This mesmerising video gives us a unique perspective of what it’s like to be a Japanese “hikikomori” social recluse.
In Japan, individuals who shut themselves up in their homes and withdraw from society and social interactions for half-a-year or more are known as hikikomori. It’s a phenomenon that’s often discussed in local and international media, with people struggling to understand what goes through the minds of these modern-day hermits, and government bodies looking for ways to re-integrate them back into the workforce.
One way to understand the life of a loner is to look at the world from their point-of-view, and this new video clip for British musician Bonobo’s new track, “No Reason” featuring Nick Murphy, does exactly that. Using a very big set and a very small camera, the clip gives us a sense of the confined space, mental anxiety, and never-ending sense of time that afflicts Japan’s estimated 700,000-strong population of hikikomori.
Check out the music video below.
The clip begins with a young man lying on his futon on the floor of his room, in front of a wall-scroll that reads “My Small Home” in Japanese.
As the camera moves through room after room, the boy can be seen playing video games, reading manga and eating instant noodles as his increasingly cramped surroundings fall into greater states of disarray, resembling his psychological state.
After we get to the final tiny room, the camera pulls back through all the scenes, taking us back to where it all started, giving us the sense that there’s a new start and a fresh range of choices lying beyond the door of the recluse.
Directed by Oscar Hudson, the creative team behind the scenes has also released a video on YouTube showing how the music clip was created. The video shows how a small Codex action camera was used to capture the images for the clip as it travelled on a track through 18 individual rooms which were connected together to form a large set.
Homes in Japan are known for being notoriously small, and this clip gives us a sense of what it can feel like to be trapped inside a Japanese room for too long. For many of Japan’s hikikomori loners, however, this is the life they are compelled to lead, and governments are doing what they can to support these individuals as they face harsh criticism from members of Japanese society.