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Hikikomori is a Japanese word that describes people who withdraw from society and spend extreme amounts of time on their own. The withdrawal usually happens slowly. Tamaki Saitō was the first person to use the word. In 1998 his book Shakaiteki hikikomori--Owaranai Shishunki was published. An English translation by Jeffrey Angles, Hikikomori: Adolescence without End, was published in 2013.[1] The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare defines hikikomori as people who refuse to leave their house for over six months.[2] In 2010 there were 700,000 hikikomori. The average hikikomori was 31 years old. Tamaki Saitō thinks that there may be over 1 million hikikomori (1% of the Japanese population).[3]

English words with similar meanings include recluse and agoraphobic.

In popular culture[change | change source]

  • Welcome to the N.H.K., a 2002 novel by Tatsuhiko Takimoto, is about hikikomori.
  • The main character of the 2002 manga Rozen Maiden is a hikikomori.
  • The 2008 film Tokyo! has a part about a hikikomori.
  • On her 2011 album Conatus, American singer-songwriter Zola Jesus has a song called "Hikikomori".
  • The main character of the anime Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is a hikikomori.
  • In 2013 Hikikomori and the Rental Sister, a novel by Jeff Backhaus, was published. It is about an American hikikomori who has sex with a Japanese immigrant.

References[change | change source]

  1. http://www.amazon.com/Hikikomori-Adolescence-without-Saito-Tamaki/dp/081665459X
  2. Itou, Junichirou. 2003. Shakaiteki Hikikomori Wo Meguru Tiiki Seisin Hoken Katudou No Guide-line (Guideline on Mental Health Activities in Communities for Social Withdrawal)." Tokyo: Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.
  3. Saitō, Tamaki (1998). Hikikomori kyūshutsu manyuaru [How to Rescue Your Child from "Hikikomori"]. Tokyo: PHP Kenkyūjo.