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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Hikikomori: Why are so many Japanese men refusing to leave their rooms?


    In Japan, hikikomori, a term that's also used to describe the young people who withdraw, is a word that everyone knows.
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    The Truth about Mental Health: Hikikomori will be broadcast on the BBC World Service at 14:30 GMT on Friday 5 July
    Read more from the Mental Health series
    When does your mental health become a problem?

    Tamaki Saito was a newly qualified psychiatrist when, in the early 1990s, he was struck by the number of parents who sought his help with children who had quit school and hidden themselves away for months and sometimes years at a time. These young people were often from middle-class families, they were almost always male, and the average age for their withdrawal was 15.

    It might sound like straightforward teenage laziness. Why not stay in your room while your parents wait on you? But Saito says sufferers are paralysed by profound social fears.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Perhaps they sense what's out there and perhaps, one day, they will be studied as sorts of seismic sensors who foretold the collapse of a world.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    I could be considered a hikikomori.

    I rarely leave my room, but that's because I work a 40-hour-a-week job and have Asperger's Syndrome.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Because their parents continue feeding them?
    Just my opinion

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Seriously (though jjenny might just be onto something there) - I have experienced extreme social anxiety, after a lifetime of wanting and doing nothing but being surrounded by as many people as possible at all times. One day - I just couldn't deal with it. A year later, I could barely leave the house without a panic attack. To this day I have NO idea why, I just think maybe I was all 'peopled out'.

    Anxiety is a horrible thing to live with. But why so many boys in Japan?

    Maybe it's just the pressure and expectations of the society around them. I am seeing this with high schoolers here - anxiety symptoms at ages 13-14 because they haven't decided on a career path yet.

    Which is pretty sad, imo.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    I have a son who is 18 who would never leave his room if he could. He has no interest in school, job, friends. But, he can focus on video games for many hours at a time. I wonder if these Japanese boys have that in common with him?

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