McClellan Named Sterling Professor of Japanese

Edwin McClellan, a leading scholar and translator of Japanese literature, has been named Sterling Professor of Japanese Studies by vote of the Yale Corporation, the governing body of Yale University.

McClellan, who has been a member of the Yale faculty since 1972, is noted for his translations of major Japanese works, including the novels “Kokoro” and “Grass on the Wayside” by Natsume Soseki. His 1976 translation of the novel “A Dark Night’s Passing” by Naoya Shiga was awarded the Japan Translation Prize and was named an outstanding academic book of the year by Choice, and his interpretation of Eiji Yoshikawa’s memoir “Fragments of a Past” won the 1995 Noma Translation Prize.

McClellan’s other works include “Two Japanese Novelists: Soseki and Toson” and “Woman in the Crested Kimono,” which was selected in 1985 as a “notable book of the year” by The New York Times Book Review.

A native of Kobe, Japan, McClellan holds an M.A. degree from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago. He joined the faculty at the University of Chicago in 1957 and taught there until his Yale appointment. He was the Carl Darling Buck Professor of Japanese Literature at the time of his departure from Chicago.

At Yale, McClellan was named the Sumitomo Professor of Japanese Studies in 1979. He has held numerous academic posts, serving as chair of the department of East Asian languages and literatures 1973-82 and again 1988-91. In addition, he has chaired the Council on East Asian Studies and the Council on the Humanities, as well as numerous fellowship and prize committees. His other activities have included serving as a guest lecturer for Yale Alumni Association-sponsored trips to Japan and China.

McClellan served as director-at-large of the American Oriental Society and as a consultant for the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has advised both Princeton and Harvard universities about their programs in Japanese literature and East Asian Studies. He currently serves on the editorial board of The Journal of Japanese Studies and is a trustee of the Society for Japanese Studies at the University of Washington.

An invited lecturer at universities in both the United States and Japan, McClellan has also been designated “a guest of the nation” by Japan’s Foreign Ministry. In 1998, the Japanese government awarded him its Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon. Four years earlier, he became only the fourth foreign national to win the Kikuchi Kan Prize, one of the highest honors recognizing contributions to the Japanese culture. A festschrift in McClellan’s honor was published in 1997 by the University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies. His other honors include election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1977.

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