RIJS People Faculty
Professor of Japanese Literature
Dept. of East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Edwin Cranston was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and attended the University of Arizona in Tucson where he received a B.A. in English in 1954. He then served four years in the Navy before beginning graduate study at the University of California at Berkeley in 1958. He transferred to Stanford University in 1962 and earned a Ph.D. in Japanese literature in 1966. His Harvard career began in 1965 as an instuctor in Japanese language. The following year, he became an assistant professor as a specialist of Japanese literature, in 1970 an associate professor, and in 1972 a full professor. His main interest has been poetry, which he translates and writes. His revised dissertation was published in the Harvard-Yenching Monograph Series in 1969 under the title, The Izumi Shikibu Diary: A Romance of the Heian Court. In 1993, Stanford University Press published a compendium of his translations as A Waka Anthology, Volume One: The Gem-Glistening Cup, which introduced 1578 poems from ancients texts as the Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, Man'yoshu. In 2006, A Waka Anthology, Volume Two: Grasses of Remembrance, which introduced 2724 poems from Kokin Wakashu, Tale of Genji and other sources, was published. In 2007, Professor Cranston was awarded the Modern Language Association (MLA) Lois Roth Award. Professor Cranston received the 22nd Yamagata Banto Prize in recognition of his accomplishments translating Japanese poetry. His most recent book on Japanese poetry is titled The Secret Island and the Enticing Flame (Cornell East Asia Series, 2009).
In Spring 2009, Professor Cranston was decorated by the Japanese government with the distinguished Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon for his contribution to introducing classical Japanese literature to the people of the United States and other parts of the world, and for nurturing young Japanologists.