This mesmerising video gives us a unique perspective of what it’s like to be a Japanese “hikikomori” social recluse.
If you want to keep yourself from becoming a shut-in, you better brush your teeth!
The social phenomenon of hikikomori, where people are compelled to remain confined in their own homes, is not new anymore. What is new, however, is the looming issue of what happens when a hikikomori’s parents become elderly or die.
Recently a scattering of cases has begun involving people who have filed for government support after their parents have died. And with estimates of the hikikomori population hovering around one million in Japan, experts are suggesting this is just the tip of the impending iceberg.
One group called Nadeshiko No Kai out of Nagoya is looking to take the bull by the horns and is nearly ready to issue a manual – the first of its kind – for hikikomori to aid them in becoming independent once their parents are no longer able to help.
When a death occurs most people can quickly and responsibly deal with the situation. However, a man in Osaka knowingly left his father’s corpse in the house and lived with it for almost two weeks without alerting authorities. The man told police that he was unable to contact anyone about the death because he is a hikikomori! So what is a hikikomori and why would they live with a dead body?
As the social phenomenon which goes by the Japanese name of “hikikomori” continues to grow in Japan and other parts of the world, with the first generation is now well into middle age. Hikikomori refers to people who engage in social isolation by remaining in their homes for extremely long periods of time.
Carpe Fidem is a website which offers support to families with members who have become hikikomori. However, a column they published recently describing questions which come up during consultations with parents of hikikomori children has been stirring up controversy. In it, the counselor recommends some “tough love” style approaches and may have offended some with their level of frankness.