[Hanoi] JF Asia Center Fellow talk session: Hikikomori

The Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam proudly presents talk session by the Photographer, Ms. Maika Elan and Specialist, Ms. Oguri Ayako in Hanoi on Wednesday, 15 and Friday, 17 of March.

The Japan Foundation Asia Center awarded Maika Elan as an Asia Center Fellowship, which is supporting program for individual activities for research, creative engagements, and network building among Japan and South East Asia.

Maika had stayed in Japan for 6 months, from March to September, 2016 and researched about Hikikomori. She will share her project and experience in Japan to us with some photos her took. At the same time, we invite Ms. Oguri who works as a “Rental Sister” to support Hikikomori persons in Japan.

And we will welcome two young Japanese guests, former hikikomori, who are trying to re-socialize themselves.

These various viewpoints around Hikikomori provide us wide and rich understandings about this issue.

Date & Time:  Wednesday 15.3.2017
 18:30-20:30│free admission
 Courtyard (or Gallery space in case of raining)
 The Japan Foundation, 27 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
 Friday 17.3.2017
 10:00-12:00│free admission
  University of Social Studies and Humanities, Vietnam National University
  Block H-2nd floor, 336 Nguyen Trai, Thanh Xuan, Hanoi


Maika Elan

Maika Elan (aka Nguyen Thanh Hai) is a freelance photographer based in Hanoi.Maika Portrait

After study sociology at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi, Maika started to use the camera, and then Lomo’s family cameras, to take pictures of her daily and private life since 2008. She turned to professional photography soon starting collaborations for editorial clients and fashion firms in Vietnam. In 2010 Maika moved to documentary photography and her first project called The Pink Choice, focused on personal life of gay couples in Vietnam, has been published in many magazines on print and online such as in USA, UK, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain, China, India and Brazil. Maika Elan was double-awarded for the “best photo essay” and the “best single photo” in 2010 at Indochina Media Memorial Foundation and in 2012 The Pink Choice was finalist at Asian Women Photographers.

The Pink Choice won 1st prize stories, Contemporary Issues, at World Press Photo 2013 and 1st prize documentary story at Pride Photo Award 2013.

She had stayed in Japan for 6 months, from March to September of 2016, as a Japan Foundation Asia Center Fellow and took photograph of “Hikikomori



Oguri Ayako

Staff of “New Start”, an Approved Specified Nonprofit Corporation, “Rental Sister”  [photo left]Rental Sister

Ms. Oguri had been working as a “Rental Sister” who supports hikikomori by visiting their house for 10 years.

Through the communication via letters, phone call, visiting hikikomori, Rentarl Sister try to bring them out to the society taking 6months to one year. It is different approach from neither Counselor nor “Mental friend”.

Many people in Japan tend to think that working at the company is the only way they should follow. She suggests them that there’s various life if people have broaden perspective.

Last year, she supported and advised Maika Elan’s activities in Japan.


HASHIMOTO Masaya (32)

He was a good student before entering high school. At the high school, he disappointed himself because he couldn’t keep being honor student. Then he was suffered from the concept of values of “WINNER and LOOSER” in his mind.

Once he had worked as a full time officer, he quitted his job since he couldn’t keep tension to continuing work. He participated “Peace Boat”, which is the program travelling around the world for international exchange for youth with the aim to seek his new life. He visited Vietnam at that time. But things didn’t go as he expected, he shut himself away. His parents ask Rental Sister to support him, and he decided to make start again after 7 years hikikomori.

Now he is trying to reconsider himself to affirm himself among communal life.

OGAWA Takehiro (24)

He shut himself away from 13 to 22 years old. He spent internet gaming every day. After spending one and half years at the dormitory to get accustomed to group living for hikikomori, he started single life and got part time job since he could cook well. Though he started independent life, he quit the job because he couldn’t follow irregular time shift. 3 months ago, he decided to back to the dormitory by himself because he didn’t want to cope with his parents. He joined this talk session to get something new experience which he never experienced before.

■ Press Release




■ For inquiries on the program and the interview with the artist, please contact at:

Ms. Huong (ext. 106) / Mr. Kawai (ext. 109)

The Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam

27 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam         TEL 04-3944-7419        www.jpf.org.vn  www.facebook.com/japanfoundation.vietnam


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