Written by Vosot Ikeida and Tellurienne
Vosot Ikeida : A Japanese male hikikomori. 55 years old.
Tellurienne : A French female hikikomori. 38 years old.
...Continued from Round 1
The Life of Otaku 28 Years Ago
Vosot: Are you an otaku? You like animes so much?
Tellurienne: Yes, in fact I am an otaku. When I was a child, I was watching Japanese animes on TV, as I started to read the mangas in 1990. In those days, there were no mangas translated into French yet. You had to go to special bookshops to meet other otaku and buy mangas in Japanese.
Vosot: So, you started to learn the Japanese language so early. What a special education that was!
Tellurienne: Yes. I tried to learn the Japanese so hard, because I did not know what was written there. I also knew the first Nintendo video games. Today, I continue my passion, and I play a lot of video games and continue to read manga. I also collect model figurines inspired by video games and anime, like figma or nendoroid that I import from Japan. I listen to Japanese music like vocaloids, idols or anime soundtracks, video games and movies.
The otaku culture has brought me a lot in life since my childhood. I hardly recognize myself in the French culture where all of these do not exist.
Vosot: I am Japanese, but I know almost nothing about the otaku culture. I may be more attracted by the French culture like movies, literatures, paintings ...
Tellurienne: Why don't you know about the otaku culture despite you are Japanese?
Vosot: Maybe that's because of my education and family background. My mother put so much pressure on me that I was forbidden to read mangas or watch animes when I was a kid. She believed that a child who read manga and anime would become stupid. As a result, I do not even have the basic knowledge about them, and the otaku culture has become a world of totally unknown foreign culture for me by now.
Do you play online games too?
Tellurienne: No, I do not play online games. Because it is too difficult for me to contact with others. A few years ago I tried some, but because of my difficulties, the others rejected me, and I experienced it as a strong trauma.
While you did not know manga or anime, didn't you have problems to adapt yourself to the same generation of boys?
Vosot: Yes, I did. So much. I did not have chances to learn how to play with friends, especially with male friends of the same generation. It has influenced me for a long time. Even after becoming an adult, I find it difficult to find common topics with other adult men. I have nothing to discuss about cars or sports. I am not interested in the things that interest the majority of men. My way of feeling is pretty close to women, so most of the time I'm more comfortable with girls.
However, my appearance seems rather masculine, for example my body was solid and I have a lot of beard and so on, so women are afraid to approach me. This is one of the reasons I was likely to be alone. This contributed to my isolation.
Tellurienne: Are you a LGBT?
Vosot: No, I don't think so, because my object of love is always feminine.
Tellurienne: Is this the only reason for your isolation?
Vosot: Not the only one. There are many others. For example, I moved often, and my mother interfered me excessively. She had a kind of elitism with which she considered the other children living in the neighborhood as if they were inferior. Subsequently, I did not get rooted anywhere. I do not have my hometown. It was like I was always traveling. My life is an odyssey.
How was your childhood?
Relationship with the Parents
Tellurienne: I was born in Paris in 1979. I grew up in Ile-de-France, the suburbs of Paris. I do not remember my childhood well. Unfortunately I only have some memories of my mother who was alcoholic and depressed, and took me to the bars with her. My parents loved me a lot but they were clumsy in their education. Just like you, I had a mother who was very elitist. She did not want me to be a lower worker like her. She forced me to study to be better than other children.
Vosot: Oh, you too...
Tellurienne: However, she never stopped me from watching anime. My parents went to the special shops of Japanese manga by themselves to buy me presents. I was brought up as a single girl, but later, just a few years ago, I got to know that I have a half-brother. And yet, I could not keep in touch with him because it was too difficult for me to sustain human relationships.
Vosot: Were you a good pupil at the primary school?
Tellurienne: I don't remember so much about my years of elementary school. I think I had average results and my school marks were always "normal". It was after junior high school that I started having school problems. I was sent to a private Catholic school which was very strict, moreover my parents demanded me a lot. My mother especially helped me a lot with homework.
Vosot: Ah, my mother too. She demanded me a lot and did my homework too, even though I never asked her to do it. In my case, my mother wanted to impress my class teacher, and gain approval by her. My role was just to be the stage where my mother showed herself to my class teacher.
Tellurienne: I also did the conservatory. I played piano for seven years. I have a bad memory of that time. I think that's where my problem started because I was afraid of teachers and my parents who blamed me for bad grades. I was also bullied at the age of 14.
Drew the Violent and Morbid Scenes
Vosot: How terrible...It is terrible to be bullied. I know it, because I was also bullied too. Was your junior high school the one only for girls?Tellurienne: No, it was the mixed private school, with girls and boys together. I was educated in two Catholic private schools from the age of 4 until I was 19 years old. I was occasionally bullied by girls in my class who made fun of me, and then bullied also by boys, because I loved football and I played it well, which displeased them. At around 14, I started smoking and stopped the sport.
Vosot: Why did you start smoking so early?
Tellurienne: Because I wanted to join the group that was hurting me. I thought, if I did bad things as they did, they stopped bullying at me and let me join their group.
Vosot: Oh, that's too bad. It's sad that sometimes we have to degrade ourselves just to fit into the group, to avoid being isolated.
Tellurienne: In the high school, my school marks were changing to be catastrophic, but I continued to go to school anyway because my parents wanted me to. I had friends at that time, but I have a very bad memory of the relationship which I had with the teachers. Some of them were convinced that I had a lot of abilities, and harassed me by constantly questioning me.
Vosot: A child who has a lot of talent is likely to become the target of abuse by adults, because they are projecting on the talented child. I had some abilities in myself, so I was abused too. As a result, I developed chronic depression.
Tellurienne: I had talent at art, which was the only subject I worked hard. I managed to acquire my bachelor's degree in visual art with very low grades.
Vosot: You had talent at art. What kind of painting did you draw at the time?
Tellurienne: I drew a lot of violent and morbid things. I was in depression, just like you were.
Vosot: Did you suffer from violence at that time? For example, violence from men?
Tellurienne: Yes, I did, but especially from my father. When I was a teenager, he shouted at me and insulted me all the time. I was very much influenced by his violence for many years until I was 29, when I finally left my parents' house.
But it was already harder for me to be with girls, in my teenager days. I had more male friends. I was a tomboy. And I liked video games and mangas that are more for men.
I have always been uncomfortable with women since then. It makes my life more difficult.
...Continued to Round 3
To the Japanese Version of this article
To the French Version of this article