Japan looking for new ways to help recluses find their place


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Parents need to teach their kids the responsibilities of life. My kids were doing chores since they start elementary school. TV and playing (to which they got a lot of of both after they did there duties) were privileges on a right. They paid for their own cellphones since the age of 16 when they got part time jobs. They graduated from University and I am so proud to say they are grown and in the workforce and very independent from mom and dad. I am so proud of my girls.

6 ( +7 / -1 )


That’s great, my kids do the same, but it has no relationship to the article. More to about mental health, social issues, and to my understanding - forms of depression and social anxiety.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Help recluses find their place? They've already found it--that's why they are recluse. The bliss of solitude!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

My neighbor is a hikikomori. He lives with his parents and is in his 40s. He never works, just play games and hobby. If people like him can be encouraged to get out of their parents home, start working or volunteering it will be a big boost for the economy and businesses. These people are an untapped Resource for Japanese economy.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

How about a good smack upside the head when younger?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I used to be a hikikomori for 7 months after graduating college because I felt I couldn't handle the harshness of the real world. What snapped me out from it was just sheer motivation to help yourself get out. Just keep in mind why they ended up like that in the first place (overly-demanding society, uptightness, tatemae-honne, lack of outlet,etc.), address the cause and not the symptoms if you will. Yes, middle-aged men are different than a twenty-something, but there's still hope for these guys. Why don't they invite former hikikomori to convince other recluses? they understand where they're coming from the best

9 ( +10 / -1 )


well said, mental health support seems non existent here in Japan. There is so much pressure placed on young kids here, to perform academically, conform socially and at school... sorry but this whole senpai, kohai, for me, an institutionalised form of bullying, needs to go as well.

I love living in Japan, has been some of the better experiences of my life. There is a strong sense of community, especially in rural Japan, but if you don’t fit in, you are generally speaking, on your own. A country that hovers around 30,000 suicides a year must know that the system is broken.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I often wonder how much of this is due to parenting, and how much is an actual mental illness. And if it is a mental illness, what could the parents have done to prevent it occurring earlier. I understand that all parents just do the best that they can, but are they really letting their kids become recluses, under their own noses?

How much does a child's upbringing determine their level of social ability?

I would feel like a failure if my child told me they would rather be in their room than go out to see friends. To the point i would tell them to forget their homework and ban them from their room until bedtime.

3 ( +3 / -0 )


I think they go hand in hand. The pressure these kids face, mine also, especially from my ex and her mother, leads to depression and anxiety . The inability to live up to expectations, leads to a fear of failure, sort of puts them into a kind of stasis.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

One of the best professors I had when in Japanese university was an ex-hikikomori. Despite this,he was great communicating with foreigners maybe because there are less rules and one can be more real. He is doing great now, so finding the place and communicating with the right people is the key, as well as learning to build connections.

I was discussing with my colleague the other day how many people in this society are neurotic due to too much pressure but the mental health support is insufficient and has a bad image (consulting a psychologist makes one 'that mental person') There should be some changes in this direction.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I’ve done quite well for 70 years of

my life so far, but I’ve had some mental problems. Depression, PTSD from Vietnam mess, etc. So I surely sympathize with anyone who has mental issues. We need help, and it’s not easy to get. Very few people relate to depression. Especially family.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sometimes staying at home is better than saying "sumimasen" a hundred times a day even if you don't want to say it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I often wonder how much of this is due to parenting, and how much is an actual mental illness.

afanofjapan - and how much is due to the demands of Japanese society and the workplace?

Hikkikomori in Japan strike me as being 'canaries in the coal mine'.

I met a hikkikomori recently (a man in his 30s), who was very articlulate and self-aware,

more than most 'normal' people in fact. As well as being a valuable economic resource, as

Ganbare Japan said, a survey of the views of hikkikomori on society may provide some pointers on how

to produce a happier society for everyone living in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How many of these people are in major cities and how many in the countryside?

Cities can be very alienating places I find. It must be very damaging to your psychological well being when you are surrounded by millions of people having a life, while you have none.

I wonder whether they would thrive more in the countryside which is desperate for people.

For a start, they may be more welcomed as a result? Housing may be easier to find? From what I understand there are thousands of idle land plots.

I've always liked the countryside and seaside myself.

I see all the massive concrete towers in major cities and just want to head in the opposite direction lol.

The city is great for a short holiday, but I can't live there.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

First things first, Hikkikomori can be because they live sucking their parents ressources.

I' m pretty sure, if their parents didn't pay the rent, bring food, provide an internet connection they won't be so many case of Hikkikomori. They would just deal with the society, like everybody does.

You can be depressed, you can be introvert and hate people, hate your job even your family but still you deal with it cos you know you don't have the choice.

To me, Hikkikomori issue it's a 1st world problem...

Who never been sad, depressed, face rejection etc.. everybody has. Still there is somewhere a will to survive, to go on. Depression and Hikkikomori issue, like explain above, are 2 totally different things to me. People chose to become Hikkikomori .


1 ( +2 / -1 )

They need to be looking at why so many people become agoraphobic. Don’t just treat the symptoms! Address the cause!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This isn’t introversion anymore

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan's hikikomori are quite unique in that they reject/are afraid of society yet often choose to live in big cities. They're 'urban hermits' rather than free-spirits (a la Chris McCandless) seeking a different world, life etc.

Imo, hikikomori's general apathy towards life is the main issue (rather than 'rejecting society' per se).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A country that hovers around 30,000 suicides a year must know that the system is broken.

I agree with everything you said. I just wish you hadn't perpetuated the myth that Japan is suicide central. There are plenty of nice countries higher suicide rates (Belgium, Slovenia...), and many countries under-report suicides for insurance reasons. East Asians (China, Japan, Korea) are tough on their kids in general, though China and Japan are both improving in many ways.

There aren't that many easy ways to handle a child with problems. The world certainly can be an ugly place for sensitive people. I hope your kids get to spend enough time with you, to help balance out the stress they get from their mother's side. It must be worrying to be separated and know that's happening. As they get older, they will gravitate to you if your door is open.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A country that hovers around 30,000 suicides a year must know that the system is broken.

It hasn't been over 30,000 for years now. They managed to cut the suicide rate by about 30%:

In 2007, the government released a nine-step plan, a "counter-suicide White Paper", which it hopes will curb suicide by 20% by 2017.[37] The goal of the white paper is to encourage investigation of the root causes of suicide in order to prevent it, change cultural attitudes toward suicide, and improve treatment of unsuccessful suicides.[37] In 2009, the Japanese government committed 15.8 billion yen towards suicide prevention strategies.

Japan has allotted 12.4 billion yen ($133 million) in suicide prevention assets for the 2010 fiscal year ending March 2011, with plans to fund public counseling for those with overwhelming debts and those needing treatment for depression.[24]


-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Back on topic please.


afanofjapan - and how much is due to the demands of Japanese society and the workplace?

For sure society places pressure on people here. But that is a constant factor that every kid in Japan faces, and most of them turn out ok. My thoughts are that the parents must play a role in how to prepare their children for that pressure. How to deal with it, how to release stress, how to live a meaningful life despite that pressure.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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