What are Hikikomori? 1.5 million Japanese people of functional age suffer from psychological health problems bound by habits
As many as 1.5 million people of working age in Japan have been affected by hikikomori, a phenomenon characterized by social withdrawal syndrome, depression, prolonged periods of stress and anxiety, a survey by the country has revealed.
Social avoidance behavior has been linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced government-mandated lockdowns and social isolation, The Guardian reports.
A government poll conducted by the cabinet office in November of 30,000 people in Japan between the ages of 10 and 69 found that 2% of those in the 15-62 age bracket had hikikomori, The Guardian reported.
Government surveys have also recorded growing examples of people withdrawing socially after quitting their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. At least 18% of the total hermits are between 15 and 39 years old and 20% of those between 40 and 64 years old, the Economic Times reported.
Among those aged between 40 and 64, 44.5% said their behavior was related to leaving work, while 20.6% mentioned the pandemic.
What is a Hikikomori
Hikikomori were first defined in the 1990s in a book written by Tamaki Saito, Britannica https://www.pandorasale-uk.com/ reports. Furthermore, a 2010 survey found that at least 1.2 million of the country’s population live with this condition.
People who experience this condition are also called hikikomori.
It is mostly prevalent in young adults who isolate themselves from others and isolate themselves in their homes for months or even years. Psychologists attribute this condition to problems such as dysfunctional family arrangements, the country’s highly competitive and demanding education system, and constant pressure on young people to get good jobs to maintain certain social standards, the Economic Times reports.
The traditional Japanese family structure has also contributed to the boom in hikikomori. Japan practices filial piety, which is showing respect for elders and caring for them in old age. This seems to threaten mental health and trigger feelings of guilt when obligations are not met.
Researchers are reportedly still debating whether this is a cultural syndrome or a psychological disorder.
Consequences of Hikikomori
While it hasn’t been definitively defined as a mental illness, it often coexists with psychological episodes, Britannica reports. Co-existing conditions include autism spectrum disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and personality disorders. Widespread conditions can cause social harm as well by reducing productivity, creating unemployment problems, and demographic problems such as an aging population and declining birth rates.
Several local authorities have decided to take steps to help the hermit. A ward in Tokyo, Edogawa, will reportedly be holding outreach events in the Metaverse to give people a chance to socialize.