Sensing Multispecies Entanglements

Koto as an ‘Ontology’ of Living

in Social Analysis
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This article explores how matsutake, with its elusive characteristics that evade human senses, guides humans to cultivate a sensitivity to multispecies entanglements. It analyzes the concept of koto, developed by psychiatrist Bin Kimura, to describe how people learn to notice the events and happenings that a variety of beings are engaging in at every moment, even though these practices often elude human consciousness. Drawing examples from a manga series and two ethnographic cases in Japan—a grassroots satoyama forest revitalization movement and a forest biomass study—the article discusses koto as an ‘ontology’ of entangled life. At the same time, koto raises questions about ‘ontology’, as it indicates the traces of struggle in translating the term itself.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

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