Who are hikikomori

Hikkikimori (abbr. Hikki) is translated from Japanese as being in solitude, that is, "acute social self-isolation." This term was coined by the Japanese to refer to adolescents and young people who abandon social life and often seek extreme isolation and solitude due to various personal and social factors. Such people are unemployed and are dependent on relatives. The word "hikikomori" refers both to a social phenomenon in general and to individuals belonging to that social group. As a synonym, the term NEET is sometimes used, which stands for "Not in Employment, Education or Training". This abbreviation, like the term "hikikomori", is now most often used in East Asian countries - Japan, China, South Korea. Such people exist all over the world, for example in the USA (where they are called "basement dwellers"), and in Europe - in particular, the very concept of "NEET" originated in the UK.

According to psychologist Saito Tamaki, there are up to 1 million hikikomori in Japan (20% of all young (under 30) people in Japan or 1% of the total population of Japan), although official statistics give a more modest amount of 50, 000.

According to research, there are more men than women among hikikomori - about 60-80%.

Usually, parents unknowingly maintain such voluntary isolation of their child, without being able or able to recognize the problem, to see its seriousness. This is also due to the special relationship between mother and son, characteristic of Japanese society (the mother is mainly engaged in raising a child in Japan, so the father shifts the problem of hikikomori onto her), a mutual emotional dependence, which in Japan is called "amae" ... This unspoken agreement between parent and child (that the parents do not make attempts to change the life of the hikikomori and behave towards him as passively as possible) is called the "strange peace".

The culture of Japan is characterized by a respectful attitude towards loneliness. Many Japanese even romanticize the image of hikikomori, considering them to be hermits who came from the past, who are not able to go back or take root in the modern world. This led to the popularization of the image of hikkimori in art:

  • Anime Series Welcome to NHK! almost entirely devoted to the fate of hikikomori.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge anime series about a hikikomori girl.
  • Anime series Kuragehime one of the heroines of the hikikomori
  • Detective-NEET of Kamisama no Memo-chou
  • The protagonist of the anime series Chaos; Head is a hikikomori.
  • The central character in the anime series Rozen Maiden is also a hikikomori.
  • In the anime series Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, one of the heroines is hikikomori.
  • Toma's film in love about hikikomori in virtual space.
  • Hikikomori is the protagonist of Tokyo! - "Shocking Tokyo".
  • The main character in the movie Cat Girl Kiki is also a hikikomori.
  • The protagonist of Yume Nikki is the hikikomori.
  • Silent Hill 4 protagonist Henry Townsend barely left his apartment for two years.
  • The post-rock band Laura has a song called "Hikikomori". Despite the fact that the Laura members are Australian, all Laura albums were recorded with the participation of Japanese producer Naomune Anzai, and the group itself performed in Japan several times with another similar project - World's End Girlfriend.
  • The protagonist of the AIKI manga is also a hikikomori.
  • The protagonist of the Japanese author Ryu Murakami in the book Parasites is a hikikomori.
  • The dark ambient project Kraai has a composition of the same name.
  • In the anime series Higashi no Eden, one of the characters is a hikikomori.

The reasons for the phenomenon of hikikomori are primarily social. In the past few decades, young people have become increasingly unable to meet the requirements of modern society. They are unable to form or distinguish between their "tatemae" ("social role", "mask", "facade" - for this the Japanese society has very, very high requirements) and "honne" ("real I", "real personality", "Myself"). The middle class in Japan's post-industrial society has reached such a standard of living that parents can afford to support their children up to a very respectable age. In poor Japanese families, hikikomori are not found, because children early face the problem of “how to make a living” and are forced to “go to people” in order to work, even with serious communication problems.