Often wondering why it is on Facebook where so many young Japanese girls continuously put up one image after another of themselves in a form of digital exhibition and it probably has to do with feelings of being alone and not having recognition. At least for the estimated 500,000 or so Japanese who find themselves in a city of 13 million yet are still alone, or as this articles describes: “recluse.” It also explains in part the phenomenon of Japanese men collecting life size dolls as companions for when they return home from work in the evening. As this article points out, this feeling of loneliness and being “recluse” for many young people in Japan, is contributed to the way children are raised in Japan and their relationship with their parents. Mostly dysfunctional.
I’ve often argued that when Japanese parents have children, it isn’t because it is out of love or wanting to raise healthy responsible and independent healthy human beings, it’s to satisfy Japan Inc. so that these children can be crammed into this mercantile economy. And when the expectations are placed so high on children it is creating this pattern of feeling alone and “recluse” when they become adults and move into society. I’m also wondering if younger Japanese who get married are putting off having children as well as more and more Japanese turning away from marriage and even sex?
Forever Alone? More Than Half a Million Young Japanese Live as Recluses
September 9, 2016
Hikikomori is a Japanese term used to describe people who withdraw from society. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry defines hikikomori as those who have stayed at home for a minimum of six months without going to school or work, or interacting with others, according to the Japan Times.
A 2010 survey conducted by the Cabinet Office noted some 696,000 recluses in Japan. A December 2015 survey does not include people age 40 and over, but does reveal that 35 percent of the total have remained at home for at least seven years, documenting a trend of staying homebound for longer periods. The survey also demonstrated that the number of hikikomori aged between 35-39 has doubled.
Some 34.7 percent have been reclusive for at least seven years, 28.6 percent for three to five years and 12.2 percent have shut themselves in for four to seven years.
According to Tamaki Saito, a Japanese psychiatrist and the country’s leading expert on the hikikomori phenomenon, the hikikomori state is similar to alcoholism, and a support network is crucial. In his book Hikikomori: Adolescence without End, he analyzes various aspects regarding the condition.
Saito suggests that the problem is caused primarily by the relationship between parents and children, and the pressure parents exert on children in Japan, especially male. Japanese parents have high expectations of sons, often contradicting a child’s aspirations. As a result, if a child fails he loses confidence and self-esteem, followed by a period of withdrawal. Saito offers that Japan and many other countries, in which rapid post-industrialization has changed social and family structures, experience the phenomenon of hikikomori.