H. Karkono Kamajaya Partokusumo

Expert of Javanese Literature

The healthy 83 year old Pak (father) Karkono, is still actively working in his most favorite subject-Javanese Literature. In fact he has a deep knowledge of Javanese culture and tradition.

Nowadays, in his cozy house in Yogyakarta, he receives many visitors, local and foreign for consultation. Some people say that Pak Karkono is a "moving encyclopedia" .

The energetic Pak Karkono has been engaged in a lot of professional fields. He has been working as journalist in several publications, a stage artist, active independent fighter, politician etc.

He was also involved in business, in 1958-1960, he has The President of KENSI (All Indonesia's Economic congress). In this position, he went to Cairo to participate in the Asian African Economic Conference.

In 1959 Pak Karkono was invited by The US Government Under Leader’s Grant. He traveled 100 days across the country visiting small and medium scale companies for comparative study.

Since he was young, he had a keen interest in the field of art and culture. Among other in 1942, he was the secretary of "Indonesia Art Center", its chairman was Soekarno who become the first President of the country. In 1958, he was vice chairman of "Yogyakarta Cultural Foundation" chaired by the late Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX.

He proved to be a brave man when he was assigned to struggle opium to finance the strunggle of Indonesia’s independence. It was a matter of life and death.

At present he keeps his profession as publisher and writer. From time to time he is invited as a speaker in seminars. Some masterpieces of 18 and 19th century Javanese literature are written with Javanese characters. It is difficult to read, especially by the younger generation. Pak Karkono has written some of them with Latin characters, among other the famous, Serat Centhini and Serat Pustakaraja Purwo, by the great Javanese writer/poet (Pujonggo) Ronggowarsito. In his works, the noted Pujonggo, wrote a lot about ancient Java: Gods, Kings, art and culture, asceticism, pujonggos, books etc.

According to Pak Karkono, the maestro Ronggowarsito who came from pujonggo's family got the knowledge from his father and grandfather who were also specialists in Javanese ancient literature. Currently, Pak Karkono is the founder and chairman of "Canthini" foundation and also the co-founder and chairman of the Foundation of Science and Culture "Panunggalan", Institute of Javanologi.

By studying in dept Javanese Culture and Tradition, he does not became a narrow minded Javanese. On the contrary, by digging-out the valuable Javanese ethic, culture and tradition, it should enrich and benefit the national culture and identity.

(Suryo S. Negoro)


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