This afternoon, i visited Spectacular City, an exhibition held until January 7 2007 at the Netherlands Institute of Architecture in Rotterdam. The show features some of the best (and yes, they are indeed spectacular) examples of urban photography from the last ten years. I’ll probably write more on Spectacular City when i’m back home. In the meantime, i’d like to share a video i discovered there. It’s called Hikikomori and its author is a very talented Italian photographer: Francesco Jodice who worked together with film director Kal Karman on the project.


A Hikikomori, says wikipedia, is a reclusive adolescent or young adults who has chosen to withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement due to various personal and social factors in his/her lives (BBC has a report on the phenomenon.)

The film explores some aspects of japanese young people social behaviours.

Most of them decide to never go out of their home or even of their bedroom. This absolute isolation, that can least for a short period, but even years, becomes a shelter, a protected place of lost childhood, virtual game and manga. Hikikomori live a nocturnal life, in a deep depressive state, far from social responsabilities (school, work, family) and activities. Even sexuality is often virtually lived and connected to a sexy manga heroin.

I liked the documentary a lot. Strangely the message of the adolescents who can hardly speak english is incredibly powerful and endearing. Even if you have heard/read about the phenomenon, you can’t help being surprised (to say the least) when you see one of them looking straight at the camera and saying “Today video phones are very popular so we don’t have to meet.”
Check the film at Francesco Jodice‘s website. Go to “works” then to “Hikikomori.”

Hikikomori was filmed in Tokyo in November 2004.