American Hikikomori @ the Indie Night Festival


A big “Thank You!!” to Dave Brown for showcasing our film, American Hikikomori, in the Indie Night Film Festival last Saturday!! We are grateful for the opportunity to tell our story and meet other filmmakers.

Discussing the film
Discussing the film

We also give Dj Q-Nice a gold star for making several attempts in pronouncing the title of our film.

Akiko Shima talks about her experience working on the film.
Akiko Shima talks about her experience working on the film.

From the Indie Night Film Festival website:

INDIE NIGHT aims to elevate the craft of artists while giving them an avenue where they can be
recognized on a bigger platform, network and exchange info with new & established Hollywood

To learn more about Dave Brown’s Indie Night Film Festival follow the link.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates on future festival screenings and progress on our next film!


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Asians On Film Festival – Winter Quarter 2015 Winners!

Actress, Akiko Shima

We are so proud to announce that our very own Akiko Shima has won the Best Supporting Actress category in the Asians on Film Festival – Winter Quarter 2015! This also means (via Festival Editor/Programmer Scott Eriksson) Akiko Shima is a nominee for her category for the Asians on Film Festival Awards in 2016!

From our website – 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.”

Actor, Naoyuki Ikeda

We’re also proud to announce that Naoyuki Ikeda also won an honorable mention for Best Supporting Actor!

From our website, Naoyuki Ikeda is a Japanese film actor and producer. Born and raised in Nagoya, Japan, Naoyuki graduated from Tsuru University in 1992. After spending 13 years teaching English in Japan, Naoyuki decided to move to LA to be a Hollywood film actor. He has been studying the Meisner Technique at Playhouse West since 2010. Past theatre roles include “Musical Gonza?Bokyono-Uta?”, “Shioawaseno Hakarikata”, and “Burai”. Past film credits include “Blue Dream”, “The Bitch That Cried Wolf”. Upcoming films include “Satanica”, “Hunter”, and “Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance”.

You can find the official announcements here.

Way to go Ms. Akiko and Naoyuki!

We are so excited and grateful to share our film!

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Somewhere in Kamakura…


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PHOTO: Macha Green Tea with Candy Sweets


A bowl of Macha Green Tea during our visit to our favorite bamboo temple in Kamakura. Check out our old blog, “Japanese Tea Ceremony: The Way of Tea

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Words to live by…

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American Hikikomori: The End & The Beginning


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Japan: Collectivistic Culture vs. Individualistic Culture

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 for your help and have a great holiday!


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.” –

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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