Thursday, November 5, 2015

[HKAS Seminar] Caring for the Heart: Grassroots Psychosocial Therapy in Post-3.11 Japan

Title: Caring for the Heart: Grassroots Psychosocial Therapy in Post-3.11 Japan
Speaker: Isaac Gagne (Postdoctoral Fellow, CUHK’s Department of Japanese Studies)
Date and time: 12 November 2015, 7:00pm
Venue: Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui


Four-and-a-half years since the 2011 disaster in Japan, over 190,000 people remain displaced, and many still struggle with physical, social, and psychological trauma. In response to post-disaster challenges, a combination of secular and religious volunteer movements have emerged, addressing distinct yet overlapping dimensions of caring and community-building for survivors through what they call “care for the heart.” In this presentation I discuss my ongoing fieldwork on these different forms of “grassroots psychosocial therapy” operating in-between psychiatric, religious, and social spheres. I talk about how as a movement of non-governmental, non-medical “average citizens” who volunteer to listen to and console other “average citizens” suffering from the disaster, these groups have become a grassroots force for social support, community-building, and reflexive psychotherapy, both for survivors and for the volunteers themselves.

Isaac Gagné is a Postdoctoral Fellow at CUHK’s Department of Japanese Studies working on religion, morality, gender and identity in Japan.

For more information, please contact Stan Dyer on 9746 9537 or,, or

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