Aesthetic Engagement and Soundscape: A Case of Convenience Store Woman, a Contemporary Japanese Novel
- Číslo 1 
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
Helsinki University Press
Source documentEstetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics
Periodical publication year: 2023
Periodical Volume: 2023
Periodical Issue: 1
Rights and license termsThis is an open-access article distributed under the terms of theCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords (English)aesthetic experience, aesthetic field, Arnold Berleant, auditory sensibilities, everyday aesthetics, Japanese sensibilities, social aesthetics, soundscape
The award-winning novel Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, first published in 2016 as コンビニ人間 (Konbini ningen), has received a lot of media attention from readers of both the original Japanese version and the English translation. For some, the novel depicts the wonder and vulnerability of a culture of convenience and conformity, while others have suggested that it highlights the gender discrimination faced by women in contemporary Japan. Yet the novel is ripe for analyses from other perspectives. This paper presents one such new approach to analysing Murata’s Convenience Store Woman: its social-cum-auditory aesthetic. The theory of social aesthetics, developed by Arnold Berleant, essentially holds that there are perceptive values to be found not only in objects but also in social situations. The paper will argue that the convenience store’s environment – the social interactions, and soundscape presented in the novel – invokes and evokes a variety of aesthetic qualities, among them ‘acceptance’, ‘sensuousness’, and ‘reciprocity’. Combining a re-reading methodology and an application of Berleant’s social aesthetics theory, I will show how these sensibilities can be observed through the experiences of Keiko Furukawa, a life-long convenience store worker and the novel’s protagonist. Specifically, the focus will be on Keiko’s auditory sensibilities.
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of theCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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