'Hikikomori: A Deafening Silence' Documentary Interviews Japan's Social Recluses

Having long fascinated the rest of the world with its peculiarity, the uniquely Japanese social ill

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Having long fascinated the rest of the world with its peculiarity, the uniquely Japanese social ill of young male social recluses, or ”hikikomori,” gets a thorough and charged examination in filmmakers Dorothée Lorang and David Beautru’s feature documentary, Hikikomori: A Deafening Silence. Spawned from a volatile mixture of the intersecting spheres of a shaky job market, a collectivist society, a stagnant economy, as well as various cultural factors and social pressures, hikikomori now number anywhere between 600 thousand and 1 million, and have been renounced as Japan’s “lost generation.” Thus, Lorang and Beautru’s exploration of the issue takes them to a rehabilitation center that aims to reintegrate these pariahs into society, who gradually open up to the filmmakers about their reasons for withdrawing from society as well as their hopes and dreams. The result is a raw and intimate portrait of these troubled individuals who are so often glossed over in mainstream domestic media as a blemish on Japanese society. Now showing at various film festivals globally, catch a glimpse of the film via the trailer above.

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