Ian Hunter

Ian Hunter

Specialization: Contemporary Japan, Anthropology, Critical Disability Studies, Digital Ethnography, Mental Health


My research centers on hikikomori, individuals in prolonged periods of physical withdrawal from normative society, primarily in Japan but around the world, as well. Utilizing a critical disability framework, I examine how current approaches for understanding hikikomori closely model the existing individual and social models of disability, and seek to illustrate how hikikomori instead embody an experience of the world as socially disabling.  Using digital ethnographic methods, I want to show how, contrary to popular conceptions of hikikomori as being completely asocial, many turn to the internet and digital means of communication, such as forums or Discord servers, as a way of being differently social.

Thesis Committee:

Dr. ann-elise lewallen (Chair)
Dr. Sabine Frühstück
Dr. Hangping Xu

Academic History:

B.A. in History, University of Virginia

Teaching Assistant/Reader Experience:

JAPAN 159: Reader, Japanese Cinema, Fall 2021
JAPAN 112: Reader, Survey of Modern Japanese Literature, Winter 2021
KOR 120: Reader, The New Korean Wave, Winter 2021
JAPAN 159: Reader, Japanese Cinema, Fall 2020
KOR 142: Reader, Korean Melodrama, Fall 2020
EACS 4B: TA, East Asian Traditions: Modern, Summer 2020
JAPAN 17: TA, Imagining the Samurai, Spring 2020
KOR 20: TA, New Korean Wave, Winter 2020