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  • MEAL 1

Touching the Unreachable: Writing, Skinship, Modern Japan

Speaker: Fusako Innami

Associate Professor in Japanese and Performance Studies| School of Modern Languages and Cultures | Durham University

Moderator: Grace Ting

Assistant Professor in Gender Studies | School of Humanities | University of Hong Kong

DATE: 29 MAR (WED) 5:00 pm–6:30 pm (Zoom, HKT)

How can one construct relationality with another through the skin when touch is inevitably mediated by memories of previous contact, accumulated sensations, and interstitial space? In the first half of my presentation, I share a brief overview of my book Touching the Unreachable, examining the role of literary touch. In the second half, I explore the work of modern Japanese writers, including Kawabata Yasunari, Tanizaki Jun’ichiro, Yoshiyuki Junnosuke, and Matsuura Rieko, to analyze how touch emerges from feelings of concern, fear, and yearning. I argue for touch at the intricacy of verbalization or translation amid characters’ utterances, authors’ depictions, and readers’ interpretations that develop a particular form of touch in writing the unreachable.

Fusako Innami is an associate professor in Japanese and Performance Studies at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Durham University, and the author of Touching the Unreachable: Writing, Skinship, Modern Japan (Michigan, 2021). She has published works on the body and the senses, intimacy, and sleep. Her current project engages with embodied performance practices as transcultural interactions and collaborations that have advanced the understanding of phenomenal bodies.

The series is coordinated by Dr. Su Yun Kim (, Dr. Pei-yin Lin (, and Dr. Alvin Wong (

For registration of the seminar, go to



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