The "Hikikomori": Japanese teenagers who do not leave their room for months or years

Andrea in Japan tipped us off to this article about the shocking problem in Japanese society known as "hikikomori": teenage shut-ins who do not leave their bedrooms, sometimes for years. Hikikomori is a noun that describes both the problem and the person suffering from it and is also an adjective, like "alcoholic." It refers specifically to certain Japanese teenagers who, for one reason or another, enter their bedrooms and withdraw from society, sometimes not leaving for six months or much longer. They spend their days watching television, playing video games, and listening to music. About 80 percent of hikikomori are male, some are as young as 13 or 14 years old and some live in their rooms for 15 years or more. Some experts estimate that there as many as a million hikikomori throughout Japan.

 

The social and cultural reasons for the existence of this problem are complex, but there are organizations in Japan working to combat the problem and help the chronic hikikomori re-enter society. The article is long and gives the details of several individual hikiomori, and is definitely worth a read for anyone interested in this unique phenomenon,

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.