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Hide had become "withdrawn" or hikikomori.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
Nov 26
The strong earthquake that rocked central Japan on Saturday shifted the skiing city of Hakuba in Nagano prefecture southeast by almost one foot, according to the government's mapping agency. (Wall Street Journal)
Nov 26
Japan's transport ministry last week set up a special task force to deal with air bag-related recalls and has urged automakers to speed up replacements of potentially defective Takata-made air bag inflators, Transport Minister Akihiro Ohta said on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Nov 26
The temperature readings in Tokyo this winter are expected to drop because of the relocation of the observation site for Tokyo's weather. (The Japan News)
Nov 25
Four South Korean men have been arrested in southern Japan on suspicion of stealing an ancient Buddha statue, police said Nov. 25. (Asahi)
Nov 25
Winter resort operators here are scrambling to quash rumors at home and abroad that a recent earthquake caused serious damage to their ski hills and facilities. (Asahi)
Nov 26
The fraudulent composer once dubbed "Japan's Beethoven" is facing a lawsuit over the cancellation of his tour after it emerged he lied about his work and relied on a ghostwriter, reports said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Nov 26
Villagers in Higashi-Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, are riding high. (Japan Times)
Nov 26
A Japanese pop group is trying to get people to change their tune about trash. They're singing in the streets while they clean. And some of their fans are helping them along the way. (NHK)
Nov 25
Police in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, said Tuesday that around 16,000 New Year greeting cards ("nengajo") have been stolen from 26 Lawson convenience stores. Security cameras have captured footage of two men who are believed to be the thieves. (Japan Today)
Nov 25
A 49-year-old man was arrested on Monday afternoon after he fired shots into the Yokohama apartment of his former wife, police said. (Japan Today)
Nov 24
A total of 41 people have been injured in a 6.7-magnitude earthquake that struck Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, Saturday, prefectural police said Sunday. (Jiji Press)
Nov 24
Aftershocks continued overnight after the strong earthquake that hit Nagano Prefecture late Saturday, leaving local residents anxious. (The Japan News)
Nov 22
Murder suspect Chisako Kakehi invested most of the about Y1 billion she inherited from her spouses and lovers in futures trading and other financial products over the past few years, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned from investigative sources. (The Japan News)
Nov 22
Police in Tsubame, Niigata Prefecture, said Friday they have arrested a 24-year-old woman on a murder charge after she dropped her 3-year-old daughter off a bridge into the river. (Japan Today)
Nov 22
Workers have for the first time gone inside a no-entry zone in Fukushima Prefecture to dismantle a fishing boat washed ashore by the tsunami three years and eight months ago. (NHK)