Anatomy of Conflict


  • Naoko Maeshiba Naoko Maeshiba/Kibism


This essay explores physicality in the context of intercultural theatre and the conflicts, challenges, and questions that arise in bringing my Japanese self into the Western classroom. My inquiry revolves around the internal process of rethinking the physicality of actors through various lenses: space and body, emotion and body, logic vs. ambiguity, and Western horizontality vs. Japanese verticality. Special attention is given to the relationship between body and space, with reference to the work of a Japanese director and playwright Ōta Shōgo. Through an excavation of my roots and reflections on my past experiences, juxtaposed with discoveries in my current classroom, the essay tracks a gradual shift in my soma (body) as I entangle my Japanese/Western construct, move toward a reintegration of the two, and embrace the question of whether a universal approach to potentiality in performance is possible.


Author Biography

Naoko Maeshiba, Naoko Maeshiba/Kibism

Naoko Maeshiba is a somatic educator, performer, and professor emerita of theatre arts at Towson University. She is the founding director of Naoko Maeshiba/Kibism, a dance theatre company created to investigate the interrelations of body, space, and language. With her company, she has authored, created, and presented works in the US, Europe, and Japan. Maeshiba’s current research project, Live True Nature, examines how the thinking and movement patterns ingrained in our bodies form false self-images, hindering our true abilities, and it utilizes the power of imagination to produce new performances both in life and on stage. Her writing includes “Japanese Verses Western Influence: A Thought on Evocative Darkness” (Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance, April 2008); “Movement and Health: Live Your True Nature: Performance, Somatics, And More” (Zeszyty Naukowe 9, December 2023); and "Excavate the treasure inside you" (Ameba blog, Jibun no naka no Takaramono wo Hakkutsu suru).