About four years ago, in the mid summer of 2012, I set out to make a short film about Hikikomori. I set up this blog in hopes of connecting to other filmmakers and people who like the same things I like.
I also set out to tell a story about something I had never heard of, growing up in America, but very quickly came to empathize with. Despite its Japanese origins, I feel like I understand why some people become Hikikomori.
It just spoke to me and I had to tell this story.
Is happiness (with your life and dreams) supposed to be about the destination or the journey?
At this point in my life, it’s both and it’s a fleeting happiness. I think this is the blessing and the curse of making movies or telling stories. Once it’s done. You’re back at zero but you welcome it because the process won’t be the same experience the next time around. The people you will meet along the way will inspire you as well as challenge you. The art form completely has you at it’s mercy but there’s no other way you’d rather spend your time.
This film took me longer than I thought, cost more than I thought, and I still manage to meet people who are willing to help me. It’s very humbling and truly amazing.
What you do I want more than anything?
I guess I want to keep doing this.
I’m already writing and researching the next film.
The main character, Isamu, moves from Japan to the United States with his divorced father and paternal grandmother. Isamu is an intelligent guy, but he’s left completely alone to face the process of cultural integration. His new classmates don’t show any patience with him and even his teacher, who should support him, is totally unsympathetic. So Isamu decides to drop out of school and withdraws himself to his bedroom, clashing with the concerns and the anger of his father.
I found “American Hikikomori” technically accurate, charming in shots and in music. The short film covers some of the main issues related to Hikikomori, such as the absence of the father, the difficulty in relating with classmates and teachers, and the hypersensitivity that is often found in guys who decide to isolate themselves.
The finale forces the viewer to reflect on the paradoxical condition of Hikikomori, the more they try to get away from the others and the more they become dependent on them. This reflection can be extended to the entire human existence, because basically we are all alone and, at the same time, inextricably linked.
A big “ありがとうございました!” to Marco Crepaldi for his wonderful review via his blog Hikikomori ItaliaAND for volunteering his time to translate our film’s subtitles into the Italian language.
I am absolutely humbled, flattered, and grateful. Our first batch of sales via Vimeo have actually been in Italy! To me that speaks volumes about how the Hikikomori phenomenon is no longer isolated to Japan.
If you would like to contribute in the effort of translating our film into another language OR simply learn more about our film or the filmmakers, you can contact us at:
Great news, east coasters!! I am proud to announce, “American Hikikomori has been selected to screen at FilmFest52 at The Bethel Cinema in Bethel, CT at 7:00pm on Wednesday, October 7th.” Please go check it out if you’re in town or close by.