Abdelkébir Khatibi and Japanese Culture
Abdelkébir Khatibi, who was seduced by the land of the Rising Sun, left us a few texts on Japan and its culture such as Japanese Shadow and “Tanizaki Revisited” in which he refers, in particular, to the great Japanese writer Junichiro Tanizaki. These texts indeed present a dual interest: on the one hand, they allow us to discover unknown aspects of Abdelkébir Khatibi – his deep attraction for Japanese culture, not only for literature but also calligraphy and other fine arts – and, on the other hand, his subtle and brilliant reading of Tanizaki's text, which gives us another insight into Japanese culture. In these two texts, we can identify several elements that Khatibi discovers in Japan via Tanizaki: exoticism beyond the simple exotic, eroticism, and ‘exophony’. We therefore examine Khatibi's Japanese culture, as inflected through the lens of Junichiro Tanizaki, following three problematics: exoticism, the body and languages, and Eros/Thanatos. Far from separate, all these elements are intertwined for Tanizaki as well as for Khatibi. In other words, this is a phenomenon, as the Moroccan writer points out, of ‘intersemiotics’.
Keywords: Khatibi, postcolonialism, decolonisation, transnationalism, transcolonial, aesthetics, sociology, Islam, Maghreb, Morocco, travel, stranger, art, sign, literature, philosophy, translation, bilingualism, Mediterranean, language, performativity, Palestine, alterity, Derrida, Hassoun, Segalen, Tanizaki, Japan, semiology, carpet, spiritual, poetics, ethics