ARCHIVED ONLINE LECTURE - Touching the Unreachable: Writing and Skinship in Modern Japanese Literature
Monday 20 June 2022
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Free – Donations Welcome
Please note this lecture has changed to an online event so we will send the zoom links and details to attend closer to the date.
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What is the role of touching in modern Japanese literature? How have Japanese writers expressed the act of touching mediated through skin, objects, and memories?
In this talk, Fusako Innami will explore the work of Japanese writers—such as Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata, Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, Junnosuke Yoshiyuki and Rieko Matsuura—to analyse the desire for touch in modern Japanese fiction. Combined with feelings of concern, fear and yearning, touch emerges in these writers as a particular obsession with objects and with the possibility of connecting with the Other. At the same time, through the language they choose, they acknowledge distance in touch and the difficulty in building relationships with others.
Fusako Innami is Associate Professor in Japanese and Performance Studies at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Durham University. Her research interests include life writing, performance, phenomenology and psychoanalysis, the body and the senses, operatic orientalism and translation. Her first monograph, Touching the Unreachable: Writing, Skinship, Modern Japan, appeared in September 2021 (University of Michigan Press), and she is currently working on her second project on phenomenal bodies in postwar Japan.
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* Images: Complicité co-production with Setagaya Public Theatre and barbicanbite09 Shun-kin, directed by Simon McBurney, inspired by A Portrait of Shunkin and In Praise of Shadows by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki (First premiered in 2008 at Setagaya Public Theatre). Left © Sarah Ainslie; Right © Robbie Jack.
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