TAKATSUKI, JAPAN (AFP) – Disillusioned by work and bored with life, Seiji Yoshida withdrew from the world for seven years, however now he is collaborating in a play in regards to the experiences of Japan’s “hikikomori”, or social recluses.
The 42-year-old spent most of his thirties shut inside his residence.
“I used to be going via the motions of life, however mendacity to myself. Aside from work, I had nothing,” he instructed AFP at a workshop for the worldwide manufacturing.
“I’d simply had sufficient.”
Yoshida was amongst greater than one million Japanese aged 15 to 64 who lead extremely reclusive lives, withdrawing from all social contact for at the least six months, in accordance with a 2020 authorities estimate.
By way of an experimental theater mission, two French artists are hoping to supply hikikomori – or “shut-ins” as they’re typically referred to in English – an opportunity to precise themselves and regain self-confidence.
Their play Hiku – to be proven subsequent yr in France, Belgium and elsewhere in Europe – goals to present hikikomori a platform for self-expression, whereas respecting their want for isolation.
It options robots managed by individuals at residence in Japan and voice recordings of conversations held via bed room doorways.
It additionally contains footage from small however noisy road demonstrations staged by hikikomori who’re taking steps in direction of leaving their confinement – however who really feel oppressed by Japan’s demanding work tradition.
“We do not need to be pressured to work! Cease oppressing us!” individuals chanted at one demonstration filmed within the metropolis of Takatsuki in western Japan.
Yoshida, who took half within the protest, instructed AFP he was “very proud” to be a part of the theater manufacturing.
The producers are working in Takatsuki with a neighborhood organisation, New Begin Kansai, which supplies assist and firm for hikikomori to assist them progressively readjust to life in society.
“It is a social downside… however society has made (hikikomori) imagine that the issue comes from them,” stated Atsutoshi Takahashi, a mediator on the affiliation.
Psychoanalyst and affiliate professor at Kyoto College Nicolas Tajan stated hikikomori typically confronted difficulties in childhood.
In Japan, “childhood and adolescent psychological difficulties are usually not addressed and never handled,” he instructed AFP.
“Meaning in maturity it will possibly crystallize into a sort of social withdrawal.”
As adults, they face further issues as they “are seemed down on as a result of they do not work,” he added, noting that “work is actually an important a part of Japanese identification”.
Round a dozen recovering hikikomori are collaborating within the mission.
Some will management robots from 10,000 kilometers away throughout the play, portray messages on the ground and speaking to spectators via microphones.
The robots are “a kind of avatar” to discover “being current and absent on the similar time, a recurring theme for hikikomori”, stated co-director Eric Minh Cuong Castaing, a visible artist and dancer.
He hopes the manufacturing will assist audiences mirror on their very own lives, arguing that whereas hikikomori are generally thought to be weak, their actions signify a type of resistance to being “a soldier in a swimsuit and tie.”
When the French artists started researching the mission in Japan, they took time to construct connections with the remoted folks launched to them by New Begin Kansai.
“It was a giant problem for a few of them to allow us to into their houses and communicate to us,” stated co-director Anne-Sophie Turion, who will carry out within the play as a narrator.
She stated being strangers from one other nation might have made issues simpler, “as a result of the standard prejudices weren’t there”.
“We discovered individuals who we felt nearer to than we ever may have imagined.”
Restoration may be troublesome for hikikomori, who worry as soon as they’ve withdrawn from society, they will not be allowed again in, psychoanalyst Tajan stated.
“This reinforces their avoidant behaviour.”
However artwork may help reclusive people “reconnect with creativity” and envisage “one other world” past psychiatric remedy or re-entering employment, he stated.