03 August 2009

Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, Aversion, and Hikikomori at Anime Edit Part 2 Now that you have the background from part 1 of this discussion, let's continue with my analysis of hikikomori after a couple years of reflection on my field work in Tokyo. In my usual overly verbose style I had this to say in the comments section of March of 2009 Moritheil posted a blog article titled "Aversion and Hikikomori" over on Anime Edit Blog: "Having done ten months of research at a Tokyo rehab center for hikikomori I can tell you that there is nothing “cool” about youth who are actual hikky. First the media scare on “Dangerous hikikomori youth” back in 1999 and 2000 and the recent the pop culture depictions have really distorted and glorified the whole hikikomori phenomenon. The reasons or trigger that caused a youth to become hikikomori vary. They can be like ghosts, staying up all night and sleeping by day or they can seem completely normal except they won’t look at a person face-to-face. It can be heartbreaking to be around hikikomori who are recovering as you can sense their frustration and desire to be normal but they are locked into patterns of behavior that avoid contact. The thing is, the label “hikikomori” was originally about the behavior of acute social withdrawal by Japanese youth, not the causes of it. The reason why a lot of Japanese may say hikikomori are unique to Japan is because of the different way such behavior is viewed in Japan by everyday people. In western societies there is a tendency to label a...
PhD Comprehensive exams done May 2009, onward to Prospectus Some other belated news to post. I officially passed my PhD Comprehensive exams on Friday, May 8th! It was a truly brutal five months of study to prepare for the week-long writing marathon and two hour oral defense, but now its done. Now that its August and several months behind me, I can say I understand why it was a required step in the path to a PhD in the Sociology Department at the University of Hawaii. The required organization, planning, and follow through was a learning process, but after five months of 3 to 5 hours of daily reading of research articles on my comprehensive topic lists, I feel like its become hard-wired into my thought processes. So it didn't really function as a gatekeeping academic hazing required to gain entrance into the hallowed halls of learning, but worked more like reprogramming in order to learn the skill set necessary to be a productive academic that will be required to teach undergrad classes, publish papers in journals, and conduct unique research over the course of my career. Several professors have said to me that they probably will never be as productive as they were that very intense week of writing up and defending the comprehensive exam, and to a certain degree, I concur with that assessment. After all, unless you are complete glutton for self-inflicted physical and mental punishment, I couldn't see myself willingly writing up another 80+ pages of cited, theoretically heavy material in the span of seventy hours over a seven day...

Michael Dziesinski

I'm a University of Hawaii PhD in Sociology discussing youth issues in Japanese society in this blog.

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