Opinion

Hikikomori

2019-01-28 14:20 #0 by: Max

I stumbled across a You Tube piece on recuses in Japan today (no idea why you tube shows it as a recommended viewing for me!). I was aware that society is getting pretty weird in Japan, with very low birth rates, lots of people turning to celebasy etc. Apparently there are now over 500,000 Japanese who just stay in their flats all day and every day without visitors for months or years on end. The condition is now so common in Japan that they have a special name Hikikomori and of course as it effects 0.5 per cent of the population it has a real economic impact. The documentary had a particularly poiniant scene where they followed a team of specialist cleaners who to one of the apparently 30,000 hikikomuri who die annually. They didn't show the body but there was a ghastly brown body stain on the wooden floor where the body had been decomposing on the floor.

The film was particularly interesting for me as sadly one of my best friends from my college days has gone down this route, essentially confining himself to his mum's house for the last decade. It took me around 20 years of sleuthing to track him down - he had a very common name and it turned out had changed it when he got married. I have visited a few times to talk and try to coax him out but so far to no avail. Has anyone else had experience with this sort of thing? Most of the Japanese examples seemed to be rather shy and insecure individuals who had never coped well with life. My friend doesn't match this profile, he led a very social and even Jack-the-lad sort of life before more or less suddenly deciding to become an urban hermit.

Report
2019-01-28 19:19 #1 by: Leia

I guess it comes from loneliness, you can be surrounded by people and seem social but still feel alone, its a state of mind.  I guess there could have been a number of triggers for your friend, misunderstanding, a sense of nobody can relate to him, failed relationships etc.

This is becoming an increasing problem in the UK for young people, while people expect older people to feel lonely due to deaths and parted families, it's harder to grasp why young people would be feeling the same way. I imagine social media plays a big part in affecting people mental well-being. 

All the best, Leia

Host of  Gluten-Free Living | News  | English Language Heart

Report
2019-01-29 10:32 #2 by: Niklas

#0: The first thing I come to think of is depression. If so, he likely needs help from a doctor or psychologist. Medications can be the fastest way to get him out of the bubble, but therapy may be needed for him to not slip back again. Someone should make him part of ordinary life again so he gets away from his own thoughts and is part of other peoples lives.

Loneliness is an evil circle. Humans need human company. Without it we get sick and eventually scared of human interaction. That accelerates the problem. It takes practice to stay good at being social.

Report
2019-01-29 11:47 #3 by: Max

#2 Apparently in Japan they have a rent a sister service where people are paid to cone and visit and act as an elder sister.

Report
2019-01-29 15:44 #4 by: Niklas

That should work, provided that he orders one.

Report

Become a member

To participate in the discussion, you must first become a member. It is quick, simple and free. The membership gives you access to all our communities.