The government of Japan announced its decision to award Edwin A. Cranston, professor of Japanese literature, the decoration of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, on April 29. Cranston is recognized for his contribution in introducing classical Japanese literature to the people of the United States and other parts of the world, and in nurturing many young Japanologists.

Cranston has dedicated himself as an instructor in Japanese language and literature at Harvard for 44 years. He became an assistant professor as a specialist of Japanese literature in 1966, becoming a full professor in 1972.

Cranston has translated the Japanese waka, a 31-syllable poem, from the ancient period to the medieval period, and has introduced waka internationally with his detailed footnotes and commentary. His two volumes of “A Waka Anthology” (1993, 2006) have brought to light thousands of poems from ancient texts. Cranston’s most recent book on Japanese poetry is titled “The Secret Island and the Enticing Flame” (2008).

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