Hikikimori is the phenomenon of people having severe social withdrawal. This can usually be seen in adolescents and young adults who decide to stay inside their parent’s homes. These people are unable to go outside for months or years, and may be unable to go to school or work.
The Japanese government has estimated that due to their aging population, more people are deciding to be a hikikomori, also known as the modern-day hermits or social recluses. In 2010, the country has been witness to over 700,000 citizens succumbing to the phenomenon.
Now, however, this withdrawal is no longer prominent in Japan alone. If we consider certain past events, as well as the rise of more middle-class people steering towards social isolation, then this is not a surprise at all.
One study from 2023 even points out that the phenomenon is spreading globally. This isn’t just the introvert thoughts of not wanting to interact with people for the day, no. Interviews and surveys actually show that the hikikomori feel strong levels of distress and angst. The mere idea of stopping this behavior brings these people pain and anguish.
While there are a lot of papers that hypothesize and speculate on the possible mental trigger for this phenomenon, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, for now, the consensus is that there is no underlying mental condition that triggers this phenomenon. Learn more about the hikikomori here.
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