The genkan serves as a physical and symbolic threshold of the house. Differing in its position, its geometry, its sunken level, sometimes also in its flooring material, from the other spaces of the house, it is nonetheless firmly situated inside the house. Similarly, it is in the genkan that the rites of passage from inside to outside, from private to public and vice-versa, are performed—where messages are transmitted, outdoor garments and shoes are taken off, strangers are welcomed or turned away. These rites are reflected in the changing behaviors of the visitors as well as of the residents performed at the genkan, where personal feelings in front of each other are hidden behind a required formalism, yet are correspondingly revealed once the doors have been closed.
Xiaowei WeiZhao Ruilan
Thing of Modernity – Mapping the Micro-geography of Everyday Environments