HomeThe Paulinian Compassvol. 1 no. 4 (2010)

Queer Ecopoet?: An Analysis of “Chitô [Tito]” by Japanese Ecopoet Hiromi Ito

Keitaro Morita

Discipline: Sexuality, Sexuality Studies



The concept of nature has been characterized by a number of dichotomies such as outer nature/inner nature and the natural environment/body. Generally speaking, Japanese ecocriticism has so far ignored the right side of such dualisms—inner nature and body. This paper focuses on these suppressed dimensions through an examination of a Hiromi Ito’s queer ecopoem “Chitô [Tito],” from the co-authored book Noro to Saniwa [Noro and Saniwa]. I give attention to sexuality, especially queerness, in inner nature and body. The paper positions Hiromi Ito as a queer ecopoet because, in “Chitô,” she problematizes the boundary between heterosexuality and homosexuality by implicitly questioning the ‘naturalness’ of pervasive heterosexuality. It shows her uninhibitedly retained erotic significance of pre-Oedipal anality in her adult sexual explorations as well as a self-contained onanist utopia in her ‘one-woman’ SM relationship, and treats the men in the poem as being mere dismembered bodies and objectified sexual organs; moreover, her queerness finds another significant embodiment in her refusal to let herself fall prey to the pitfalls of fixed sexual identity or sexuality. In this sense, this paper sheds light on the forgotten dimensions of the outer nature/inner nature and the natural environment/body dichotomies in “Chitô”: inner nature and body.