Ivan Morris studied Japanese language and culture at Harvard University while serving in the Intelligence Section of the U.S. Navy Reserves. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of London in 1951, he worked for the Far East Section of the BBC as well as for the Japan and Pacific departments of the British Foreign Office. He lived in Tokyo for several years, writing, lecturing, and teaching. In 1960 he joined what would later be renamed the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University, where he served as department chair. He was elected a Fellow of St. Anthony's College at Oxford in 1966. Morris published numerous books on Japanese history, literature, and politics and produced distinguished translations of classical and contemporary Japanese works. He died in 1976.
"A thoughtful scholar's reconstruction. . . . A book which should
delight anyone interested in Japan." -The New York Times Book
"The people of the Heian period in Japan . . . evolved a civilization . . . pervaded by a sense of the transitoriness of things, combined with an awareness of beauty so sharp that it was poignant. . . . Ivan Morris's book is as elegant as its theme." -The Observer (London)