Rein Raud (born 21 December 1961) is an Estonian scholar and author.

Rein Raud
Born (1961-12-21) December 21, 1961 (age 57)
Main interests
Cultural theory · Japanese culture · Asian Philosophy
Notable ideas
Cognitive adequacy · Symbolic authority

Early lifeEdit

He was born in 1961 in the family of Eno Raud and Aino Pervik, both children's authors. He is the eldest of three children. His younger brother Mihkel Raud is a playwright, television personality, singer, guitarist, journalist and member of the Estonian Parliament; his sister Piret Raud is an artist and translator. He is the grandson of playwright, poet and writer Mart Raud.[1]

He graduated from the Leningrad State University (now called Saint Petersburg State University) in 1985 in Japanese Studies and earned a PhD degree in Literary Theory at the University of Helsinki in 1994.


Raud is an honorary doctor of the University of Latvia[2] and the Vytautas Magnus University.[3]

Raud has worked in the Estonian Institute of Humanities (now a part of Tallinn University) and the University of Helsinki, where he served as a professor in the Department of World Cultures till 2016.[4] From 2006 to 2011 Raud served as the first rector of the Tallinn University.[5] In 2011-14 he was the President of the European Association of Japanese Studies.[6] Currently he is a research professor at the School of Humanities, Tallinn University.

As a scholar, Raud has published on a wide range of subjects from cultural theory to pre-modern Japanese literature and philosophy, both in English and Estonian.[7] His theoretical project combines the cultural semiotics of the Eco and Lotman traditions with anthropological and sociological approaches (particularly those of Bourdieu and Alexander) in order to achieve a more holistic understanding of cultural phenomena. His work on Japan has dealt with some of the most important philosophical thinkers, notably Dōgen and Nishida Kitarō.

As an author, Raud has published five collections of poetry, seven novels and several collections of short stories and plays. He has received the Estonian Cultural Endowment Annual Prize for Hektor and Bernard (2004)[8] and The Reconstruction (2012)[9] as well as the Vilde Prize for Vend (Brother, 2008).[10] The Reconstruction, The Brother and The Death of the Perfect Sentence, his latest novel to date, have been published in English.[11][12][13]

Raud has also frequently contributed to the Estonian public debate by opinion pieces, essays and critical newspaper columns, in which he has expressed left-liberal views and criticised nationalist attitudes. In 2003, he received the prize of the Estonian Journalists' Union for a series of articles criticising the American invasion of Iraq and the Estonian support to it.[14] In 2003-2004 he hosted a philosophical talk show on the Estonian TV called Vita brevis.[15]

Raud is also well known for his translations of Japanese classical literature into Estonian. These include Süda on ainuke lill (Heart is the Only Flower, anthology of waka poetry, 1994), Hullunud pilv (The Crazy Cloud by Ikkyu, 2010) and Mäetipp järve põhjas (The Mountain Peak on the Bottom of the Lake, anthology of haiku poetry, 2008). He has also translated Dante Alighieri's Vita Nova into Estonian.

Raud has been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, 2nd Class, Gold and Silver Star (Japan, 2011),[16] the Order of the White Star, 3rd Class (Estonia, 2001)[17] and the Commander's Cross for services to Lithuania (2009).[18]

Bibliography (academic works)Edit

  • Raud, Rein (2016): Meaning in Action: Outline of an Integral Theory of Culture. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Raud, Rein and Zygmunt Bauman (2015): Practices of Selfhood. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Raud, Rein (2013): Mis on kultuur? [What is Culture?] Tallinn: Tallinn University Press.
  • Raud, Rein and James W. Heisig, eds. (2010): Classical Japanese Philosophy. (Frontiers of Japanese Philosophy Series, vol.7) Nagoya: Nanzan Institute of Religion and Culture.
  • Raud, Rein, ed. (2007): Japan and Asian Modernities. London: Kegan Paul.
  • Raud, Rein and Mikko Lagerspetz (1997): Cultural Policy in Estonia. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.
  • Raud, Rein (1994): The Role of Poetry in Classical Japanese Literature: A Code and Discursivity Analysis. Tallinn: Eesti Humanitaarinstituut.


  1. ^ Eesti Päevaleht. Mihkel Raud: teen nüüd kõik, et kauem elada! 16 November 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  2. ^ Mäekivi, Mirjam (1 October 2012). "Rein Raud promoveeriti Läti Ülikooli audoktoriks" [Rein Raud ceremonial conferment of an honorary doctorate from the University of Latvia] (in Estonian). Postimees. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Rein Raud - Honorary Doctor". Vytautas Magnus University. Archived from the original on 13 April 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Young Estonian appointed to the first Finnish Professorship in Japanese". University og Helsinki. January 1996. Archived from the original on 9 May 2006.
  5. ^ Männa, Krista (12 May 2012). "Pressikutse: Professor Rein Raua inaugureerimine Tallinna Ülikooli rektoriks" [Press invitation: Professor Rein Raud Sulev rector of Tallinn University] (in Estonian). Tallinna Ülikool. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  6. ^ "The Council of the EAJS". EAJS. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Estonian Research Information System - Rein Raud". Estonian Research Portal. SA Archimedes. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  8. ^ "Kultuurkapitali Proosaauhind" [Cultural Endowment Award for Fiction] (in Estonian). Tartu Linnaraamatukogu Kirjandusveeb. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Eduard Vilde Nimeline Kirjandusauhind" [Eduard Vilde Literary Prize] (in Estonian). Tartu Linnaraamatukogu Kirjandusveeb. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  11. ^ "The Brother by Open Letter Books".
  12. ^ "The Reconstruction / Dalkey Archive Press".
  13. ^ "The Death of the Perfect Sentence".
  14. ^ "SL Õhtulehe ajakirjanikud said parima uudisloo preemia" [SL Õhtuleht journalists received the best prize uudisloo] (in Estonian). SL Õhtuleht. 19 February 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  15. ^ "Vita brevis - ERR - Digihoidla" [Vita brevis - ERR - Digital Repository]. ERR Arhiiv (in Estonian). Eesti Rahvusringhääling. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  16. ^ "2011 Autumn Conferment of Decorations on Foreign Nationals" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  17. ^ "Estonian State Decorations - Rein Raud". (in Estonian). Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  18. ^ "Apdovanotų asmenų duomenų bazė" [A database of awarded persons]. (in Estonian). Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia. Retrieved 13 April 2012.

External linksEdit