Kowakare: A New Perspective on the Development of Early Mother-Offspring Relationship

Koichi Negayama*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The mother-offspring relationship has components of both positivity and negativity. Kowakare is a new concept introduced to explain an adaptive function of the negativity in the early mother-offspring relationship. Kowakare is the psycho-somatic development of the relationship as the process of accumulation in the otherness of offspring. Early human Kowakare has two frameworks, biological inter-body antagonism and socio-cultural allomothering compensating the antagonism. Some features of feeding/weaning, parental aversion to offspring's bodily products, and transition from dyad to triad relationship (proto-triad relationship) in tactile play are discussed. Early human Kowakare is promoted by allomothering with the nested systems of objects/persons/institutions as interfaces between mother and offspring. Kowakare makes mother-offspring relationship a mutually autonomous and cooperative companionship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-99
Number of pages14
JournalIntegrative Psychological and Behavioral Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Mar
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomy
  • Kowakare
  • Mother-offspring relationship
  • Otherness
  • Proto-triad
  • Weaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Anthropology
  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology


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