a syllable or two.

    Sorry to bring this thread back from the dead, but I saw footage of the dude on tv last night and was left speechless (despite my amazing pronuncation).

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