Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Ivo Smits

Professor of Arts and Cultures of Japan

Prof.dr. I.B. Smits
+31 71 527 2545

Ivo Smits is a professor of Arts and Cultures of Japan at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies (LIAS).

More information about Ivo Smits


Ivo Smits’ field of expertise comprises literature and film in Japan. His research focuses on early medieval classical texts in both classical Japanese and classical Chinese. Bilingualism (or ‘biscriptualism’) poet-patron networks and concepts of imagination and representation are three big themes that occupy him a great deal.
Ivo Smits earned his PhD at Leiden University in 1994, studied at the University of Tokyo, Cambridge University, and was among others research fellow at Waseda University en Visiting Associate Professor at Yale University.

Selected publications

2020, “A Forgotten Aesop: Shiba Kōkan, European Emblems, and Aesopian Fable Reception in late Edo Japan.” Studies in Japanese Literature and Culture.

2019. “Genji’s Gardens: Negotiating Nature at the Heian Court.” Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji: Philosophical Perspectives (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press).

2017. “La dynamique sino-japonaise (wakan) à l’époque Heian.” Médiévales.

2012. “Minding the Gaps: An Early Edo History of Sino-Japanese Poetry.” In Uncharted Waters: Intellectual Life in the Edo Period (Leiden: Brill).

2007. “The Way of the Literati: Chinese Learning and Literary Practice in Mid-Heian Japan.” In Heian Japan, Centers and Peripheries (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press)

2003. Reading East Asian Writing: The Limits of Literary Theory, with Michel Hockx (London: RoutledgeCurzon)

2000. Bridging the Divide: 400 Years The Netherlands-Japan / Bewogen Betrekkingen: 400 jaar Nederland-Japan, with Leonard Blussé and Willem Remmelink (Teleac NOT/Hotei)

1995. The Pursuit of Loneliness: Chinese and Japanese Nature Poetry in Medieval Japan, ca. 1050-1150 (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag)

Since 2020, Ivo Smits keeps a blog on Dutch translations of poetry from Japan: https://penseelvanwind.nl

Professor of Arts and Cultures of Japan

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • SAS Japan



  • St. Filter voorzitter
  • Stichting Isaac Alfred Ailion Foundation voorzitter
  • Huizinga-lezing Commissielid
  • Fonds voor de Letteren Adviseur vertalingen
This website uses cookies.  More information.