Christopher Kavanagh
Researcher, University of Oxford/University of Hokkaido

Christopher Kavanagh is a post-doctoral researcher in cognitive anthropology at the University of Oxford, currently based in Japan. His research interests include East Asian religions, ritual behaviour, and the bonding effects of shared dysphoria. 

Written by Christopher Kavanagh

Sailors aboard the USS Lexington celebrate crossing the equator with an elaborate hazing ritual, 5 April 1944. Participants include Her Highness Amphitrite (seated left), King Neptune (seated right, with trident), and a Royal Baby, all characters who ‘preside’ over the initiation.

Photo by J R Eyerman/LIFE/Getty

Social psychology
People are intensely loyal to groups that abuse newcomers. Why?

Christopher Kavanagh

Nursery school children pass in front of Italian citizen Alberto ‘Daijo’ Pitozzi, 42, currently under training as a novice zen monk at Soji-ji temple, Yokohama, Japan. Photo by Jeremie Souteyrat

Religion without belief

Most Japanese reject religious belief while embracing multiple forms of ritual practice. Are they religious or secular?

Christopher Kavanagh

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