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Ok, I'm gonna aplogize up front since this topic covers several points that irratate me severly.


I feel sorry for the kids that most. Most of them like the article mentions are the victims of bullying. The article tries to cover some reasons why this hikkomori starts. Well, it's not that simple but most of the time it is. The bullying is probably the proverbial "last straw on the camels back".

The parents are 100% at blame for this. The Father is a berated beaten poor SOB who's wife has stolen his manlyness. The mother is a shrew who is indecisive and is afraid of her own shadow. So by having luke warm spagehetti noodle parents their son turns into a mass of jelly that is run by the mother who is actually incompetent and can barely decide if the water is hot or cold (actually to her everything is warm). The father since he has been beaten done by the wife is barely brave enough to revolt and complain about not being able to drink 4 bottles of beer a night.

So her you go. A boy who needs firm leadership is faced by parents who do love him and try to help in their own damaging ways (damaging yet contains love).

What do they all do when realization that the son has turned to hikkomori sets in? They panic! They worry ... "oh my god what will the neighbors say?" !!!

Dammit! What do the neighbors have to do with anything? Screw em all. They cause more harm and do more damage than their wait in salt is worth. "What will the neighbors say?"
"Piss on em", I say! My mother-in-law pulls this crap on my every once in a while. I always fire back! "Do they pay my rent?" NO, screw em if they complain!
"But you live in the same building", she counters. "Well, if that's the case, then why is my parking space always shoveled in winter while there's aren't"
"But it's embarassing, they'll gossip!" ... "****, let em gossip. That's all they're good for."

ahem, sorry.

Well, I'm sure you can understand that the pressure put on folks by neighbors is pretty heavy. I live up in Sapporo which is pretty relaxed in regards to such things, but yet, I have to go ballastic in order to get the crap of the neighbors out my way. So, the situation down south probably is pretty unbearable.

So their you go 3 problems. Mother, Father, and neighbors.

What's the solution?
Masking tape
A baseball bat
A pair of scissors

Like the good doctor from Maryland mentioned, "kick the door down." Well, the fine gentleman was pretty close I think. One Japanese lady did basically the same thing. But she was a bit smarter. She targetted the Father. She missed the point though, since the boy is still a pansy and is "slowly" entering society.

I would 1.) take the masking tape and wrap it around the mothers head and then give her a swift kick in the boot for not being able to decide which way to turn. 2.) I'd cut off the Father's balls since he doesn't use em anyway. 3.) I would break the door down with a baseball bat and if the son didn't come out I whack everything in site I could and make it so dam noisy he'd run out into the street. 4.) The neighborhood peeking-toms would soon jump to their stations of looking between curtains, which I'd then duely proceed to use the baseball bat on any neighbor I found.

Effectively, bringing about a society ruled with authority.
But that's going crazy.
Yes, but hikkomori is a problem because nobody will challenge the son to his right to lock himself up. I'd challenge it with a vengenace.

phhhhhewww, that was a long post :)
Typical, Moyashi, it's always those loud Europeans disturbing the tranquility in the neighbourhood. :D

I think the biggest problem here is that most Japanese are afraid to stand out from the crowd. That's what they should teach at school. Not to avoid confrontation, but to take action when action is needed, no matter how much toes you step on.
Then again, who knows what unwanted side-effects this will trigger...
Excellent post, Moyashi!

I think hikikomori aren't necessarily male, am I right?

@ neighbours

Sounds like a "rural" issue, I doubt that people care a lot about their neighbours in cities like Tokyo, where people hardly know each other. It's a heaven of anonymity, millions of lonely souls living shoulder to shoulder.

@ revolt

Spineless parents, hm... either kids withdraw into their cocoon or eventually explode into a rage of violence, turning against their "loved ones", as a lot of recent headlines seem to indicate.

Love and leadership... I agree.
@ sex
No it's not only males. Boys and girls turn into hermits for different reasons. Women it seems (from the shows on TV I've seen) to normally have something to do with love from the opposite sex. While boys it's more on the bullying side.

Ahhh, true but Sapporo is 1.8 million with a more laid back attitude, so Tokyo and other cities should be afflicted a bit more. Watch the gomi oba-sans you'll see right away the stuff that goes down.

@ Gaijin
Hehe, we're the ones who act more Japanese than our surrounding neighbors. Which is probably the problem. We should do as the romans do rather than do as the Japanese do.

@ revolt
Ohhh, how true.
Leadership isn't really taught in schools so standing out for a reason or issue is that much more difficult.

Love, love, love. All we need is Love.

@ Spelling
Sorry about the spelling misses above. I was on my way to work and got caught on the thread and didn't have a chance to reread it.
Wow. What an interesting phenomenon. I wonder what drives these young people to do this. (Does this only happen to young people?) I am reminded of people with obsesive compulsive disorders locking themselves in the bathroom or bedroom. I don't think it is necessaryily related though. Is it just an ingrained response that comes out of the culture to certain hardships? Very curious.
Age group seems to be from mid-teens to early 30's. Why? This age group?
Hmm, some thing has to be related to the parents ....

One story I saw on TV, a boy put himself into the kitchen and stayed there something like 4 years. The parents had to set up a completely different kitchen or order out!
@ moyashi brilliant post🙂

This is becoming a part of Japanese life that is so strange and as moyashi accurately pointed out its up to the parents to confront and deal with this problem as soon as it is apparent that the child is suffering from this condition, surely there must be early signs, such as missing meals with the family, reluctant to go to friends homes, refuseing to go to the store for milk ect, this simply can not just start as its seen and documented.
as for the neigbours, well I could just continue where moyashi left off but I'm sure you get my opinion,
@ aggressive approach
It has always worked here, a child with a fear of a person, dog, water, boat, horse (a million different things)ect, that children can be frightened of, its the parent who take them to that person and introduce them, or strokes the dog to show the child it wont bite, take the child in your arms into the pool/ocean, splash about and make it fun, just because the child has matured does not mean that your work is done, I have both parents that where aggressive in their approach to life, and in turn this has given me a great sence of appreciation which I will ensure my children get the aggressive approach and learn to appreiacate life and the living🙂
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This isn't exclusive to Japan since I have a cousin that could be described as a Hikikomori.

I guess that at some point he just couldn't handle the pressure and since he has an overprotecting mother, this situation has been dragging along for years.
He dropped out of school, he tried to get in again but failed, he got several jobs but since they aren't his ideal job he never stays too long on them. It's a shame. He's too stubborned and too proud to find medical help and that begun to affect in physically.
When I was a young boy, I used to spend a couple of weeks in my aunts home and we were bests friends but at some point in life... I don't know. I put myself away from all of this. He won't recognize that he has a desease so he doesn't seek a cure and my unkle and aunt feel too much sorry for him to do anything about it... it's a poisonous situation...
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Great post moyashi ! I understand you completely.

@japanese phenomenon ?
Of course it doesn't happen only in Japan ! I think that the main reason to the problem, like lineartube says, is overprotective parents (usually the mother) that are too kind to use any form of authority or too weak to fight the problem. The absence of the father is probably important as well.

@4 years in the kitchen
How did he survive ? I guess the parents had to bring him food regularly. If they did, they had to open the door, or the child had to get out himself to get some. No need to break the door, just seize the opportunity to enter and get him out. But without a solution, it's not going to get better. I guess the parents didn't worry so much about their offspring, that's all. They must have been very weak mentally to decide to built another kitchen. I guess they would not have objected either if a stranger walked into their house and helped themselves.

In a Western family, I guess most people would either have coped with it, or called the police or a doctor. In Japan they wouldn't as they are affraid of their image. If such a problem happens, that must be the parents' fault, not the child's. That's also partly true.
Parasitic singles

Here's another article:

Deep pessimism infecting Japan

"I fear that Japan, as a nation itself, is becoming hikikomori," said psychiatrist Satoru Saito, who treats shut-ins and counsels families in his Tokyo clinic. "It is a nation that does not like to communicate. It is a nation that does not like to take risks. So what these young adults are doing is a mirror of what they see around them in adult society."

=> http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/democrat/4792422.htm
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