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young people isolating themselves: phenomenom in Japan


10 Mar 2003
I saw a document produced by BBC on sunday. It was about a phenomenom that's been known only in Japan, where young people (usually men) isolate themselves from the outside world even for years. They live in their rooms, never going outside, never seeing anyone, bathing on very rare occasions, talking to their parents through the door with just a few words...I can't remember the exact japanese term on this phenomenom, but maybe you'll recognize it.

The document was quite stopping. The pressure of the society (education, studying etc.) is so hard, that some people just can't take it. I felt so bad. I've been exhausted sometimes, and very depressed, because of studying, but compared to the pressure these japanese people have-my studies are a child's play! If I only could help somehow.

I just wanted to bring this up (even though it's a sensitive subject), and ask if you guys have some experiences,stories,points of view etc. on the subject.
I saw this documentation 3 times allready and it amazes me everytime.. wow

this guy's parents hadn't seen this guy in months or so cause he can't go out of his room cause the whole room was covered in garbage , the only way they knew he was alive was cause he knocked on the walls sometimes.. ugh
"Hikikomori" is the term coined for extreme social withdrawal syndrome. A fascinating subject and many sociologists speculate it has ties to the recent rash of heinous juvenile crimes (although the phenomenon is relatively new and undocumented in its research). Only time will tell I suppose if this disturbing trend continues to become more commonplace or not.
Yeah, it's sad that this phenomenon is so typical in Japan.

Doesn't the classic manga Doraemon also portray normal boys with this behavior dating as far back as the 1970s?
What I find interesting is how this is described as a 'Japanese' phenomenon, when there must be millions of agorophobics the world over. Perhaps the only difference here is that the parents are unwilling to get help, and end up supporting their child's need to stay indoors.

Can't be the first time that something in Japan is said to be 'unique' to that culture ;)

Well,based on the document, I don't think this is about agoraphobia. Seeing the document, and hearing some "lifestyle stuff" from my finnish-japanese friend, I really do understand why and how the problem can exist only in Japan...at least, I don't know any country that would resemble Japan (in it's good and in it's bad).
In the document they showed how little children just study,study and study some more. From 8 am to 01 am...that's unbelievable, and so hard. Which other country forces children and young adults to work this much?
In one way I understand it, and have respect for it, but I also see it with my scandinavian eyes, and just feel bad for the children.
And who knows.If I was living in Japan,I might suffer from hikikomori too...I know myself that well.
That document come from Finland television too. I think the schooling in japan is too hard =(

Oh you where from Finland dumb ol' me :p
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