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Hide had become "withdrawn" or hikikomori.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
Mar 06
A total of six ruling and opposition parties resubmitted to the House of Representatives a bill to revise the Public Offices Election Law and to lower the voting age to 18 or older from the current 20 or older. The bill is highly likely to pass at the current Diet session. (The Japan News)
Mar 06
A Japanese tourist has inadvertently wandered into some off-limits areas during a visit to Windsor Castle - namely, the Queen's own private rooms. (rocketnews24.com)
Mar 06
The popular "pear fairy" cartoon mascot Funassyi held its first press conference with the foreign media in Tokyo on Thursday, saying its unlikely path to success is a symbol of the country's admiration of perseverance in the face of adversity. (Japan Times)
Mar 05
The Tokyo District Court on Thursday convicted the father of TV "talent" and model Rola for defrauding Japan's national health insurance system. (Japan Today)
Mar 05
The Japanese government has condemned the attack on the US ambassador in South Korea, calling it an unforgivable act. (NHK)
Mar 06
A Japanese weekly magazine has released the name and a photo of a teenage murder suspect, in violation of Japan's Juvenile Law. (NHK)
Mar 06
One of the two 17-year-olds arrested over the killing of a 13-year-old boy last month along the Tama River in Kawasaki has admitted to harming the victim but said he was only following the orders of an older teenager also in custody, investigative sources said Thursday. (Japan Times)
Mar 06
Tokyo police have conducted an anti-terrorism drill, simulating the1995 sarin nerve gas attack on the subway system that killed 13 people and sickened about 6,300 others. (NHK)
Mar 06
One of the things that makes Japan such a compelling place is the country's long cultural history. The upkeep of centuries-old buildings can be extremely expensive, however, especially since traditional Japanese architecture is mainly wood, reed, and paper, which aren't exactly the sturdiest building materials. (rocketnews24.com)
Mar 05
A total of 706 incidents linked to "dangerous," or quasi-legal, drugs were detected by police in Japan in 2014, up 5.6-fold from the preceding year, the National Police Agency said Thursday. (Jiji Press)
Mar 05
Two pedestrians were killed Thursday morning after a minivan crashed into a car at an intersection in Higashi-Osaka. (Japan Today)
Mar 05
A report released Wednesday by the International Narcotics Control Board revealed that Mexican drug cartels have extended their reach to Japan, where methamphetamine seizures have doubled compared to the previous year. (UPI)
Mar 05
While online smartphone games are all the rage, a new board game in designing a traditional Japanese-style rock garden is showing there is still a market for old-fashioned fun. (Asahi)
Mar 05
Japan's idol world is quite…expansive, for lack of a better word. Even with the wide variety of groups running around, it can be hard to really tell them apart-though we have to say there was no mistaking Osaka's Obachaaan for any other group. (rocketnews24.com)
Mar 04
Microsoft Corp. cofounder Paul Allen said on Twitter Tuesday the Imperial Japanese Navy's World War II battleship Musashi has been found at the bottom of the Sibuyan Sea off the central Philippines. (Jiji Press)