Reconsidering the self in Japanese culture from an embodied perspective

[Speaker] Tanaka, Shogo:1

In current cultural psychology, it is widely acknowledged that the self in Eastern cultures has characteristics of being interdependent and collective compared to the self in Western cultures. My aim is to reconsider this claim from the perspective of embodied self, through the case of Japanese culture as an example. The concept of embodied self has its source in phenomenology, especially that of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, who represented the self as "I can" rather than Cartesian "I think." The self is profoundly based on embodied actions towards the environment and thus it is not isolated from, but intertwined with it. From this viewpoint, there is a specific type of interactions with the environment that underpin the characteristics of the self in Japanese culture. In my view, it is nonverbal and synchrony-oriented embodied interactions with others that form the non-individualistic character, since they bring a certain sense of unity through interpersonal communications.
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