vol.022 - An interview with research fellows visiting NIHU – Dr. Andrew Houwen


An interview with research fellows visiting NIHU – Dr. Andrew Houwen



We asked Dr. Andrew Houwen, a former International Placement Scheme (IPS) fellow of the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), his research interests and his fellowship experience at the National Institute of Japanese Literature (NIJL) in Tokyo. Andy is currently a JSPS postdoctoral fellow at Tokyo Woman's Christian University, Japan.


Andy, what are your research interests and what projects you are working on now?

My research interests are comparative literature, more specifically the relationships between English and Japanese poetry. I am currently researching for a JSPS-funded book project on Ezra Pound and Japan, which looks at how Pound, one of the most prominent Anglophone poets of the twentieth century, influenced and was influenced by Japanese literature.


Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? 10 years?

In the next 5 years I see myself working as an associate professor at a Japanese university. I hope to have published my book project by then and to have produced a few more academic articles in this area of research. In the next 10 years, I hope to find a more permanent position in Japan or, if that is not possible, elsewhere.


What do you wish you would have known on your first day at Kokubunken (NIJL)?

The staff at NIJL were extremely friendly, welcoming and accommodating. Regarding matters of research, I could find no fault at all with the institution.


What was your most memorable moment during your IPS fellowship in Japan?

My most memorable moment was deputy director-general at the time, Tanikawa-sensei, and a researcher, Negishi-sensei, taking the time to show me around the second-hand bookstores looking for poetry books in Kanda together with a prominent modern Japanese poetry critic, Wada-sensei. Contacts with leading researchers in their fields can lead to many meaningful connections for my own research and offer excellent opportunities for dialogue between different research fields such as English and Japanese poetry.


What is your advice for students or early career researchers considering to do research in a different country or culture?

My advice for students and early career researchers would be to make as many connections as you can when you are in Japan. It will really benefit the quality of the insights you can make in your area.


Dr. Andrew Houwen

Andy is a JSPS postdoctoral fellow at Tokyo Woman's Christian University, Japan. Andy grew up in the UK and obtained his Master’s from the University of Oxford and his PhD from the University of Reading.

He is currently working on a research project that focuses on the relationships between Ezra Pound and Japanese literature. The project builds on the findings of his 2013 article, 'Ezra Pound's Early Cantos and His Translation of Takasago', which was published by Oxford University Press's Review of English Studies and received the 2014 Ezra Pound Society Article Prize. Since then, Andy has also had a peer-reviewed article published on Basil Bunting's translation of Kamo no Chōmei's Hōjōki and has a book chapter on 'Ezra Pound and Japanese Literature' due to appear in The New Ezra Pound, published by Cambridge University Press.

In his spare time, Andy likes to read, explore cities, visit art galleries and museums, or go hiking in the mountains.