Japan Studies Program & East Asia Center, The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies & The Japan-America Society of State of Washingto





Professor Emeritus and Shincho Professor Emeritus of Japanese Literature at Columbia University



"Ashikaga Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion"


Professor Keene was the first non-Japanese to receive the Yomiuri Literary Prize for the best book of literary criticism in Japanese (awarded in 1985 for the original Japanese version of Travellers of a Hundred Ages).  He has published approximately 25 books in English, consisting of studies of Japanese literature and culture, translations of Japanese works of both classical and modern literature, and edited works. Professor Keene’s Japanese publications include approximately 30 books, some written originally in Japanese, others translated from English. His latest publications include a biography of Emperor Meiji in two volumes and the English text, Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912.  He was awarded the “Bunka Koro Sha” (Order of Distinguished Cultural Contribution) for notable services in the field of culture by the Japanese Emperor in 2002.


Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1435-90) probably contributed more than any other individual to the formation of Japanese taste.  The interior of the palace he built for his retirement, the Ginkaku-ji (The Temple of the Silver Pavilion), was decorated by ink paintings and flower arrangements and was surrounded by gardens in different styles.  It was probably where the tea ceremony was first performed.  Yoshimasa was also a patron of the No theatre and a practitioner of linked verse.  There was hardly an art of the time in which he was not proficient.  In spite of Yoshimasa’s ineffectual public and personal lives and widespread warfare during his reign, the buildings at Ginkaku-ji stand today as testimony to his contribution to Japanese culture.


FEBRUARY 28, 2003

FRIDAY, 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.