The Hikikomori​: Japans Lost Generation

The Psych Talk

When the societal pressures for success become unbearable, over a million Japanese youth escape by confining themselves to their rooms.

This phenomenon has been referred to as Hikikomori. Hikikomori is seen as a culture-bound disorder and is characterised by similar traits to social anxiety and agoraphobia. However, it is a completely unique situation as the causes of this social withdrawal have to do with the individual’s inability to cope with Japan’s social pressures. Individuals have a fear of failure and a deep sense of shame accompanying that.

Hikikomori usually seclude themselves from society for 6 months or more without seeking work or socialising with others. Some have confined themselves to a room, playing video games and watching tv, for over 7 years. This is not due to laziness or choice. Sufferers usually want to have a purpose, to work or make friendships but feel unable to do so.

Often, parental expectations fall…

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