Mar 09

Mark Keegan, Citizen of the World

Mark Keegan, photographed in the center of the world. ©Tony Gale

Mark Keegan, photographed in the center of the world. ©Tony Gale

Mark Keegan

Keegan is a bird of many feathers. If you were to hear him speak Japanese and not see his face, you would think he was a native of Japan. However, if you were to hear him speak Spanish, you would swear he was from originally from Latin America. And if you ran into him in Brazil, you would guess he’s a native of Rio.

In middle school, when other kids in his class were watching TV, Keegan began to teach himself Japanese. He found a local teacher and asked his parents to pay for Japanese lessons, which they did despite their initial bewilderment. Throughout middle and high school, Keegan continued to study Japanese in addition to his regular studies, and during the summers, assigned himself regular homework tasks. By high school, Keegan’s passion for Japanese competed with the school musical – in which Keegan always played a principal role, the student council – of which Keegan was always a member, and a myriad of clubs and activities. Keegan pioneered the use of handheld devices in high school, long before any of his peers ever laid eyes on one, in order to stay on track with all of his different activities. His final act in high school was to help the new school principal design a Japanese language and study abroad program and select the school’s first Japanese teacher.

Keegan’s boundless energy has lead to a rich and exciting adult life. He wears a hundred different hats in the Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility departments at Mitsubishi Corporation. He continues to study Japanese and takes regular classes at the Japan Society among other places. Keegan attends lectures, concerts, and plays; sees all the new exhibits at the city’s museums; and dances salsa, merengue, African dance, swing, samba, and regular club-style booty-shaking. But what’s most memorable about Keegan is his infectious positive energy and his radiant smile. Few people forget meeting Keegan…

Nominated and described by Tali Shmulovich.