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613,000 Japanese aged 40-64 considered recluses: survey

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"Adult hikikomori is a new social issue," said welfare minister Takumi Nemoto. "It should be addressed appropriately by conducting studies and analyses."

No it's not new, things like this just dont happen overnight. It's a problem that has been going on for decades. Proof of which is when the city offices were paying out pension benefits to literally thousands of dead people.

Municipal offices do not have contact with the people they are charged with administrating.

Studies and analyses my arse, get out and TALK with the people! But you can't, you and your kind are koumuin, you dont work for the people, they work to pay your bills!

Damn crap like this makes my blood boil!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The BBC had an interesting short video about one service trying to get hikikomori out of their homes:

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/stories-46885707/rent-a-sister-coaxing-japan-s-hikikomori-out-of-their-rooms

Either a hikikomori's father or mother provided financially for their shut-in child in 34.1 percent of cases, and some families rely solely on a parent's pension.

What happens when their elderly parents become infirm or die?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Gosh, is it considered bad to enjoy your own company? I remember back when I lived in Osaka, the best moments were ones at home or hiking in the woods, BY MY SELF, and life was just so soul destroyingly hectic outside the home.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

They have more or less born mental/psychological problems, so need to see psychiatrists before they get much older even if they don't want to go out.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Seems a bit unusual to consider a retired person as hikikomori .

I would use that word for an able bodied person who just stays home without a job and won't go out or get a job...but when you are retired you have paid your dues and worked for decades. Maybe you just want to sit in the house and enjoy peace and quiet.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I’m a semi-hikikomori. I know a real one who is the daughter of my ex-client. She only stayed home and even missed a lot of school. Things changed when her father organized an arranged marriage. After she had a baby, she was forced to go out of the house a lot. She became “cured”.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It's kinda scary how something small which may not be their own doing, like unemployment or bullying, can lead to big changes like this and affect their whole lives. Some of them just need a helping hand. Others need a kick up the backside. When the parents are gone, that money pot will vanish.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So, are these recluses counted in the official ‘record low’ unemployment statistics? Of course they aren’t! Only those actively seeking work are counted, thus making their record low unemployment statistics a load of hogwash.

Its all well well and good to acknowledge so many people suffer from agoraphobia, but what are they going to do about it? Nothing, of course!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Its all well well and good to acknowledge so many people suffer from agoraphobia, but what are they going to do about it? Nothing, of course!

Do they have to do anything? They are harmless. If they like the way they live, let them.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

They have discovered the bliss of solitude!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

613,000 Japanese aged 40-64 considered recluses: survey

"Adult hikikomori is a new social issue," said welfare minister Takumi Nemoto. "It should be addressed appropriately by conducting studies and analyses."

No it's not new, things like this just dont happen overnight. It's a problem that has been going on for decades. Proof of which is when the city offices were paying out pension benefits to literally thousands of dead people

First it's happen to younger age 15-39 as the time goes by they becoming older, few decades later they become 40-64 age years old. So yes it's not new, they just ignoring how to solve it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Do they have to do anything? They are harmless. If they like the way they live, let them.

Indeed. What business is it of the government that they have no social life?

The definition of hikikomori is extremely vague. It looks like it was set deliberately vague so government agencies could say, "There's an enormous number of hikikomori. We need an enormous budget to deal with this problem."

Seems a bit unusual to consider a retired person as hikikomori .

I'd say "idiotic" is a better description than "unusual". If someone has spent 40 years worrying about how to get along with colleagues, bosses, and customers, they may well want to cut themselves off from social pressure and go on cruise control.

Further, as someone who is retired and does not drink alcohol, I do my best to avoid social engagement in Japan (or in Britain). If I want to go six months or more without a social life, that's my business and my business alone.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's all in the environment. How open family and friends are. While style trumps free expression, people will close up. It just grows and becomes a problem such as hikikomori. There is no cure. Society must loosen up, that's it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's more than just shutting yourself in, etc. Many of these people have deep-rooted emotional and antisocial behavioral problems. A lot of them also have been babied since forever and don't know any other way except to sponge off of parents, family, etc. Some are just plain lazy but no one wants to say that in "hard-working" Japan.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Agree that "retired" folks who opt to keep to themselves seem an odd example of hikikomori. Depends if we're talking about older people who are still doing their own shopping, going to doctors when necessary etc. If they're literally never leaving their flat, that's something else entirely. Of course, this doesn't mean it's the state's responsibility to do anything about it. But as the article indicates, many who are suffering do want help.

That said, since the upper age-bracket concerned here is 40-64, I wonder if they really mean retirement or if this also includes those who quit their jobs or were let go at a younger age b/c they couldn't function well in regular society? Especially for men--who make up the majority--how many Japanese men have you met who stop working entirely before the age of 65? In my long experience, I've know one who completely stopped working at 58, no amakudari gig, no PT jobs, nothing. My wife tells me even her bedridden mother in her 70s is considered hikikomori. As if she has options to go out.

As for the younger group, of adult age, if they're not hurting anyone, if their families are well off enough to care for them, then the government can't do much about it. But without question many of these young people suffer from mental health issues and had they received proper care years ago (and less enabling by their families worried about the stigma attached to mental health treatment) they'd probably be more productive members of society and without question far happier than being shut off in tiny rooms for the entirety of their lives. There's a reason why many consider solitary confinement a form of torture. Just b/c you're embracing that option yourself doesn't lessen its impact on your psyche.

Finally:

The definition of hikikomori is extremely vague.

No it's not:

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry defines hikikomori as people who have remained isolated at home for at least six consecutive months, not going to school or work and not interacting with people outside their family.

So when you say:

Further, as someone who is retired and does not drink alcohol, I do my best to avoid social engagement in Japan (or in Britain). If I want to go six months or more without a social life, that's my business and my business alone.

Does this mean you're not leaving the house for 6 months at a clip or you're simply not talking to people or socializing much when you do leave your house several times a week? Avoiding your neighbors or not joining the retirees' movie club doesn't make you a shut in--it just means you're anti social.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This story is important because of how these people are currently are a drain on social services. If people never worked then they will need social security. These people will also need extra care that is currently provided by family members.

My biggest issue is the "Definition of Terms" - RETIRED. I define retired 3 ways:

1- Baseball players - too old to compete at the top levels. These have usually competed for over 10 years. If they competed for only a few years then they QUIT or Didn't MAKE THE CUT.

2- Reached the mandatory retirement age. This tends to be in the 60's. Some professions are younger (Air Traffic Controllers)

3- Financially independent - Stock Brokers - They have enough money to support themselves until they can receive a pension of some sort.

Therefore how are over 1/3 of these 40-64 year-old people retired. Those that worked either quit or were fired.

What do others think about the "Retirees" in this survey?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Every morning contemplating my Tokyo commute I want to be hikikomori, but somebody’s got to pay the rent.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Retiree's like my wife and I are people who have reached the legal age of retirement and receiving state and private pensions. But we have never considered ourselves to be retired and I still paint and my wife still has private students.

In our new area of Tatsuno City, Hyogo, there are large numbers of older people, sometimes living within the extended family or have a son or daughter still living with them to take care of them. The only time you see the carers are when they go shopping. I wouldn't call them hikikomori.

No one over 65 years could be considered hikikomori even if they do stay at home.

I've know a few younger ones. One young had not been outside for more than five years.

Too many older people are being given too many pharma drugs to take, sometimes 9-10 different ones. But most of the older people know the need for exercise and will take walks everyday. We walk about 10 km per day.

We still have to pay into the healthcare system and also a payment for future care but offset a little by paying less when we need treatment. My max for a month in hospital would be ¥12,000 compared with America which is $10,000 per day.

Basically, people are free to choose what they do with their lives and how they want to live it. We Brits are known for our eccentric behavior.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

My max for a month in hospital would be ¥12,000 compared with America which is $10,000 per day.

zichi, most Americans have health insurance and they wouldn't be charged anywhere near $10,000 a day, and the thing is even for those who don't, in emergency cases they would still be hospitalized and the payment worked out later. If you can't pay or don't have insurance in Japan good luck getting hospitalized. I know of such cases.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

zichi, most Americans have health insurance and they wouldn't be charged anywhere near $10,000 a day, and the thing is even for those who don't, in emergency cases they would still be hospitalized and the payment worked out later.

I'm sure those without insurance sleep better knowing that they don't have to pay that $10,000/day up front.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Serrano

zichi, most Americans have health insurance and they wouldn't be charged anywhere near $10,000 a day, and the thing is even for those who don't, in emergency cases they would still be hospitalized and the payment worked out later. If you can't pay or don't have insurance in Japan good luck getting hospitalized. I know of such cases.

maybe you are not paying the healthcare directly but the total costs paid for by healthcare insurers is reflected in calculating the costs of the premiums charged. So when people steal from a store eventually the prices are increased. We all pay.

The $10,000 per day is the average charge made by the hospitals. The healthcare charges in America are much higher than here.

Here if you can't afford the National Health payments because of low income or unemployment you can apply to be exempt and will be given a card to carry.

Not all of American healthcare is covered by insurance. My parents who lived in Florida until deceased a while back, had to spend many hundreds of thousands of dollars on operations and drugs.

The cost of American healthcare per citizen is double that of a Japanese one.

Because of my age I now only pay a maximum of ¥12,000 per month for hospital treatment. Beats America hands down.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I guess there might be many hikikomori here on JT?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@ socrateos - Do they have to do anything? They are harmless. If they like the way they live, let them.

That is not a very wise statement coming from someone who calls themself Socrates (and cant spell it). These agoraphobic people all too often become violent when forced to interact with other people, which very often results in murders. These people have an emotional disorder that needs to be treated, not just swept under the carpet until they explode

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Wow, out of how many Japanese citizens, like 126 million? That's what, under 1 percent?

More sensationalism.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Seems a bit unusual to consider a retired person as hikikomori .

Actually, I live next to a family, where the father appears to be the hermit in the family. I just saw him recently a couple of times. Before that, I never saw him, and I've been living next door for at least 15 years. It also appears that the whole family are hermits, too. They hardly get out if any, except for grocery shopping and for emergencies. The youngest, in her 40s, comes out early, and doesn't really get back till the evening. I can't figure this hikikomori thing and choose not to.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm sure those without insurance sleep better knowing that they don't have to pay that $10,000/day up front.

Oh, yes, Stranger, they definitely sleep better than the ones without insurance in Japan who would likely be refused treatment. And yes, there are plenty of people in Japan who can't afford to pay the premiums for national health insurance.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japan is very cheap for health care. I had an echo scan and doctor consultation last week for ¥1020. Dentist is about ¥1400 for check-up and cleaning. Where the problem starts is, these hikimori citizens need counseling, which in many cases is not covered. Counseling takes time so would be very expensive.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Explained in movie 0.5 Miri

Retirement is when you feel like it's time to retire for good. That is your new life starts of your freedom.

Even after 65, u work after retirement but u have no fear of losing job, that is still retirement. That is your freedom.

At any age u can retire if u think u are already settled or that u know u don't need to be settled but have no fear of losing your freedom.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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