The Hikikomori Phenomenon

by Limbic on January 20, 2006

From Wikipedia

Hikikomori (lit. “pulling away, being confined,” i.e., “acute social withdrawal”) is a Japanese term to refer to the phenomenon of reclusive adolescents and young adults who have chosen to withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement due to various personal and social factors in their lives.

The term “hikikomori” refers to both the sociological phenomenon in general, as in the hikikomori issue, as well as those individuals who display behaviors considered within the boundaries of the social label as in Hiroshi is a hikikomori. As the word hikikomori is taken directly from the Japanese language, it is often used for both the singular and plural form in English without modification: a hikikomori, those hikikomori, the hikikomori phenomenon. Via MindHacks.

The New York Times did a story on the phenomenon last week:

Shutting Themselves In By MAGGIE JONES

One morning when he was 15, Takeshi shut the door to his bedroom, and for the next four years he did not come out. He didn’t go to school. He didn’t have a job. He didn’t have friends. Month after month, he spent 23 hours a day in a room no bigger than a king-size mattress, where he ate dumplings, rice and other leftovers that his mother had cooked, watched TV game shows and listened to Radiohead and Nirvana. “Anything,” he said, “that was dark and sounded desperate.”

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