Hikikomori – The Silent Sufferers

Japan isn’t a perfect place, it has its social issues like any other society but specifically in Japan, stressed teenagers are becoming social outcasts.

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Everyone knows that the Japanese are strict when it comes to study, it’s amazingly stressful because the high population of Japan means not everyone can make it into a university. All this leads to incredibly high expectations by parents and a constant uncertainty of what the future holds for the teenager’s. Sadly, there’s also a rise in the suicide rate for teenagers when final results for university entry are given out. Because of these highly demanding environments that teenager’s are living in a social and psychological phenomina is occuring in Japan, hikikomori.

Around %1 of Japan’s entire population which is a million people are beleived to be hikikomori. They are normally male teenager’s who, completely fed up with their expectation’s lock themselves in their room for weeks, months and sometimes years, never leaving. They’ll watch TV, play video games really do anything that involves not leaving their room and parents will normally allow it by feeding them and pretending not to notice it because they’re too embarassed of people finding out to get help. It’s so bad that now there’s even organisations and clinics that specifically deal with the hikikomori but most of them are silently suffering.[



Filed under Society

10 responses to “Hikikomori – The Silent Sufferers

  1. awesome video, watched it in two sittings. Learned a few things about Japan and some of it’s problems

  2. It kinda freaks me out how many people are just kinda unnerved by Japan in general.

    I live in a fairly small city, and I just see people with nervous ticks and weird nervous habits that have emerged because of a lifetime of nervous social pressures.

    There are crazy people everywhere, but damn if I don’t see a lot of ’em on these four islands.

    I sat in a cafe today near the train station with about 3 different people talking to themselves and nervously pretending to stock non-existant shelves and so on.

    Many a student just quits and stops going to school. The lucky ones just kinda become construction workers or deviants. The unlucky ones kill themselves.

    It’s a stressful place man. I feel lucky to be foreign sometimes so that I can kinda just shrug my shoulders and pretend I don’t get all the social pressures that exist.

    Although if I had to rank Asian countries that destroy children, I’d have to place Korea over Japan. These kids spend a lot of time ‘at school,’ but they’re not always just chugging along and plugging away.

    They have enough time to be kids.

    (although not as much as us lazy Americans with our awesome 3 month + summers….which I wouldn’t have traded for anything in the world actually, but pretty damn slovenly when compared to this land)

    • headingforjapan

      I agree with you on the social pressure’s of Japan, openness is looked down upon most of the time in Japan but in Western Countries it’s encouraged. There’s so much pressure put kid’s everywhere but in Asian countries alot of the children can’t vent. Hopefully something will change soon to allow kids to be kids.

  3. I will say though, the people that Japan sends to the fringes are often extremely interesting and cool!

    And as another thing: While I think Japan once drove kids like Koreans or Chinese kids are pushed today, I think they’ve become a bit lazy, but still act like they’re being pushed hard.

    In general, I think a lot of these kids that just hide inside were protected most of their lives from difficulty and competition from their rents, and a system that allows them to not face their problems (ie: not go to school, stay out of classrooms with bullies) just allows them to hide inside and be weak.

    I dunno, I’ve always had to charge into problems headfirst, but modern Japan has given kids a lot of places to hide and never face anything difficult until it’s a bit late.

    But this is really happening everywhere in the developed world….

    America has its “everyone wins!!!’ soccer games.

  4. Interesting video, a little slow at times but good. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • headingforjapan

      I know, I’m sorry about the length but I think it really get’s both the message accross and some perspective’s from different points in society.

  5. I think that there’s hikikomori all over the world, and the Japanese are simply among the first to identify the issue and give it a proper name. What’s interesting to me is that Japan has taken these people and romanticized and yet ostracized them at the same time.

    I look around the internet, and it’s beginning to seem that hikikomori living is almost becoming mainstreamed as an alternative lifestyle of sorts. I almost wonder if companies will soon start marketing products to them.

    To a large extent, I’m sympathetic to what these young folks are going through. The pressures of their lives are immense and frustrating to deal with. And having parents who overly coddle you doesn’t help either. I think this might be less fringe than we realize, because a lot of us would be willing to live this way if it presented itself.

  6. Oh yeah, if you haven’t already seen it, check out the anthology film TOKYO! sometime.


    It’s three short films, all centered around the Japanese capital.

    One of the stories ( Directed by Bong Joon-Ho ) deals with an older hikikomori man who’s been sealed off in his apartment for years. It’s quite fascinating. I highly recommend it to all!

  7. Saif

    Life is harsh on every living human, it’s up to each one whether he/she gives up or not, to each one his own life, that’s my opinion.

  8. I think the youth in Asia have more pressures put upon them compared to Western nations due to the closer knit ties and comparison-making in society.

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