Hikikomori: Why are so many Japanese men refusing to leave their rooms?
BBC -- Jul 05
As many as a million young people in Japan are thought to remain holed up in their homes - sometimes for decades at a time. Why?

For Hide, the problems started when he gave up school.

"I started to blame myself and my parents also blamed me for not going to school. The pressure started to build up," he says.

"Then, gradually, I became afraid to go out and fearful of meeting people. And then I couldn't get out of my house."

Gradually, Hide relinquished all communication with friends and eventually, his parents. To avoid seeing them he slept through the day and sat up all night, watching TV.

"I had all kinds of negative emotions inside me," he says. "The desire to go outside, anger towards society and my parents, sadness about having this condition, fear about what would happen in the future, and jealousy towards the people who were leading normal lives."

Hide had become "withdrawn" or hikikomori.

In Japan, hikikomori, a term that's also used to describe the young people who withdraw, is a word that everyone knows.

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.

"They are tormented in the mind," he says. "They want to go out in the world, they want to make friends or lovers, but they can't."

Symptoms vary between patients. For some, violent outbursts alternate with infantile behaviour such as pawing at the mother's body. Other patients might be obsessive, paranoid and depressed.

Source: BBC
Dec 21
Tokyo Electric Power Co. finished on Saturday removing all nuclear fuel assemblies from the cooling pool at the No. 4 reactor building at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. (Jiji Press)
Dec 20
The Ministry of Labor, Health and Welfare and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases said Friday that an influenza epidemic is spreading across Japan. (Japan Today)
Dec 20
The government has decided to levy consumption tax on e-books, digital music and other electronic media sold online by overseas vendors from October, according to sources. (The Japan News)
Dec 20
The probability for the Kanto region to be hit by a powerful earthquake - lower 6 or higher on the Japanese intensity scale of 7 - within 30 years has risen, the government panel's latest quake probability map showed Friday. (The Japan News)
Dec 19
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says from next spring he will designate special local zones where the government promotes deregulation and supports regional economic revival. (NHK)
Dec 21
Sales of special Suica cards to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of Tokyo Station were canceled soon after they began Saturday, as a large crowd of people flooded the area. (The Japan News)
Dec 21
Buddhist monks and believers have come together in an annual year-end event to clean up two major temples in Kyoto. (NHK)
Dec 20
The Niigata prefectural government started clearing a section of National Highway Route 405 in Tsunan in the prefecture on Friday, after a landslide mixed with snow blocked off about 50 meters of the road the night before. (The Japan News)
Dec 19
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police plan to limit pedestrian access to Shibuya's famous scramble crossing to avoid trouble from rowdy revelers on New Year's Eve. (Japan Today)
Dec 18
The Osaka District Court has ruled that Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto's order to check whether municipal office workers had tattoos was illegal and constituted an invasion of privacy. (Japan Today)
Dec 18
The Chiba Public Safety Commission has banned a 29-year-old man from Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, from riding a bicycle for 90 days, after he was found guilty of cycling under the influence of "kiken" quasi-legal drugs. (Japan Times)
Dec 18
Police in Nara said Wednesday they have arrested a public school teacher for intruding into the bedroom of a woman who lives in the same apartment building as he does. (Japan Today)
Dec 18
Police in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, said Wednesday that a 37-year-old woman was found dead with knife wounds to her neck in her apartment on Tuesday night. (Japan Today)
Dec 17
A Dallas-bound American Airlines jet coming from South Korea made an emergency landing in Japan early Wednesday after encountering turbulence. At least 12 people on board the plane were injured. (NHK)
Dec 16
A couple in their 80s were stabbed by an intruder in their home in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, on Tuesday morning. (Japan Today)