Suma Ikeuchi

Suma Ikeuchi
Ph.D. Emory University

Associate Professor

Undergraduate Advisor

Specialization: Anthropology, Migration & Diaspora, Aging & Care, Transnationalism, Japan, Brazil, the Philippines

Office: HSSB 2254

Office Hours: On Leave Feb~June 2024
Personal Website:

Suma Ikeuchi (池内須摩) is an interdisciplinary scholar of Transnational Japanese Studies, whose scholarship engages cultural anthropology, migration studies, ethnic studies, religious studies, Asian studies, and science & technology studies.

She is the author of Jesus Loves Japan: Return Migration and Global Pentecostalism in a Brazilian Diaspora (Stanford University Press 2019), which explores the interplay of ethnic, national, and religious identities among the Nikkeis (i.e. Japanese Brazilians) who return-migrated to their ancestral homeland, Japan. The monograph won two book awards in 2020, the Francis L.K. Hsu Book Prize from the Society for East Asian Anthropology and the Clifford Geertz Prize from the Society for the Anthropology of Religion.

Her current project, funded by the National Science Foundation, examines the politics of eldercare in aging Japan by comparing the Filipino migrant caregivers and robotic care technologies in the country.

Before joining the faculty at UCSB in 2020, she taught in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and the Department of Liberal Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

The link to her current CV is here.


Jesus Loves Japan book cover by Suma Ikeuchi


Jesus Loves Japan: Return Migration and Global Pentecostalism in a Brazilian Diaspora. Stanford University Press (2019).

Winner of the 2020 Francis L.K. Hsu Book Prize in the Anthropology of East Asia

Winner of the 2020 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion

Selected Articles

Book Chapters

“A Historical Materialist Approach to Transnational Japanese Studies.” In Ajaya K. Sahoo (ed), Routledge Handbook of Asian Transnationalism (2022) New York, NY, Routledge, pp. 44-55.

Journal Articles

“How Japan Grapples with Care Shortage amid Population Aging: With a Focus on Filipina Care Workers and “Care Robots” [In Japanese] (高齢化のなかケアの枯渇とどう向き合うか: 在日フィリピン人介護労働者と「介護ロボット」に着目して). Global Concern 6 (2023): 3-21. Tokyo: Sophia University.

“Saudade: A Story of Japanese Brazilian Diaspora.” In Anthropology and Humanism. 46. 1 (2021): 161–170.

“From Slaves to Agents: Pentecostal Ethic and Precarious Labor among Brazilian Migrants in Toyota, Japan.” In Journal of the American Academy of Religion. 87.3 (2019): 791-823.

“Accompanied Self: Debating Pentecostal Individual and Japanese Relational Selves in Transnational Japan.” Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology. 45.1 (2017): 3-23.

“From Ethnic Religion to Generative Selves: Pentecostalism among Nikkei Brazilian Migrants in Japan.” Contemporary Japan. 2.29 (2017): 214-229. 

“Back to the Present: The ‘Temporal Tandem’ of Migration and Conversion among Pentecostal Nikkei Brazilians in Japan.” Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology. 82.4 (2017): 758-783.

Courses Taught


JAPAN 138: Japanese Diasporas

JAPAN 139: Critical Theory Through Anime and Manga

JAPAN 161: Ethnic and Social Diversity in Japan

JAPAN 180DL: Death, Love & Money in Modern Japan

EACS 103B: Anthropology of Japan

EACS 181GL: Global East Asia


JAPAN 236: Transnational Japanese Studies

JAPAN 237: Anthropology of Japan