The Departing Body: Creation of the Neutral in-between Sensual Bodies


  • Fusako Innami



space-in-between, selfhood, sensual and sexual, passivity, skinship


This paper investigates the Japanese concept of ma/aida, the space in-between, discussed by French author Roland Barthes as the Neutral, not signifying the medium of the opposite poles but the bare existence. It first analyzes how the discourse of contiguous relationships and the space between others has functioned in modern and postwar Japan, and further employs the works of the Japanese female writer Matsuura Rieko as counterexamples,
with particular emphasis on the space between the sensual and the sexual. It provides a fresh view on the conceptions of space and indirectness between and within the body.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

  • Fusako Innami
    Fusako Innami, St. Antony’s College, DPhil candidate in Oriental Studies, Oriental Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford.


Akutagawa, Ryūnosuke 芥川龍之介. 2002 (1922). “Kamigami no bishō.” 神神の微笑 (“The Smile of the Gods.”) In Nihon deishin bunseki 日本精神分析 (Japan Psychoanalysis), by Karatani Kōjin 柄谷行人, 2–11. Tokyo: Bungei Shunjū. Originally published in Shinshōsetsu 新小説 (Tokyo, 1922).

Barthes, Roland. 2005. The Neutral: Lecture Course at the Collége de France (1977–1978). Translated by Rosalind E. Krauss and Denis Hollier. New York: Columbia University Press.

Blanchot, Mautice. 1993. The Infinite Conversation. Translated by Susan Hanson. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Deleuze, Gilles., and Guattari, Felix. 2004. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi. London: Continuum. Originally published as Mille Plateaux, Capitalisme et Schizopherénie (Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1980).

Fukushima, Shun’ō 福嶋俊翁. 1974. “Zen to shoga.” 禅と書画 (“Zen and Calligraphy.”) In Kōza zen 講座禅 (Lecture on Zen), vol. 5, edited by Keiji Nishitani 西谷啓治, 103–111. Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō.

Karatani, Kōjin 柄谷行人. 2002. Nihon seishin bunseki. 日本精神分析 (Japan Psychoanalysis.) Tokyo: Bungei Shunjū.

Kimura, Bin 木村敏. 1981. Jiko, Aida, jikan: genshōgakuteki seishin byōrigaku. 自己・あいだ・時間 現象学的精神病理学 (The Self, Between-ness, and Time: Phenomenological Psychopathology.) Tokyo: Kōbundō.

Kimura, Bin 木村敏. 2007. Bunretsubyō to tasha. 分裂病と他者 (Schizophrenia and the Other.) Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō. Originally published in Rinshō seishin byōri 臨床精神病理 (Clinical Psychopathology), vol 3. (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō, 1982).

Levinas, Emmanuel. 1969. Totality and Infinity: an Essay on Exteriority. Translated by Alphonso Lingis. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press. Originally published as Totalité et Infini: essai sur l'extériorité (La Haye: Martinus Nijhoff, 1961).

Matsuura, Rieko 松浦理英子. 1991. Nachuraru ūman. ナチュラル・ウーマン (Natural Woman.) Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha.

Matsuura, Rieko 松浦理英子. 1994. Yasashii kyosei no tameni. 優しい去勢のために (For a Gentle Castration.) Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō.

Matsuura, Rieko 松浦理英子. 2006. “For a Gentle Castration.” In Woman Critiqued: Translated Essays on Japanese Women’s Writing. Translated by Amanda Seaman, and edited by Rebecca L. Copeland, 194–205. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
Originally published in Yasashii kyosei no tameni 優しい去勢のために (For a Gentle Castration) (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō, 1994).

Matsuura, Rieko 松浦理英子. 2007. Kenshin 犬身 (The Dogbody). Tokyo: Asahi Shimbunsha.

Matsuura, Rieko 松浦理英子. 2009. The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P. Translated by Michael Emmerich. Tokyo: Kōdansha International. Originally published as Oyayubi P no shugyō jidai 親指Pの修行時代 (Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 1993).

Nancy, Jean-Luc. 1997. The Sense of the World. Translated by Jeffrey S. Librett. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Originally published as Le Sens du monde (Paris: Éditions Galilée, 1993).

Nancy, Jean-Luc. 2008. Corpus. Translated by Richard A. Rand. New York: Fordham University Press. Originally published as Corpus (Paris: Métailié, 1992).

Natsume, Sōseki 夏目漱石. 1978 (1914). Watakushi no kojinshugi 私の個人主義 (My Individualism). Tokyo: Kōdansha.

Seem, Mark. 1983. “Introduction.” In Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, by Gilles Deleuze, and Felix Guattari, translated by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane, and edited by Gilles Deleuze, and Felix Guattari, xv–xxiv. Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press. Originally published as L’Anti-Oedipe (Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1972).

Ueno, Chizuko 上野千鶴子. 2005. “In the Feminine Guise: A Trap of Reverse Orientalism.” In Contemporary Japanese Thought, edited by Richard F. Calichman, 225–245. New York: Columbia University Press.



1. 12. 2011



Past Inspirations and Present Explorations

How to Cite

The Departing Body: Creation of the Neutral in-between Sensual Bodies. (2011). Asian Studies, 15(3), 111-130.

Similar Articles

1-10 of 21

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.