On the Verge of Throwing a Punch: The Somatic Aesthetics of Tetsuya Mariko

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Japanese cinema has a long history in depicting violence. Whether it comes from a
particular genre (Yakuza film) or certain auteur-director (Seijun Suzuki), violence is usually
seen as generic or exploitative pleasures. However, in the case of Testuya Mariko, his films
tackle the issue of violence with a different angle.
From his first feature Yellow Kid (2009) to Destruction Babies (2016) to a more commercial
success From Miyamoto to You (2019), he tries to contemplate on the nature of violence
itself. In an interview, Mariko mentions that ‘somaticity is sometimes said, the state of being
in or having a body. Whether the film is dynamic or static, I think the main thing I’m trying to
accomplish is that moment when the viewer reacts through body and emotions rather than
with logic’.
In this paper, I will examine how Mariko's films frequently dissect violence in its myriad
forms, unravelling the layers of social norms and personal agency that underpin acts of
brutality. His characters navigate a world teetering on the precipice of chaos, blurring the
lines between victim and perpetrator. In this sense, this paper explores the intricate interplay
between body horror, Japanese society, and somaticity within Mariko's works.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBorders, Boundaries, Edges, and Fringes in Japanese Film (Studies)
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2014
EventBorders, Boundaries, Edges, and Fringes in Japanese Film (Studies) - the University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Jun 202414 Jun 2024


ConferenceBorders, Boundaries, Edges, and Fringes in Japanese Film (Studies)
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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