I enjoy finding a new word. Today I found Hikikomori. It comes from Lawrence Pearce in his post to get votes on which title to use for his book. I know agoraphobia is also a fear of the outside world, people tend to shut themselves in because they don’t want to be out in the open, exposed.

Note: Hikikomori is a Japanese term describing those who never set foot outside of their own homes or even bedrooms. One of the main characters is an Hikikomori.

Could you write about a Hikikomori? Where would the story begin? Could they find some peace, a solution, a way out of themselves? What do you think about this social sort of fear yourself? Are they too self-involved? Could this ever happen to you? Has it? (If you stay home a week, not going out for any reason, would you still be able to step out after a week of being sheltered, safe in your home environment, and not feel even a little self conscious about putting yourself out there – for the whole world to see)?

Other Resources:

Wikipedia: Hikikomori – a Japanese term to refer to the phenomenon of reclusive people who have chosen to withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement because of various personal and social factors in their lives.

HubPages: The Hikikomori Phenomenon

Hiki Culture – Forum for reclusive people.

NY Times: Shutting Themselves In

Michael Zielenziger: The Story Behind Shutting out the Sun

Here I was living in a country that was still so prosperous, where the gap between rich and poor was far narrower than in the United States, where fewer homeless and destitute line the streets than in New York or San Francisco, Yet I found that:

  • more than one million young adults shut themselves in their rooms for years as a time. These adolescents and adults, known as “hikikomori”, withdraw from societies for months or years at a time, not going to class, not working, not even leaving their homes, and often not even abandoning their rooms. These recluses become wholly dependent on their mothers to feed them.
  • three times as many people die each year in suicides than in car accidents. Japan’s male suicide rate in particular had exploded and become the highest in the wealthy, industrial world.
  • Japanese women have systematically chosen not to marry and bear children. Today Japan has the lowest birthrate in the world. And beginning in 2005, Japan’s population began to shrink in absolute terms, as more deaths than births were recorded. Within fifteen years, one in every nine Japanese will be over age 80.
  • Half of all unmarried men 18 to 34 tell government census takers that they have no casual companionship, friendship and certainly no regular sexual relationship with a female. 40 percent of all women are also equally lonely.

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