- November 10, 1978
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Biographical / Historical
Edward Seidensticker (February 11, 1921 – August 26, 2007) was a renowned scholar and translator of Japanese literature, particularly known for his English version of The Tale of Genji (1976). Born in Colorado, he studied English at the University of Colorado, graduating in 1942 and then enrolling in the Navy Japanese Language School in Boulder. He went on to serve with the US Marines as a language officer. With the Marines, he remained in Japan working as a translator from 1945 to 1946, when he returned to the States to get his master’s in Foreign Affairs from Columbia. He then became a Foreign Services officer in 1948 for the State Department which brought him to Japan until 1950. While there, he worked in the Diplomatic Section and Economic and Scientific Section of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. He then enrolled in Tokyo University to study literature, remaining in Japan until 1962. Back in the U.S., he went on to teach at Stanford University and the University of Michigan, before becoming a professor of Japanese literature at Columbia in 1978, where he remained until his retirement in 1985. Edward Seidensticker divided his remaining time between Hawaii and Japan before he passed away at the age of 86 while in Tokyo. In 1975, he received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, Third Class from the Emperor of Japan for his contributions which live on.