Friday, June 01, 2007

"J-Pop in Context" -- preparing for Cornerstone workshop

It has come to pass that I am doing a workshop called "J-Pop in Context" at Cornerstone Festival. Cornerstone is an annual event that takes place in some out of the way place in Illinois (USA). I am really looking forward to being there as it will be an opportunity to meet people and experience great music, films and other art.

Here is a draft of what I will present:

For "J-Pop in Context" which will take place in the "Imaginarium" I plan to use two or three anime (Japanese animated films) as "conversation starters." In particular I have prepared screen shots from two of Miyazaki's fine works (Spirited Away & Princess Mononoke).

Here are the tentative titles for the three workshops at the Imaginarium:

1. Myths, Mysteries & Mayhem: how Japan came to be the way it is, an historical/cultural overview.

2. Sin, Shame and Salvation: if Japan is so "secular" why is anime so spiritual? A focus on the worldview of Japanese as revealed in anime.

3. Hikikomori: Modern Japanese Hermits
Why are large numbers of “lost” Japanese hiding out in their rooms?

I will also do one session at the "Flickerings" venue where I will show a short video taped interview of a young man named Taku and discuss it. I have known Taku for several years but I didn't realize until this week that he spent about three years as a hikikomori. Here is what Taku wrote to me:

Sure (I will do the interview) But I don't really know if I'm the one that you are looking for though.

I mean, I was kind of "active" one.
I don't know if I can call myself "hikikomori".
I used to be a high school drop-out, but that was loooong time ago.

I said I become kind of "hikikomori" for a short time, even sometimes now. But serious ones are not even
going outside for years + years.

It promises to be an interesting interview! As far as I know, this will be the first interview with a hikikomori person that shows the person's real identity. I may post it on, we will see.


Bry said...

Man I wish I could see these workshops. These are all things I'm thinking about right now.

Paul Nethercott said...

Thanks bry for your comment. I enjoyed Cornerstone a great deal, it was a great honor to be there and to be involved as a speaker. I highly recommend Cornerstone as it is a great place to meet people and hear some fresh perspectives from people who are deeply thinking through issues.