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:

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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Seemingly small roles play a huge part in every story.

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.

Family-photo
The Fujihara Family

It has been said, “There are no small roles in a film, only small people.” And I’m a witness; a true believer. From the moment I started learning about who Hikikomori are and how important family dynamics play into their psychosis AND recovery I knew I needed something to symbolize the typical family. Why not a family photo?

Nami Paix
Isamu’s Mother (portrayed by Nami Paix)

For the story we’re trying to tell, we needed someone to fill in the role of Isamu’s mother. In context of the film, Isamu’s Mother has already left the family after having an affair and divorce. Thus, Isamu’s mother never makes an on screen appearance outside of a photograph. For some reason, casting this film in Los Angeles proved to be more of a challenge than we had originally anticipated. Especially when you need native speakers. We posted casting advertisements for months on casting sites and forum boards but it just didn’t seem like anyone was interested or took us seriously… until we found Nami Paix. Thank you, Nami for taking the time to hang out with us on a random Saturday to take some pictures for our small film. The thirty minutes you spent with us has enhanced a project we’ve spent the last two years developing.

BTHSFamilyPhoto
Step 1 in making a prop family photo… taking the photo.

For more information on our cast, simply follow the link to our website. You can help us finish our film by joining our team! Here’s how you can help us!

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Campaign Week 5: Half Full or Empty?

We’re now at the midway point and an anonymous donor has pushed us 33% closer to our campaign goal. We could not do this without your support!

Glass
Is it half full or half empty? Or is it vodka?

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Location, location, location!

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Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.45.45 PMLocation location location…

When you shoot a film, a television show, or even a photograph, your location really does have an impact on your logistics, crew, and content. You wouldn’t make Lawrence of Arabia in Iceland or The Jungle Book in New York. You could, but it would be weird.

Lately, a lot less production actually takes place in Hollywood than it used to. Other cities, states, and even countries are giving production companies major incentives to have them come in and make a film or television show in their area.

Part of the reason Hollywood became a major hub for film and television production was because of the constant sunny weather AND because almost every type of climate imaginable is just a few hours drive away. From desert to forest to beach to mountains, California has it all. However, California still seems to lack competitive incentives for producers to stay…

But I don’t want to talk about that.

Set
There’s no film without a place to shoot it!

Outside of production, what’s amazing about traveling is how it impacts us as human beings. Well, I don’t want to speak for you but it has had a great impact on me.

I spent the first eight years of my life living the military family lifestyle. I was born over seas and we moved several times before my father decided to retire.

Because we moved around, I learned that the world is indeed a very large place and, more importantly, that I want to see and experience as much of it as I can. Sure, any one can open a book or turn on a television to get an idea of what any place is like but it will never compare to actually being there, good or bad.

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.26.24 PMAfter graduating from high school, the first city I lived in on my own (for college) was Boston, Massachusetts. Moving from Baltimore, Maryland to Boston was… educational. I learned a lot about myself and the values I truly hold dear for how I want to live my life. That’s not because Boston is a great mecca that people should make a spiritual pilgrimage to, that’s ridiculous. Have you been to Boston? It was simply the first place I lived without the sheltering protection of my parents. It was the first time I could look at myself as an adult. Most of us spend the first eighteen years of our life in “training.” Once you’re out in the world, that training is put to the test morally, financially, and socially on a constant basis. For me, a lot of values stuck while others morphed and some were completely dropped.

 

I lived in Boston for two years before transferring south to go to film school. I would never choose to live in Boston again (my wallet couldn’t take it) but I know living there continued to shape who I am today. I’d love to return for a visit someday.

There’s no place like Boston and I can always point out a New Englander or “Mass-hole” anywhere. Some of my good friends are from this region and this city. Some might find the Boston or New England mentality off putting. Since moving to Los Angeles, I sometimes find it refreshing.

Traveling (even city to city) really does broaden the mind and strengthen the soul. Do it when you can, as often as you can. You’ll learn so much about the world and yourself.

Our film, American Hikikomori, speaks more to the pitfalls of traveling. This story is about a young man who can’t seem to cope with his new surroundings so; instead, he removes himself from it completely. He hides from everything. Researchers have concluded that Hikikomori exist partly because parents refuse to intervene in a direct or meaningful way.

To me, that sounds like bad training.

For more information or questions, email us at:

info@americanhikikomori.com

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