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Since the end of the 1970s, the Japanese concept of ma has often been used in the west to signify an aesthetics of distance. This paper is a reverse exploration whose aim is to understand how this term appeared in the critical discourse in Europe (Nitschke, Barthes, Berque), but also in Japan with philosopher Nakai Masakazu. It shows that this concept is a recent elaboration of Japanese thought, which emerged from a dialogue with German phenomenology and Heidegger in particular.
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