Japan's modern-day hermits: The world of hikikomori

Japan's modern-day hermits: The world of hikikomori

Subscribe to France 24 now:

FRANCE 24 live news stream: all the latest news 24/7

In Japan, half a million people live isolated in their bedrooms, unable to face the outside world. These modern-day hermits are known as the hikikomori. Since April 2018, the Japanese government has been conducting a nationwide study in a bid to fully understand this strange phenomenon. Once limited to young people, it now affects the whole of Japanese society. Our correspondent reports.

Visit our website:

Subscribe to our YouTube channel:

Like us on Facebook:

Follow us on Twitter:

Japan's modern-day hermits: The world of hikikomori

11 thoughts on “Japan's modern-day hermits: The world of hikikomori

  1. I'm a hikikomori in the US. Watching this is like watching my fate, I both feel guilty and also empty. I've been an isolationist ever since middle school and I am 21 now. I have no life goals, no motivations, no 'friends', and no willpower to even get out of the house. Simply driving to a store takes days of mental preparation and encouragement from myself. I can't even get myself to shower half the time, and any form of social stimulation saps any bit of energy from me and I sort of detach from reality and float in my head.

    Isolationists don't do this because we are selfish and want pity, because most of the time we transitioned into this life without a word. Kind of like a 'frog in increasingly hot water', to the point that a simple email, phone call or even 'threat' of any social event causes huge waves of anxiety. I totally get why we are seen as leeches, because we kind of are, but we don't mean to be. I just feel like a key feature that makes any person a person is missing from me. A comparison is like a spider, it can move and go anywhere it wants, but I kind of am one that has no eyes to see, no mind to go and no legs to walk, so I just sit there and essentially wait for what I assume is death. I tried to end myself long ago, but didn't go through with it cause I didn't want to cause my family pain, but me simply living is a drag on them as well, and that is why people like me either float as hermits or commit suicide.

    I believe there are many reasons and factors that cause us to be like this, so there is no single cure. People might say that we should live as we want, and that "our pastimes" to ignore reality and detach from the world is understandable. (Like what people say with his manga collection as a joke.) But our mind is our prison, our perception is our enemy, and our comfort is our poison. I am a hypocrite, I want the best for every person in this video and I want to save those that are plagued with this mind, but at the same time, I cannot even do the same for myself. If you read this far, thank you, because I have never put into word as to why I am.

    Isolation is like sitting in a dark room, and the world is the light. We try to hard to extinguish that light, but the more we try the smaller and brighter it gets. But once we succeed, we die. If you want to help one of us, try to be a constant non-threatening light to us, because perhaps our eyes will adjust and the world won't be as blinding.

  2. For some it might be agoraphobia or severe depression, but I wonder how many also have undiagnosed autism or Asperger's. In Western Europe and America, the diagnosis rates are around 65 per 10,000 people; in Japan it's only 13 per 10,000 people. Either the Japanese are insanely genetically resistant to developing autism, or it's not as known, recognized, and diagnosed as in the West. Instead, they slip through the cracks, falling into the high suicide rates or being labeled as hikikomori. It's tough fitting into society, socializing, getting a job, being successful when you were born with autism, and especially so when you're undiagnosed and unsure what's "wrong" with you. It's like trying to live without a guidebook to life that everyone else has. It's easy to see why they might "opt out" and stay at home instead of trying their best to fit in and failing every time.

  3. 1. If he somehow can make a living from his bedroom, so be it. There are several jobs that can be done from your own room.
    2. If he doesnt do any harm to himself or anyone else, so be it
    3. If living in his own world makes him feel more secure and comfortable with his own life, so be it.

  4. Frankly I think Japanese and European and of course Americans have one thing in common: An almost neurotic obsession with competition. in the case of the Americas they tell you two contradictory things:
    "It's ok to just be yourself. (but only if you "produce".)
    You have to be a winner. (don't ever be a loser. Even though "loser" and even "winner" can be oddly arbitrary in the States.).

    Ergo what this becomes is that so many see this contradiction, fall to its effects and run the risk of ending up like these lost souls.
    But the question becomes what does a nation expect when it views competition and a variation of social darwinism as the be-all-end-all of it's very existence?

Comments are closed.