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Carmen Blacker

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Nationality  United Kingdom
Name  Carmen Blacker
Died  July 13, 2009, Cambridge

Carmen Blacker Carmen Blacker Collection Sainsbury Institute for the Study of
Born  13 July 1924Kensington
Books  The catalpa bow, The Japanese enlightenment
People also search for  Michael Loewe, Donald Shively, Hilda Ellis Davidson, Santo Kyoden

Carmen Blacker FBA, OST, OBE (13 July 1924 – 13 July 2009) was a British scholar of Japanese language. She was a lecturer in Japanese at Cambridge University.


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Blacker was born in Kensington in 1924. Her parents were Carlos Paton Blacker and Helen Maud (born Pilkington). She was interested in Japanese, by the age of 12 she had a Japanese Grammar and in 1942 she attended the School of Oriental and African Studies where she was identified for top secret work. Blacker was recruited by the code breakers at Bletchley Park but she left because she saw no benefit in the work. She was paid two pounds a week because she was a young woman. She met the difficult Orientalist and sinologist Arthur Waley at Bletchley and he inspired her to learn Chinese in her spare time. In 1944 she arranged lessons in Japanese for herself from Major General Pigott.

Blacker became a Fellow of the British Academy. She was awarded the Minakata Kumagusu Prize in 1998.

She married her longtime partner, the Chinese scholar Michael Arthur Nathan Loewe, in 2002. She had met Loewe at Bletchley Park. Blacker died in a Cambridge nursing home in 2009.


  • The Japanese Enlightenment: a Study of the Writings of Fukuzawa Yukichi, 1964
  • The Catalpa Bow: a Study of Shamanistic Practices in Japan, 1975; 1986; 1999
  • Ancient Cosmologies, 1975
  • Divination and Oracles, 1981
  • The Straw Sandal, a 2008 translation of a novel by Santō Kyōden
  • Biography

    Carmen Blacker: Scholar of Japanese Religion, Myth and Folklore (Hugh Cortazzi, ed., with James McMullen and Mary-Grace Browning) Kent: Renaissance Books, 2017.

    (This book, which has an introduction by Michael Loewe titled 'Carmen Blacker - Friend, Scholar and Wife', was launched on 5 December 2016 at the Society of Antiquaries of London, where Dr Blacker was a Fellow. The book also has diary excerpts and some key unpublished work.)


    Carmen Blacker Wikipedia

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