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,” which is set in this shrine, takes its audience into a world of myth, legend, and shifting genders. A shrine maiden appears as the avatar of a male deity. When recounting the myth of Ama-no-Iwato, the deity takes on the role of the sun goddess Amaterasu who shut herself inside a cave. Photo by H. McGaughey
The Shibuya crossing In April 2011, the usually brightly lit intersection was kept dark to save electricity 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
Narita Airport In May 2022, airports were still empty as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. At that time, tourists were not allowed to visit Japan, only residents and visitors for business, education, and visits with relatives in Japan were limited to 20,000 entrants a day. In this climate, interest in studying about Japan has waned among students and fewer individuals have the opportunity to experience its culture firsthand. As a postdoctoral fellow at Hosei University and resident, I have been privileged with being able to come to this country despite the restrictions and hope to propel more knowledge out of this “isolated” country. Photo by H. McGaughey

For more of my ruminations living in Japan and doing research and teaching in Japanese Studies, please take a look at my blog.

For more about my academic background and achievements, please view my CV.

To find ways to get in touch with me, please check my contact page.