Hi, I’m Hanna McGaughey,
a scholar of Japanese Studies specializing in premodern literature and culture.

I’ve lived in Japan for over a decade.

Come with me and you will learn to follow traces into a bygone world and see Japan as it is today with new depth.

Ōnusa purification wands at Miwa Shrine in Nara The noh play “Miwa” takes its audience into a world of myth and legend and a world of shifting genders. The male deity of the shrine appears as a shrine maiden and relates stories. When recounting the myth of Ama-no-Iwato, the deity takes on the role of the sun goddess Amaterasu. Photo by H. McGaughey
The Shibuya crossing In April 2011, the usually brightly lit intersection was kept dark to save electicity after the 3/11 disasters. I was just beginning the final year of my master’s degree at the University of Tokyo and walked through here almost daily on my way to Komaba campus. Photo by H. McGaughey
The harbor at Murotsu on the Inland Sea in Hyogo Prefecture This area was famous for its courtesans, who would ride boats out to seduce passing travelers. While Hōnen, the founder Jōdo Buddhism, passed by on his way into exile in 1207, some courtesans approached him in their own boat to ask not for his company but about his Buddhist teachings. Photo by H. McGaughey