Professor Keene, who taught at Columbia for over fifty years, is one of the world's leading Japanese literature authorities and a pioneer in establishing the modern study of Japan. Due in large part to his generous support – Professor Keene has donated books, journals, as well as funds - the Japanese Studies Collection currently holds over 312,000 volumes of print materials, 34,000 microforms, many important electronic resources, as well as the Barbara Cartis Adachi Collection on Bunraku, 1962-2003.
Professor Keene donated two particularly special collections: the collection of Letters to Donald Keene from Japanese literary figures, 1952-2004 and Abe Kōbō Collection, 1933-2002. In 2006, he provided the initial $200,000 to enable the Starr Library to acquire one of the library’s most important collections: the Makino Mamoru Collection on the History of East Asian Film.
"Through the plaque, we express our deepest gratitude to Professor Donald Keene for his generous support of the Japanese Studies Collection. The plaque will become one of the most visible landmarks in our reading room, and I hope others will follow in Professor Keene's footsteps in supporting the library," Starr Library Director, Jim Cheng, said.
Professor Keene has published over 50 books in both English and Japanese and is the president of the Donald Keene Foundation for Japanese Culture.
The plaque was endowed with additional support from the Department of East Asian Language and Culture, the Donald Keene Center for Japanese Culture, as well as faculty and library staff members.