American Hikikomori: The End & The Beginning

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Japan: Collectivistic Culture vs. Individualistic Culture

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Part of getting to know my wife, was also getting to know the cultural differences she had to adjust to when she assimilated to the American lifestyle for college. When we decided to get married, it was my turn.

We chose not to live in Japan but when we visit her side of the family, there are many unspoken rules I have to follow and certain ways I must conduct myself when interacting with… everyone.

We chose not to live in Japan, partially, because we enjoy our cultural individualism. For my wife and most of her friends, they’ve been “Americanized” so much that re-assimilating into their native culture would prove to be extremely difficult, but not impossible, for them.

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To help you wrap your head around this a little better I found this web entry:

“Cultures are typically divided into two categories: collectivist and individualist. Individualist cultures, such as those of the United States and Western Europe, emphasize personal achievement at the expense of group goals, resulting in a strong sense of competition. Collectivist cultures, such as those of China, Korea, and Japan, emphasize family and work group goals above individual needs or desires.
Collectivism and individualism deeply pervade cultures. People simply take their culture’s stance for granted. In the U.S., everything from ‘self-serve’ buffet tables to corporate structure to cowboy movies reflect the deeply ingrained individualism.
Both collectivist and individualistic cultures have their failings. People in individualist cultures are susceptible to loneliness, and people in collectivist cultures can have a strong fear of rejection.

Traits of Collectivism
▪ Each person is encouraged to be an active player in society, to do what is best for society as a whole rather than themselves.
▪ The rights of families, communities, and the collective supersede those of the individual.
▪ Rules promote unity, brotherhood, and selflessness.
▪ Working with others and cooperating is the norm; everyone supports each other.
▪ As a community, family or nation more than as an individual.

Traits of Individualism
▪ “I” identity.
▪ Promotes individual goals, initiative and achievement.
▪ Individual rights are seen as being the most important. Rules attempt to ensure self-importance and individualism.
▪ Independence is valued; there is much less of a drive to help other citizens or communities than in collectivism.
▪ Relying or being dependent on others is frequently seen as shameful.
People are encouraged to do things on their own; to rely on themselves.

Attribution is the process of understanding the actions of others based on limited information. Since the process is inexact, large errors often creep in. In individualistic cultures, there is a strong bias towards attributing a person’s behavior to the characteristics of that person, instead of to the situation that person is in. This is called the fundamental attribution error. People in collectivist cultures have this bias to a much lesser degree.
Personality Types
The stereotype of a ‘good person’ in collectivist cultures is trustworthy, honest, generous, and sensitive, all characteristics that are helpful to people working in groups. In contrast, a ‘good person’ in individualist cultures is more assertive and strong, characteristics helpful for competing.
The idea of the ‘artistic type’ or ‘bohemian’ is not usually found in collectivist cultures. However, collectivist cultures usually have a ‘community man’ concept not present in individualist cultures.” – psychology.wikia.com

In Japanese society, collectivistic culture is partially responsible for the Hikikomori phenomenon. I would never claim to be an expert but the research I’ve done on this subject suggests that, typically teenage, men become Hikikomori because of overwhelming pressure to be successful AND part of the group. When they have a mental break, they reject all of these values and retreat from everything and everyone.

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Despite our cultural differences, there was a reason Eminem wrote, “The Real Slim Shady”. Pop culture thrives on collectivistic tendencies.

Every country has its flaws and my point is not to say one country or culture is better than the other BUT different.
Keep an open mind and you might see how much we actually do have in common.

I try to everyday.

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American Hikikomori: The end is nigh…

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You can help at our official INDIEGOGO page

We’re one week out from closing our first crowd funding campaign so there’s still time for you to help us spread the word or contribute to our campaign.

Remember, if you can’t donate, you can still help us by telling five of your friends to tell five of their friends about us and follow us on our social media sites below.

Thanks your help and have a great holiday!

Check us out on our Website.

For more information or questions, email us at:

info@americanhikikomori.com

Or visit our social media links:

Our most important supporting cast… the Background Talent (a.k.a. Extras).

No man is an island and most films cannot be made without Extras.

Yes, extras.

“A background actor or extra is a performer in a filmtelevision show, stage, musical, opera or ballet production, who appears in a nonspeaking, nonsinging or nondancing capacity, usually in the background (for example, in an audience or busy street scene). War films and epic films often employ background actors in large numbers: some films have featured hundreds or even thousands of paid background actors as cast members (hence the term ‘cast of thousands’). Likewise, grand opera can involve many background actors appearing in spectacular productions.

On a film or TV set, background actors are usually referred to as “background talent”, “background performers”, “background artists”, “background cast members” or simply “background” while the term “extra” is rarely used.” – Wikipedia

This group of actors and actresses completely blew me away with their professionalism and talent when it came to working on our film. Most of the time extras are not featured or mentioned (by name) at all when promoting a film or television show so, I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to them by introducing them to you.

AnnaRoss
Anna Ross. A professional and natural talent, she was a pleasure to work with. Anna improvised some lines for me on a moment’s notice and helped put a button on a scene in a way I had never considered.
EmmaDuncan
Emma Duncan. Emma took the bus from Pasadena to Gardena two days in a row after being booked via Craigslist the night before we were scheduled to shoot our school scenes. If you’ve never lived in Los Angeles, that is about 2 hours (one way) to get to us and we are grateful she did.
BillyCruz
Billy Cruz. Or “Billynaire Cruz” also came down to play with us two days in a row over the weekend. Billy has been on numerous sets and it shows in his professionalism and talent.
LeonelClaude
Leonel CLaude. Leo is passionate about his work and both his resume and IMDB are just scratching the surface on the number of productions he’s appearing in. A great presence to have on set.
NickBrovender
Nick Brovender. Nick also came to us at the last minute; literally the night before the last day of principle photography. Professional and upbeat, it was a joy having Nick come out and play with us on location.
BethDamiano
Beth Damiano. Great energy and quick on her feet, I also asked Beth to improvise some lines for me on the spot. We were shooting an alternate scene that was not working for me and I couldn’t ignore her enthusiasm to help. Beth stepped up and owned it.
DanielVega
Daniel Vega. Cool, calm, and collected, Daniel never really said much can convey words with just a look. Just look at that smile.
JessicaSznajnor
Jessica Sznajnor. Coming from a film industry family, Jessica works on both sides of the camera. From the second she walked in the door, she brought great energy and an upbeat attitude. She even offered to stay longer despite having to run off to another shoot that same night!

 

Filmmaking is truly a collaborative effort and I could not have completed my film without their help.

We had originally planned for double the amount of background talent to come out for filming but they all flaked. Resilient and determined to continue with our journey, we simply embraced our cast who did show up and will be forever grateful they did. Karma will deal with the rest…

Thank you, everyone.

You can still help us finish our film by joining our team!

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American Hikikomori: The Crew

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So every television show, movie, and stage show is composed of some kind of crew. For our film, my crew consisted of some of my closest friends.

Check out our film’s behind the scenes albums. We had a great time working on this film and can’t wait to show you.

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American Hikikomori: Nadja Hoyer-Booth

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Nadja Hoyer-Booth, English Teacher

Hailing from Nyack, NY, Nadja came into acting in mid life, uncovering her desire through doing the exercises inThe Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  After getting her first call back at her first audition, she knew she was on the right path. Some of her favorite experiences have included working with Danny Glover in “The Shift” and with Channing Tatum & Jonah Hill for a “21 Jump Street” promo. Currently residing in Los Angeles , but with a home in Nyack, she considers herself bi-coastal & most fortunate to enjoy both the Apple & the Orange. Her most recent work can be seen in “Purge: The Anarchy” promo as an historian & on Funny or Die, “Supertaco”.

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On set with the talented Nadja Hoyer-Booth

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American Hikikomori: Akiko Shima

First and foremost we’d like to thank Vanessa Smith, Tony Shaff, Kyoka Shiraiwa, Jessica Everleth, “Nonbehime, ” and our anonymous donors for contributing to our INDIEGOGO campaign! We could not do this without your support.

Akiko Shima, Isamu’s Grandmother

Akiko Shima is a Japanese actress who is best known for “Letters from Iwo Jima” directed by Clint Eastwood.  She was born in Tokyo, Japan.  She has loved and studied acting since she was eight years old. After graduating from high school, Akiko began her professional career as a radio personality performing for the popular program, “The Punch, Punch, Punch” (2nd generation) of Nippon Hoso (Nippon Broadcasting.)  When she came to Los Angeles, she continued to work for Japanese Radio and TV stations including UTB as a broadcaster for over 20 years, and also worked for an English business channel program, Theater and voice-overs.  After she joined various actors’ unions, she has enjoyed working as an actress in America.  Her work in film includes “Letters from Iwo Jima”, “The 8th Samurai”, “Ghost Month”, “Usagi-san”, and “Masterless.”  She has also worked in TV commercials and numerous voice-overs.  Akiko is very grateful to have been able to work with the wonderful and talented director, cast, and crew of “American Hikikomori.”

For 日本語 click here.

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