Hikikomori Syndrome

Wang, Shirley S. “The Fight to Save Japan’s Young Shut-Ins.” WSJ. The Wall Street Journal, 26 Jan. 2015. Web. 29 July 2015.

Shirley S. Wang is a reporter for the New York Times and is the author of the article “The Fight to Save Japan’s Young Shut-Ins. Hikikomori, a word used by the Japanese that is used to describe someone who has left the reality of their lives to seclude themselves in their rooms. It’s a major problem in Japan, growing in rapid numbers every day. However they are more than just anti-social people who just don’t like to go out. They’re people who given up on their lives, they choose to stay indoors all the time, deny any form of interactivity with the outside world.

The Author is very credible to talk about this topic. She works for the New York Times, which is one of the biggest new sources in the country. She also has some very credible sources ranging from a American hikikomori that have been isolated for 6 months, to true the extreme hikikomori who have been inside their homes for about 14 years or even more. The text even includes very credible elements such as personal interviews to scientific statistics that have been recorder the past few years. She even cites her sources for her information.

According to Ms. Wang, the puzzling condition is often thought of as a Japanese phenomenon, affecting an estimated 500,000 to two million in japan. She even goes on to say that similar reports have been shown up in the U.S, Hong Kong and Spain. In Japan, hikikomori has been a household word since the 1990s, with many experts calling it one of the biggest social and health problems plaguing the country, Ms. Wang explains. Yet the causes and treatments of the condition-or even whether it’s a mental illness or not-remain poorly understood. Takahiro Kato, a professor in the neuropsychiatry department at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, is working with support centers to study hikikomori in a more rigorous and systematic way. Dr. Kato and a team of Japanese and international collaborators that include Alan Teo, a psychiatry professor at Oregon Health & science University, want to better define what hikikomori is. They also hope to understand the social and biological underpinnings of the condition to improve treatments.

According to Ms. Wang, Japanese experts point to strict parenting practices and pressure that children feel to succeed as contributing factors. Yet hikikomori often live with their parents, and these parents can be soft in forcing their children to go to school or leave the home, they just leave them be. People can even become hikikomori for the smallest of reason, Yu-chan, a 27-year old woman who considers herself no longer hikikomori, is working to home her computer skills to get a job, which would be her first. She said she was comfortable speaking, but her face immediately flushed a light pink. She trembled slightly during a brief interview when discussing the 14 years where she stayed home because of hurtful words friends said to her when she was 10. Ms. Wang even reports of a child who wasn’t able to recover until she was at the age of 33, and she started to become a hikikomori at the age of 14.

Shirley Wang concludes her article by reporting that, that the hikikomori syndrome has become such a big problem that there are many shelters where these people can go and get help like a rehabilitation clinic. Hikikomori is a real cause for concern, but can be helped. As a former Hikikomori, Yu-cahn expresses that “You can’t really take back lost time, Please try to take the first step out.”


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5 Responses to Hikikomori Syndrome

  1. Topanga

    Wow! That was very intriguing. I have never heard of Hikikomori Syndrome, but it sounds like its a real problem for the Japanese. The stats were staggering, it could almost be labelled a epidemic. Its really sad to me that one comment from a peer could turn someone into a recluse. I really like this summary and the source shedding light on an issue we don’t hear about here in the U.S. I hope that there are measures in place to help stop this practice of seclusion, because those victims of Hikikomori are really missing out on life.

  2. Robert

    I agree with Topanga, this was intriguing and it is sad that one comment from a peer can make people stay in doors for their entire lives. The summary was informative and easy to read. The issue itself is interesting because it is possible that we can know someone like that.

  3. Juan

    This is articles is a very complex on as Japan has had some trouble with shut-ins. I think that it became such a big problem that it was the reason for the creation of the anime “Welcome to the NHK” which is about a Hikikomori. I also agree with Robert, it’s a sad day when someone else’s words force someone to want to close themselves from reality. The summary is good as it explains that shut ins are not just a problem in Japan.

  4. Telana

    This was very interesting. It kept me intrigued as well and I was urged to read more. I would of never thought Hikikomori was a thing. I agree with the author that something needs to be done about HIkikomori because lives are just wasting away. Overall this was a well written summary and I’m glad some light has been shed on the topic.

  5. Kamran

    I’m astonished to hear about this syndrome because I did not such a thing existed. This syndrome reminds me of the metamorphosis by Franz Kafka because he experienced something similar to this. He was secluded and isolated from every one. There needs to something done about this syndrome because it could cause depression .

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