8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Appreciation of Japanese Culture (Paperback)Donald Keene is the foremost scholar of Japanese Culture. He could be considered a living national treasure, and I feel fortunate to be alive as his contemporary. His body of work is enormous, his influence immeasurable; his importance cannot be overstated.
Don't be put off by the copyright date of this book, which is 1971 (despite what the information states, this is probably a third edition of the book, but I believe all three editions are identical aside from the cover). The material is relevent and perennial. Historical Japan has not changed, and Keene's insights are every bit as valid now as they were when they were set down on paper (most of the material in this book actually predates the 1971 copyright). The suggested reading list at the back of the book is a superb springboard for further study, should a certain topic particularly amuse the reader, and the listed volumes are also excellent and continue to be highly relevent.
While a new edition is well-purchased at $22, an older edition can be had cheaply. I personally own the second edition and am quite pleased with it. I actually find myself here looking for a hardbound version, but, as one does not exist, I must make do with asserting my heartfelt opinion for this volume.
Basically amounting to an Anthology of Keene of sorts, a collection of some of his writings on Japan, it's an invaluable text. Were I to teach a general class in Japanese culture, this would surely be a book to include; perhaps it would be the only book necessary. Infinitely readable, inspirational, interesting, and difficult to put down, I couldn't recommend it more highly.
If my contributions to the study of Japan and the bridging of cultures amount to even a percentage of Keene's, my life will have been quite a productive one.
Another option to pursue is another collection of Keene's writings called, "The Blue-Eyed Taroukaja," and its copyright is much more recent. It's also highly recommended alongside this one.