Northwestern University’s Phyllis Lyons Honored by the Japanese Government

Phyllis Lyons, a professor emerita of Asian languages and culture at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, received the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette from the government of the nation of Japan. Professor Lyons was honored for her role in promoting Japanese culture, language education and cultural exchange.

Professor Lyons lived in Japan from the age of 9 to the age of 15.  After earning a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Japanese literature at the University of Chicago, she taught for a brief period at the University of Washington. In 1978, Dr Lyons was hired by Northwestern University to establish the Japanese language and literature program and played a major role in the founding of the department of Asian languages and culture at the university. Dr. Lyons spent 38 years on the faculty at Northwestern University, until her retirement two years ago.

Earlier this year, Columbia University Press published her translation of In Black and White, by Junichiro Tanizaki, a Japanese novelist who died in 1965.

In receiving the award, Dr Lyons said “I have seen it as my lifetime mandate to spread, as much as I can, knowledge, interest, and excitement about Japan.”


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