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June 09, 1996|CHARLES SOLOMON

ON FAMILIAR TERMS: To Japan and Back, A Lifetime Across Cultures by Donald Keene (Kodansha: $14; 292 pp., illustrated). Donald Keene has done as much as any individual to interest Americans in Japanese culture. In this warm, intellectual memoir, the noted author, scholar and translator recalls how an exceptional professor and the need for translators during World War II led him to devote his life to Japanese literature. The most interesting passages describe his friendships with Yukio Mishima, Yasunari Kawabata, Kenzaburo Oe and other giants of 20th century letters.

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