Japanese Atmospheres: Of Sky, Wind and Breathing

  • Lorenzo Marinucci


This chapter offers an introduction to three fundamental atmospheric notions deployed by Japanese culture, observing them both in their original context and through a neophenomenological frame. The three concepts are that of 空 ku- “sky”, 風 fu- “wind” and 気 ki “air” or “breath”. Each of them, however, shows an impressive complexity and a wide array of meanings, many of which, despite the puzzling effect on a non-Asian reader, are highly coherent. Why is the character for “sky” also the signifier for the Buddhist notion of emptiness and imagination? Why is “wind” both the chief element of “landscapes”, a signifier for the aesthetic in general and having even the sense of “culture”? Is ki, with its impressive use for phenomena both bodily and psychic, external and internal, an actual phenomenon in the world? Despite the risk of exoticizing the cultural difference of non-European sources or the opposite refusal of these notions as “totally other”, the potential of a cross-cultural phenomenology of atmospheres is made evident, also presenting the work of modern Japanese philosophers who have already retraced the heritage of these concepts in a philosophical perspective.


Fū Kū Ki Japanese culture 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorenzo Marinucci
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of LettersUniversity of Rome “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly

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