Brown's mother, Susan Brown (left) pictured holding his son (right)
I emailed Professor Brown a series of questions and this was his response. The questions given to him were not easy to answer. I am extremely grateful to him for taking the time out of his already busy schedule to give each question the deep thought that it deserved. For doing so, the UPRIZINE Team extends our sincerest thank you. The perspectives that you shared with us come highly appreciated and valued.
Who was a woman in your life who inspired you to become who you are today?
It is perhaps not very original but the woman who has been most influential in my life has been my mother, Susan Brown.
In what ways did she help you become the person you are today?
Along with my father, my mum made the home I grew up in an incredibly stable and supportive environment. It meant that I could be ambitious and take risks in pursuing my career while knowing that, if all else failed, I had a reliable network of support to fall back upon.
Furthermore, I greatly respect my mother for returning to university as a mature student. Although my two siblings and I were still young, she took the decision to enroll in university and train to be a teacher. This cannot have been easy, especially as most of the students would have been much younger than her. Additionally, I can still vaguely remember being taken along to lectures when my mum had no other option. It must have been difficult for her to concentrate on her studies since I doubt I sat quietly!
What aspects of her do you see manifested in yourself?
My mother has always enjoyed reading and I share that characteristic with here. I also believe strongly in the value of education for people of all ages. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have inherited her generosity or patience.
How do you carry on her life or legacy?
I’m not sure I can exactly say that I carry on her life or legacy. I do, however, certainly enjoy spending time with her whenever I am able to return to the UK. She is also excellent with my two children and they love spending time with her.
Dr. James D.J. Brown is an associate professor in political science at Temple University, Japan Campus. His primary area of research is Russo-Japanese relations. His most recent book, Japan's Foreign Relations in Asia, is co-edited with Jeff Kingston (Routledge, 2017).