Edward Seidensticker's translations have introduced two generations of English-language audiences to the masterpieces of classical and modern Japanese literature. His patient rendering of novels ranging from the eleventh-century Tale of Genji to works of such modern masters as Junichiro Tanizaki, Yukio Mishima, and Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata has earned him the National Book Award as well as the Order of the Rising Sun, Japan's highest honour for foreigners. In this colourful, sometimes prickly, memoir, Seidensticker tells of his introduction to Japan at the Navy Japanese Language School in 1942, at the age of 21. He recounts his formative experiences as a young diplomat during the Occupation, his early impressions of the Japanese literary scene and its stormy PEN session meetings, his encounters with American luminaries such as Arthur Koestler and Edwin Reischauer, and his gradual immersion in Tokyo life. He offers vivid glimpses of Japan's intellectual and political elite as it moved from the ashes of World War II through Cold War political storms in the 1950s and 1960s, when strikes and radical politics abounded, through the 1970s, when the nation's strategic and cultural alliances hardened with the United States and Europe and Japanese politics turned decisively more conservative. Tokyo Central illuminates the translator's challenge in approaching classical and modern Japanese culture, and gives singular insight into the writing and personalities of many leading Japanese novelists.