Japan honours York professor with the Order of the Rising Sun

Ted Goossen
Ted Goossen
Ted Goossen

Japanese-to-English translator and humanities Professor Ted Goossen is the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, an honour celebrating his achievements in promoting Japanese culture on a global scale.

Upon the behest of Japanese Emperor Akihito, the Consul-General of Japan in Toronto Takako Ito conferred the honour upon Goossen at her private Toronto residence in the presence of Goossen’s family, friends and peers on Aug. 7.

“It felt so good to be surrounded by my family and friends, some of whom came a long way to be there. The award was secondary to the feeling I had when I stepped to the mic and saw all those faces smiling at me,” said Goossen, who teaches in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies.

“There are so many stereotypes about the Japanese, and they are so deeply rooted in people’s minds, and in history. Sweeping those away and providing a window into the humanity of the Japanese people is a big part of my job,” he adds. “Translating literature helps me in that role.”

Ted Goossen with the Order of the Rising Sun. Photo courtesy of the Consulate-General of Japan

Ito, in her conferment speech, called Goossen an “extraordinary scholar, writer and translator, whose work has had tremendous impact in improving mutual understanding between Japan and Canada.”

Goossen is well-known for editing The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories and translating the works of his friend and world-famous Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Yet, he continues to cultivate an appreciation of Japanese literature among his students at York University and Canadians alike by publishing emerging and mid-career writers through the journal Monkey Business, which he co-edits with Motoyuki Shibata, and through collaboration with the Japan Foundation and the International Festival of Authors.

From left: Consul-General Takako Ito, Goosen’s daughter Carolyn, his grandson Bruno, Ted Goossen, his granddaughter Ella.

Ito also commended Goossen for his efforts in introducing Canadian literature to Japanese students at the University of Tokyo, Meiji University, Hokkaido University, Doshisha University and the International Research Center for Japanese Studies.

Among his many accomplishments and roles in Canadian-Japanese relations, Goossen is a founding member and first Chair of the Canada Japan Society, and he sat on the jury of the 2018 Toronto Japanese Film Festival. He has produced a dozen hour-long CBC radio documentaries on Japan and its relations with Canada.

“It is my sincere wish that Dr. Goossen will continue to be active in his works as translator and educator, and further promote mutual understanding not only between Japan and Canada, but Japan and the English-speaking world,” Ito said in closing.

Learn more about Ted Goossen in the following YFile story: York professor translates Japanese into a productive career.