Serge Elisséeff

French academic

Serge Elisséeff (French pronunciation: [sɛʁʒ əliseɛf]; born Sergei Grigorievich Eliseyev; 13 January 1889 – 13 April 1975) was a Russian-French scholar, Japanologist, and professor at Harvard University. He was one of the first Westerners to study Japanese at a university in Japan. He began studying Japanese at the University of Berlin, then transferred to Tokyo Imperial University (modern University of Tokyo) in 1912, becoming the first Westerner to graduate from Tokyo Imperial University in Japanese as well as its first Western graduate student.


  • The teaching of the great Indian thinkers could spiritually enrich the European soul. In the course of its history, the European civilization has lost most of its spiritual values. It can no longer recover them though it still realizes their necessity. For the best of men cannot exist simply on the ideal of "efficiency of work" in the American way. In the condition III which the West finds itself, it is easier for us to go and search for truths in the India, than to come back to the few values we have left in the course of the development of our civilization.

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