Japan scholar and translator Donald Keene has died at 96

Donald Keene, a giant in the field of Japanese literature and translation, has died at the age of 96.

His death was confirmed by Akira Someya, secretary general of the Donald Keene Center Kashiwazaki in Japan.

Someya said that Keene died Sunday morning of heart failure at a Tokyo hospital.

The longtime Columbia University professor fostered the growth of Japanese studies, a field that barely existed when he started as a Columbia undergraduate in the 1940s.

The prolific scholar published about 25 books in English and 30 in Japanese. His landmark first anthology of Japanese literature was published in 1955.

He came to feel at home in Japan, and settled in Tokyo in 2011.