Seidensticker, Edward G. 1921–

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Seidensticker, Edward G. 1921–

PERSONAL: Born February 21, 1921, in Castle Rock, CO; son of Edward George (a rancher) and Mary Elizabeth (Dillon) Seidensticker. Education: University of Colorado, B.A., 1942; Columbia University, M.A., 1947; graduate study at Harvard University, 1947–48, and Tokyo University, 1950–54.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027. Agent—c/o Author Mail, University of Washington Press, P.O. Box 50096, Seattle, WA 98145-5096.

CAREER: Educator, translator, writer, and editor. U.S. Foreign Service, State Department, Japan, 1947–50; Stanford University, Stanford, CA, professor of Japanese, 1962–66; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, professor of Japanese, 1966–77; Columbia University, New York, NY, professor of Japanese, 1977–85, professor emeritus, 1986–. Military service: U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, 1942–46.

AWARDS, HONORS: Order of the Rising Sun, Japan; National Book Award, 1971, for translation The Sound of the Mountain; Kikuchi Kan Prize, 1977; Goto Miyoko Prize, 1982; Japan Foundation prize, 1984; Tokyo Cultural award, 1985; Litt.D., University of Maryland, 1991; Yamagata Banto Prize, 1992; doctor of humane letters, University of Hawai'i.


(With others) Japan, Time-Life (New York, NY), 1961.

Kafu the Scribbler: The Life and Writings of Nagai Kafu, 1879–1959, Stanford University Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1965.

Genji Days, Kodansha (New York, NY), 1977.

(Editor with Hyoe Murakami) Guide to Japanese Culture, Japan Publications, 1977.

This Japan, Kodansha (New York, NY), 1979.

Low City, High City: Tokyo from Edo to the Earthquake, Knopf (New York, NY), 1983.

Tokyo Rising: The City since the Great Earthquake, Knopf (New York, NY), 1990.

Very Few People Come This Way: Lyrical Episodes from the Year of the Rabbit, In Print (Brighton, England), 1994.

Tokyo Central: A Memoir, University of Washington Press (Seattle, WA), 2002.

Contributor to 30 Things Japanese, edited with notes by Jiro Ozu and Noriko Jujimaki, Humi Shobo (Tokyo, Japan), 1978.


Komiya Toyotaka, editor, Japanese Music and Drama in the Meiji Era, Obunsha, 1956.

(With Donald Keene) Yasunari Kawabata, The Izu Dancer, Harashobo, 1964.

Fujiwara Michitsuna, The Gossamer Years: The Diary of a Noblewoman of Heian Japan, Tuttle (Rutland, VT), 1964.

Kawabata, Japan the Beautiful and Myself, Kodansha (New York, NY), 1968.

Kawabata, House of the Sleeping Beauties, Kodansha (New York, NY), 1969.

Kawabata, The Sound of the Mountain, Knopf (New York, NY), 1970.

(With Glenn William Shaw) Masuji Ibuse, Honjitsu kyushin: No Consultation Today (bilingual edition), Hava Shoko, 1971.

Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji, Knopf (New York, NY), 1976.

(With Thomas J. Harper) Junichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows, Leetes (New Haven, CT), 1977.

Yuko Mishima, The Decay of the Angel, Vintage International (New York, NY), 1990.

Junichiro Tanizaki, The Makoka Sisters, Vintage International (New York, NY), 1995.

Junichiro Tanizaki, Some Prefer Nettles, Vintage International (New York, NY), 1995.

Yasunari Kawabata, Snow Country, Vintage International (New York, NY), 1996.

Yasunari Kawabata, Thousand Cranes, Vintage International (New York, NY), 1996.

Also translator of The Kagero Nikki: Journal of a Tenth Century Noblewoman, by Fujiwara Michitsuna no haha, Tokyo, 1955.


Seiyo no Genji Nihon no Genji, Kasam Shoin (Tokyo, Japan), 1984.

Wtakushi no Tokyo, Fujimi Shoboi (Tokyo, Japan), 1989.

Also author of Japanese texts Nihongo rashii hyogen kara Eigo rashii hyogen e, 1962, Gendal Nihon sakka ron (title means "Modern Japanese Writers"), 1964, and Yushima no yado ni te (title means "At Home in Yushima"), 1976, all published in Tokyo.

SIDELIGHTS: Known for his literary translations of Japanese works, Edward G. Seidensticker is also the author of several books about Japan. In Low City, High City: Tokyo from Edo to the Earthquake, which covers the city's history from 1868 up to the great earthquake of 1923, and Tokyo Rising: The City since the Great Earthquake, Seidensticker tells the tumultuous history of Japan's largest city. Tokyo Rising recounts the history of Tokyo rebuilding after the earthquake, follows the city on through its second rebuilding after World War II, and examines it as a modern metropolis. A Publishers Weekly contributor called the book a "vibrant, intimately detailed volume."

The author turns to his own life in Tokyo Central: A Memoir. Seidensticker writes about his roots in Colorado and his career as a Japanese scholar, complete with entries from his diary. A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that "Japanese scholars will devour this testament by one of their own." Pam Kingsbury, writing in the Library Journal, commented that the "memoir offers insights in Japan's intellectual and cultural life." In a review for the Journal of the American Oriental Society, Paul W. Kroll wrote: "Often preferring to treat himself almost as though he were a reluctant participant in, or amused observer of events, Seidensticker avoids the egocentric gestures apparent" in other memoirs.



Gatten, Aileen, and Anthony Hood Chambers, editors, New Leaves: Studies and Translations of Japanese Literature in Honor of Edward Seidensticker, Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI), 1993.

Seidensticker, Edward G., Tokyo Central: A Memoir, University of Washington Press (Seattle, WA), 2002.


Journal of the American Oriental Society, July-September, 2002, Paul W. Kroll, review of Tokyo Central, p. 654.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2001, review of Tokyo Central, p. 1602.

Publishers Weekly, January 19, 1990, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Tokyo Rising: The City since the Great Earthquake, p. 94; November 12, 2001, review of Tokyo Central.


Bill Gordon Home Page, (February 13, 2006), Bill Gordon, review of Tokyo Rising: The City Since the Great Earthquake.

Japan Association of Translators, (January 13, 2006), "Winds Interview: Edward Seidensticker—A Direct Translator."

University of Hawaii's System, (January 13, 2006), brief profile of author as award recipient.