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Dr. Isaac Gagné
BSFS Georgetown University; MPhil, PhD Yale University

Assistant Professor

Email: igagne@hku.hk

Takako Yoshikawa

Isaac Gagné is an anthropologist of Japan who teaches courses on anthropology, popular culture, Japanese business culture, and gender and sexuality in Japan. His research focuses on four broad fields of inquiry: 1) Gender, sexuality, and popular culture; 2) Religion, secularity, and globalization; 3) Mental health, trauma, and psychotherapy; 4) Morality and ethics. He has conducted fieldwork on gender, sexuality, and identity among Japanese subcultures, and on the impact of globalization and socioeconomic changes on religion and moral authority in Japan. He is currently working on a book manuscript on the relationship between religion and morality under socioeconomic and demographic changes in contemporary Japan.

Research Interests
Gender and Sexuality
Capitalism and Globalization
Morality and Ethics
Religion, Secularity, and Globalization
New Religious Movements
Psychotherapy and Mental Health
PTSD and Trauma Studies
Identity Politics

“Religious Globalization and Internal Secularization in a Japanese New Religion.” Japan Review, Forthcoming.

“Bracketed Adolescence: Unpacking Gender and Youth Subjectivity through Subcultural Fashion in Late Capitalist Japan.” Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific 32, 2013.

“‘Hyperfeminine’ Subcultures: Rethinking Gender Subjectivity and the Discourse of Sexuality among Adolescent Girls in Contemporary Japan.” In Harper, Katie, Yasmina Katsulis, Vera Lopez & Georganne Scheiner, eds. Girls’ Sexualities and the Media. New York: Peter Lang Publishing:157-171, 2013.

“Spiritual Safety Nets and Networked Faith: The ‘Liquidity’ of Family and Work under Late Modernity.” Contemporary Japan 23:72-91, 2011.

“Greater or Lesser Vehicle?: The Pilgrimage Bus as Crucible of Faith in a Japanese Religion.” Japan Studies: The Frontier: 37-55, 2011.

“Urban Princesses: Performance and ‘Women’s Language’ in Japan’s Gothic/Lolita Subculture.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 18(1):130-150, 2008.

Current Research
My current research is on the localization of global mental health care in Japan. In particular, I focus on two issues: 1) The psychosocial challenges and suffering produced by the March 11, 2011 disaster and protracted recovery process in northeastern Japan, and 2) How global discourses and practices of mental health care are localized in the Japanese context amidst a resilient stigma against mental illness and scepticism of psychotherapy.

Courses Taught
JAPN2010 Japanese Business: An Anthropological Introduction
JAPN2011 Anthropology of Japan
JAPN2045 Sex, Gender and Technology in Japan and East Asia
JAPN2058 Understanding Popular Culture in Japan and Greater China


Japanese Studies HKU