Support groups deluged by inquiries after Kawasaki and Tokyo murders involving social recluses
Japan Times -- Jun 11
Following recent stabbing incidents involving middle-aged hikikomori, or social recluses, and their parents, the number of inquiries received by support groups and similar organizations that support such individuals has surged.

A stabbing rampage in Kawasaki by a recluse and the murder of a reclusive man by his father, a former top agriculture ministry bureaucrat, in Tokyo have seen extensive coverage, and have prompted some hikikomori and their families to further distance themselves from society, experts have said.

Following the two incidents, Rakunokai Lila, a Tokyo-based nonprofit organization supporting social recluses, was swamped by phone calls from people seeking advice. Many of the calls came from recluses in their 40s and 50s.

“I can’t go outside for fear of being seen in public,” one such individual was quoted as saying. Requests for advice from parents also increased, the support group said.

“The most difficult thing is to call for help the first time,” said Otochika Ichikawa, a 72-year-old senior official of the support group, whose daughter was once a social recluse.

“The stabbing incidents became a turning point in a way, in that they led to encourage people (to seek help), and we hope to continue providing support,” Ichikawa said.

One challenge is how to help those who have not reached out or called for help.

Many reclusive people feel rejected by society or have a sense of inferiority over not securing work, and their parents sometimes have similar feelings due to the criticism they see aimed at their children.

Strong fears of prejudice in the wake of the shocking stabbing incidents have also made them reluctant to seek external support, the group said.

News source: Japan Times
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