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Societal Glitch: Stories of the Hikikomori; An exhibition and immersive study on a sociological phenomenon, otherness and the universality of the hikikomori experience. Open Access

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This thesis proposes a sociological art exhibition that shares the story of an alarmingly growing population of reclusive youths in Japan known as the hikikomori. A term coined by psychologist Tamaki Saito, hikikomori is the Japanese translation for “pulling inward, being confined”. This is a ubiquitous term that refers to the phenomenon and to the individuals who have the condition. Societal Glitch pushes the preconceived notions of this topic by analyzing the contributing factors of the hikikomori condition. Starting in Washington D.C.’s Navy Yard district, this traveling exhibition initiates a conversation about the impacts of societal pressures, cultural norms, cultural tradition and globalization on a generation through the story of the hikikomori. Through compelling didactic research and immersive installation art, this exhibition proposal attempts to bridge the mental and emotional distance that society automatically places on sociological phenomena like hikikomori in order to eliminate stigmas and to create a better understanding of the world we live in. This dissertation and exhibition proposal aims to make a meaningful contribution to the developing, yet, insufficient research done on the hikikomori.

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