Van C. Gessel

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Van C. Gessel
Born (1950-08-01) August 1, 1950 (age 66)
Compton, California, United States
Nationality United States of America
Alma mater University of Utah (B.A.)
Columbia University (Ph.D.)
Occupation Professor of Japanese Literature, Translator
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Gessel
Children 3

Van C. Gessel (born August 1, 1950, Compton, California) is a former Dean of the BYU College of Humanities at Brigham Young University.[1] He also served as chair of the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages at BYU. He has become renowned for his work as the primary translator for Japanese novelist Endo Shusaku. He is also a prominent editor of several Japanese translations including The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature (Volume 1 published in 2005, Volume 2 in 2007).


Gessel is a graduate of the University of Utah from which he received a bachelor's degree and Columbia University from which he received a PhD in Japanese literature in 1979. He has taught as a faculty member at Columbia University, Notre Dame, UC Berkeley, and Brigham Young University. He has served as a bishop, stake president, and the president of the Portland, Oregon Mission (2005-2008) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[2] Gessel and his wife Elizabeth have three children.[3] In 2016, Gessel received a rare commendation from the Foreign Minister of Japan for "outstanding contributions to mutual understanding and goodwill between Japan and other nations".[4]

As the primary translator for novelist Endo Shusaku Gessel has translated eight novels from Japanese to English and consulted on the adaptation film by Martin Scorsese, Silence.[5][6]

Written works[edit]

  • Japanese Fiction Writers Since WWII
  • Three Modern Novelists
  • The Sting of Life


Edited Works[edit]

  • Taking the Gospel to the Japanese: 1901 to 2001
  • The Shōwa Anthology
  • The Shōwa Anthology II
  • The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature (Volume 1 published in 2005, Volume 2 in 2007)

See also[edit]