Research Summary 4

Grisafe, Michael. “Can Culture Create Mental Disease? The Rise of “Hikikomori” in the Wake of Economic Downturn in Japan – Mind the Science Gap.” Mind the Science Gap RSS. N.p., 16 Nov. 2012. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.

As some might think that the effects of Hikikomori only effect the people around them, it could actually effect the surrounding citizens of japan. Michael Grisafe is the author of this article that I am presenting you today. He brings up the argument that Hikikomori can affect the future of japans economy a lot more than expected.

This articles seems very credible for what it is worth. The author may not be a reporter, but is actually a student in grad-school at the University of Michigan. Which in turn, we know he will give us some credible evidence and several works cited to try and drive his argument to the people that are reading his weekly blog. Which brings me to who exactly is he trying to tell this message towards. I personally believe his audience are the people who worry about hikikomori and understand the functions of the economy and how in turn when one economy falls, there can be effects to the other. Some of the sources seem to be a bit outdated by a couple of years, but he still is able to drive his point across with plenty of reliable evidence.

Mr. Grisafe starts his article by asking “What happens when a society’s cultural demands can no longer keep pace with the economy reality of the world? Who bares the strain and what happens when the burden becomes too much?” Which is saying what will happen to the country once the next generation of adults have been pushed so hard by societies standards, just give up. As much as 80% of these individuals are males, and many come from middle-class homes which are able to support as they barricade themselves in their rooms, however many hikikomori seem to lead lives of isolated desperation; Mr. Grisafe expresses. Traditionally, Japanese institutions have favored a very structured transition of youth from high school, to secondary school (College), to long term employment. However, those rare individuals who failed to follow this path and immediately obtain a job after graduation from secondary school were considered failures and rarely able to re-enter the labor market at the same level in the future. This is relevant to the fact when Mr. Grisafe explains that 50% of high school graduates go on to complete 4-year universities, up to 20% of them can only find low-paying jobs after graduation.

According to the author, some sociologist have suggested that these individuals are not rebels in the sense that they are rejecting one ideology and accepting another, but rather individuals defining themselves by rejecting the core values of the Japanese work and social ethic itself. They assert that the hikikomori are the result of these youth comparing themselves to the increasingly unattainable success of their parents. This topic has grown increasingly urgent in japan as the so called “First generation” of hikikomori who have been living with their parents for the past 20 years are approaching 40. Many worry not only for the fate of these aging hikikomori, but the social and economic consequences for japan as the hikikomori’s parents retire and pass away. As their parents die off, japan will be faced with the very real problem of integrating a large population of socially disengaged and unskilled individuals into society. This makes hikikomori both a personal and a potential economic problem.

Leave a Comment

Filed under RS 4

Leave a Reply