Skip to main content

Seidensticker, Edward G. 1921–2007

Seidensticker, Edward G. 1921–2007

(Edward George Seidensticker)


See index for CA sketch: Born February 21, 1921, in Castle Rock, CO; died of complications from a head injury, August 26, 2007, in Tokyo, Japan. Japanologist, translator, historian, educator, and author. Seidensticker encountered the Japanese language during World War II, accompanying the U.S. Marines ashore at Iwo Jima in his capacity as a language officer. His appreciation for the language and the land of Japan stayed with him for the rest of his life. Moreover, he spent much of his career fostering a similar appreciation in others. Seidensticker worked in Japan for several years, first as a foreign service officer of the United States, then as an instructor at Sophia University. While there he became acquainted with some of Japan's most revered authors and began translating their masterpieces for American readers. It is estimated that Seidensticker translated more than a hundred literary works in his lifetime, introducing English speakers to the writings of Yukio Michima, Yasunari Kawabata, Junichiro Tanizaki, and others. One work in particular impressed the critics: Seidensticker's painstaking translation of The Tale of Genji (1975), written originally in the eleventh century by the courtesan Murasaki Shikibu, a work over which he labored for more than ten years. In 1962 Seidensticker began teaching in the United States, first at Stanford University, then at the University of Michigan. He was a professor of Japanese at Columbia University from 1977 until his retirement in 1986. By this time Seidensticker had begun to write about Japanese history and culture, including a two-volume history of Tokyo and a personal memoir of the city. Seidensticker was honored in Japan by the Order of the Rising Sun, the Kikuchi Kan Prize in 1977, the Goto Miyoko Prize in 1982, and the Yamagata Banto Prize in 1992. Among American awards was a 1970 National Book Award for his translation of The Sound of the Mountain by Kawabata. Seidensticker's own writings include Low City, High City: Tokyo from Edo to the Earthquake (1983), Tokyo Rising: The City since the Great Earthquake (1990), and Tokyo Central: A Memoir (2002).



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.


Los Angeles Times, August 29, 2007, p. B8.

New York TImes, August 31, 2007, p. A19.

Times (London, England), September 17, 2007, p. 59.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Seidensticker, Edward G. 1921–2007." Contemporary Authors. . 20 Aug. 2019 <>.

"Seidensticker, Edward G. 1921–2007." Contemporary Authors. . (August 20, 2019).

"Seidensticker, Edward G. 1921–2007." Contemporary Authors. . Retrieved August 20, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.