Bodies in Japanese Language
An Introduction to the Polysemous Character of Corporeality
This article presents an inspection into the vast arena occupied by terms and signs in Japanese language that designate the word ‘body’. The study is centred around etymons and semantic descriptions offered in selected monolingual lexical sources, thereby revealing slight divergencies that surface when confronting these entries in order to underscore the ambiguity and hybridity that characterise corporeality itself. In addition, part of this study is dedicated to Ichikawa Hiroshi’s semantic analysis of the Japanese word mi (body), to Uno Kuniichi’s discourse on the shintai (body) and to insights on corporeality offered by Kan Takayuki. The purpose of illustrating this diversified lexical treasure that surrounds, sustains and recreates bodies is to draw attention to the central position occupied by corporeality itself in Japanese culture, where the body/bodies emerge as a catalyst of cultural production.