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.