What does Sir Kazuo Ishiguro mean by a humbling experience in the following? ”Humbling" in this context cannot mean "something makes him feel insignificant or inferior" as some dictionaries define, can it?

Sir Kazou, 64, was today knighted for services to literature by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace. Speaking afterwards, the best-selling author described it as 〈a 'humbling experience'〉. He added: 'It is all part of my story of coming from a different country and growing up in this country. ' 'It is part of my big love affair with Britain and British culture.'

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Thank you, Fujibei.  I just finished reading the article.

Kazuo Ishiguro describes his knighthood

I can't pretend to read Sir Kazuo's mind, but I might be able to offer some insight from my own experience.

As a musician, I have at times performed with some truly great musicians, people that I considered masters of their craft.  When this has happened, and especially when these people have complimented me on my performance, I have experienced paradoxical feelings.  On one hand, I can't help but feel pride, but at the same time there is a sense of awe at being in the presence of greatness and a feeling that I'm not worthy to be performing with such people, let alone be praised by them.  Thus I am both honored and humbled by such experiences.

I imagine it is the same with Sir Kazuo.  He has received a great honor that places him among the ranks of the most highly esteemed British subjects.  He is now, no doubt, in the virtual presence of his own literary heroes.  I can see how that could be very humbling indeed.


Thank you, DocV.

I was also thinking along the lines of your reply.  Being Japanese, I'm very proud of Sir Kazuo, although he is now a British citizen. I think his statement reflects his background as a Japanese-born Brit because Japanese people tend to be humble.


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