Topics: Hikikomori, Avoidant personality disorder, Japan Pages: 11 (3419 words) Published: January 8, 2013

Hikikomori - Wikipedia, the f ree ency clopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hikikomori (ひきこもり or 引き籠もり Hikikomori, literally "pulling inward, being confined", i.e., "acute social withdrawal") is a Japanese term to refer to the phenomenon of reclusive adolescents or young adults who withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement. The term hikikomori refers to both the sociological phenomenon in general as well as to people belonging to this societal group.

1 Definition 2 Common traits 3 Prevalence 4 Theories on cause 4.1 PDDs and autism spectrum disorders 4.2 Social and cultural influence 4.2.1 Japanese education system 5 Financial 5.1 Japanese financial crisis 6 In popular culture 7 See also 7.1 Hikikomori-related Japanese terms 7.2 Hikikomori-related disorders 7.3 Hikikomori-related terms 8 References 9 External links




The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare defines hikikomori as people who refuse to leave their house and, thus, isolate themselves from society in their homes for a period exceeding six months.[1] The psychiatrist Tamaki Saitō defines hikikomori as "A state that has become a problem by the late twenties, that involves cooping oneself up in one’s own home and not participating in society for six months or longer, but that does not seem to have another psychological problem as its principal source."[2] More recently, researchers have suggested six specific criteria required to "diagnose" hikikomori: 1) spending most of the day and nearly every day confined to home, 2) marked and persistent avoidance of social situations, 3) symptoms interfering significantly with the person’s normal routine, occupational (or academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships, 4) perceiving the withdrawal as ego-syntonic, 5) duration at least six months, and 6) no other mental disorder that accounts for the social withdrawal and avoidance.[3] While the degree of the phenomenon varies on an individual basis, in the most extreme cases, some people remain in isolation for years or even decades. Often hikikomori start out as school refusals, or futōkō (不登校) in Japanese (an older term is tōkōkyohi (登校拒否)). The Ministry of Health estimates that about 3,600,000 hikikomori live in Japan,[4] about one third of whom are aged 30 and older.

Common traits
While many people feel the pressures of the outside world, hikikomori react by complete social withdrawal. In some cases, they lock themselves in their room, apartment or house for prolonged periods, sometimes measured in years.[5] They usually have few, if any, friends. While hikikomori favor indoor activities, some venture outdoors on occasion.[6] The withdrawal from society usually starts gradually. Affected people may appear unhappy, lose their friends, become insecure, shy, and talk less.

According to government figures released in 2010, there are 700,000 individuals living as hikikomori with an average age of 31.[7] Still, the numbers vary widely from expert to expert. Among these are the hikikomori that are now in their 40s and have spent 20 years in isolation, this group is generally referred to as the "firstgeneration hikikomori," and there is concern about their reintegration into society in what is known as "the 2030 problem," when they are in their 60s and their parents begin to die off.[7] Additionally the government estimates 1.55 million people to be on the verge of becoming hikikomori.[7] Originally psychologist Tamaki Saitō, who first coined the phrase, estimated that there may be over one million hikikomori in Japan, or approximately 1% of the total Japanese population, but considering that hikikomori adolescents are hidden away and their parents are often reluctant to talk about the problem, it is extremely difficult to gauge the number accurately.[8] People who have all the...
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