Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Why Are Japanese Men Refusing To Leave Their Rooms?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the it's-all-bright-and-annoying-outside dept.

Japan 770

fantomas writes "The BBC reports on the Japanese phenomenon of Hikikomori: young people, mainly men, who are holed up in rooms in their parents' houses, refusing to go out and engage with society. 'A conservative estimate of the number of people now affected is 200,000, but a 2010 survey for the Japanese Cabinet Office came back with a much higher figure - 700,000. Since sufferers are by definition hidden away, Saito himself places the figure higher still, at around one million. The average age of hikikomori also seems to have risen over the last two decades. Before it was 21 — now it is 32.' Why is this happening? And is it a global phenomenon or something purely due to Japanese culture? (We're all familiar with the standing slashdot joke of the geek in their mom's basement, for example.)"

cancel ×

770 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195089)

Too busy posting to Slashdot Japan?

Re:LOL (5, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#44195223)

Porn, probably.

And why not? They're living in Schoolgirl Tentacle Porn Central.

Re:LOL (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195337)

Porn, probably.

And why not? They're living in Schoolgirl Tentacle Porn Central.

Anime fans probably. Being an anime fan carries a high social stigma in Japan. And of course being into anime means liking lolicon, shotacon and all those sexually perverse child porn manga and anime. Japan being the last civilised country where possession of child porn is legal. Go figure. These people are creepy as hell, so no wonder a subclass of those anime fans are even more creepy.
When you account that Japan has a very conservative and group think type kind of society, being individualistic, strange is 1000 times worse than in western societies. So its no wonder this hikikimori phenomenon is so prevalent down there.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195611)

Right, think about all the pink pixie unicorns that might have been abused in producing these images!

Re:LOL (5, Insightful)

tqk (413719) | about a year ago | (#44195623)

Japan being the last civilised country where possession of child porn is legal.

Maybe they're just not foolish enough to have fallen for the group think we have, which is what you accuse them of. Here, an X rated comic strip is considered child porn. A teenager sexting their SO can get them twenty years in prison and permanent listing on the perv roll.

Every society makes choices on what is the acceptable ways to express individuality. Japan, historically, has been fairly excessive that way in comparison to the rest of the world, but that's the way Japanese (historically) roll; to excess. Go was invented in China. Japan raised it to an art including endowing universities to teach it. The Samurai raised warfare to an art. They even raised serving tea to an art.

After all this time since they opened up to the west, many of us can't even begin to understand them. That's pretty amazing in itself.

Re:LOL (4, Insightful)

vettemph (540399) | about a year ago | (#44195615)

Might also be due to the One Percent moving all the jobs and hope to China, India and South Korea. Lots of U.S. "twenties" are also doing this as well. Those who control the monitarty policies and jobs know very well what they are doing. I am lucky to be in the upper four percent but an increase in H1-B visas could take that all away. We will just pretend that all these things aren't linked together. oh, and it's the porn, speaking of which, I need to go now.

Re:LOL (2)

cellurl (906920) | about a year ago | (#44195649)

As you may have heard, next year the UK is requiring ISP's to block porn by default. Of course it can be turned on, but by default it is off.
This will spread to the US. We live in the roaring-twenties right now, and prohibition is on the horizon.


Help eliminate stupid speeding tickets. [wikispeedia.org]

2ch.net (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195097)

That's to blame.

Universe 25 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195115)

Maybe they are the human versions of the "beautiful ones" from John Calhoun's mice experiments with overpopulation?

Re:Universe 25 (5, Insightful)

lobiusmoop (305328) | about a year ago | (#44195501)

If I had mod points you'd get them. This is the kind of interesting stuff that keep me visiting /.

Mass Radio Based Experimentation Program (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195121)

Having people confined to a particular location reduces the load on the servers and radio systems behind the program. The AI is designed to keep people confined as long as possible to conduct analysis of the nerve endings of the human body.

Mammonis all over again. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195131)

Parents coddle adult kids. The kids have never been encouraged to fend for themselves, and this is the natural result.

It's similar to why adult domestic house cats are pretty much adult kittens who would die in the wild. They've simply never been encouraged in any way to fend for themselves.

We are still just animals after all.

Re:Mammonis all over again. (2)

Hartree (191324) | about a year ago | (#44195215)

"It's similar to why adult domestic house cats are pretty much adult kittens who would die in the wild."

Nonsense. I've seen far too many of them go feral and survive long enough to have offspring afterwards (in the case they weren't neutered before going feral). And it's not just because someone is feeding them.

Some of them have trouble as they weren't taught effective hunting by their mothers, but lots of them can and do fend for themselves just fine. Yes, they get picked off by coyotes (or coy-dogs) and such, but so do a lot of wild small predators.

Re:Mammonis all over again. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195381)

"It's similar to why adult domestic house cats are pretty much adult kittens who would die in the wild."

Nonsense. I've seen far too many of them go feral and survive long enough to have offspring afterwards (in the case they weren't neutered before going feral). And it's not just because someone is feeding them.

Some of them have trouble as they weren't taught effective hunting by their mothers, but lots of them can and do fend for themselves just fine. Yes, they get picked off by coyotes (or coy-dogs) and such, but so do a lot of wild small predators.

Basement-dwellers? Survive outside mommy's care? I call bullshit.

FWIW, you had me until you said "survive long enough to have offspring afterwards".

Re:Mammonis all over again. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195251)

The wild New York cats beg to differ. All ex-house cats. All living rough and surviving.
 

Re:Mammonis all over again. (5, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44195285)

I got mugged by a New York housecat once.

Re:Mammonis all over again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195289)

Mammonis all over again? STUDY BIOLOGY you idiot.

Re:Mammonis all over again. (5, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#44195617)

Parents coddle adult kids. The kids have never been encouraged to fend for themselves, and this is the natural result.

Actually it's much closer to the collapse of the Japanese family, more than anything. It's not the coddling, it's the disdain for people, society, and not wanting to go into the massive "grind your face into the dirt" mentality that exists in Japan.

But we're seeing the entire thing play out here with the current generation of kids too. It's just not getting pulled up in the media.

Read "Welcome to the N.H.K." (5, Informative)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#44195135)

It's the best fictional account of the issue I've seen.

Re:Read "Welcome to the N.H.K." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195267)

Thanks, just ordered it.

Also I think the portrayal of Kondo Tatsumi (Japanese computer hacker) in World War Z (the novel) was pretty good as well, and was the first thing I thought of reading this article. It was one of my favorite story lines of the book.

Re:Read "Welcome to the N.H.K." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195365)

Everybody here is assuming these guys have a computer connected to the internet. Perhaps they just like reading books?
Of course, they can't get a job either way, and since they failed English in school they're shit out of luck getting a job overseas.

Re:Read "Welcome to the N.H.K." (2)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44195405)

They should have no problem. I've worked for a bunch of engineering companies and they seem to have no problem hiring people with barely any English skills.

Because Japanese homes rarely have basements (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195137)

Duh.

helloo....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195145)

anyone there?

Internet (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195147)

The Internet can provide you with almost everything you need to survive. When people become disillusioned with life they get consumed by the Internet and find it more home than reality ever was.

How do I know this? I am one of those people.

Re:Internet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195335)

The Internet can provide you with almost everything you need to survive.

lol do you actually read what you type?

Re:Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195393)

With online bill pay, grubhub, and online grocery shopping, the only real reason to leave the house is work and *gasp* IRL friends.

Don't go out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195151)

Maybe they follow Rodney's advice:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LF0MilNDV1I

practicalities make it impossible.. (4, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44195155)

it's a cultural thing involving japanese and their parents.

I couldn't have holed up in my room if I wanted to, I would have been kicked out sooner or later, probably sooner - and after that if I wanted to hole up I would at least need a job to support that.

practically they depend on the parents to arrange them food, but I wonder what % of these are actually able to pull in income? how active they are socially on the net?

Re:practicalities make it impossible.. (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#44195303)

While it's probably not just a Japanese thing, there's definitely a lot of something to do with the parent's allowing them to do this. I mean, it's one thing to live with your parents, but another story completely when you refuse to leave your room. I liken it to those people who end up being 800 lbs and bedridden. You don't get that way without somebody helping you out along the way. Usually it's a spouse or child that supplies these people with the buckets of fried chicken and gallons of soda that's needed to maintain such a high body weight.

Re:practicalities make it impossible.. (4, Interesting)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#44195357)

I've seen some situations where these shut-ins make money with online stuff. Usually it is low income, as you would expect, but some of them are actually accomplished traders or online gamblers. One or two are actually worth millions. Those are the exceptions, of course, but there are some things you can do to make money from a computer, if you never leave your room and never want to.

They can also probably arrange for food deliveries as well, although I imagine that family support is there for most of these people.

I'm not going to take a high ground against these people, I could understand how they might feel. Once I left home, I couldn't bear to return, but I think that I felt very strongly I needed to make a change like that in a way that I don't know if I would now.

It is possible that these people missed out on that stage in your life when you have a strong biological motivation to change your situation from living with parents to living independently. I know that one big reason I wanted to get out was that it was significantly easier to attract, and then have a relationship with a woman when you weren't living at home.

Re:practicalities make it impossible.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195467)

I think it's also possible that they've given up on "3D" (as in "real") women entirely. If you give that up you've just lost your main motivation for moving out.

Re:practicalities make it impossible.. (2)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44195473)

I don't think it is a cultural thing. Have you ever visited reddit? It's just a bunch of twenty-somethings whining about how hard it is to find a job, how much work sucks, how expensive things are, how little vacation Americans get, how expensive school is, blah blah blah... all while justifying to each other in lengthy circle jerks about why they're almost thirty (or, in some cases, over thirty) and still living at home with their parents...

Re:practicalities make it impossible.. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44195537)

I don't think it is a cultural thing. Have you ever visited reddit? It's just a bunch of twenty-somethings whining about how hard it is to find a job, how much work sucks, how expensive things are, how little vacation Americans get, how expensive school is, blah blah blah... all while justifying to each other in lengthy circle jerks about why they're almost thirty (or, in some cases, over thirty) and still living at home with their parents...

but that is entirely different. living at home is totally different from being enabled to live in one room at home. that needs room service.
for the record I moved out so that I wouldn't need to do stuff like mow the grass and shovel the snow - essentially for laziness sake, moving away from home enabled me to be more of a shut in.

also, maybe, even if they're your peers, you shouldn't hang around on some subreddit for italian 30 something men living with their moms, they're not a good influence you know!

Re:practicalities make it impossible.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195507)

That's just because you parent's don't love you. Other American are in different circumstances.

Re:practicalities make it impossible.. (4, Insightful)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | about a year ago | (#44195509)

Well, am not the oldest guy around here, probably. But I think there is a growing tendency now for men/woman to spend their time/money on things other than "Socializing". Quite many of my friends spend their money collecting figurines or video games or whatever, and though they are interested and in need of meeting strangers and the other sex, they prefer to keep such interactions to a minimum and find the whole "mating ritual" too complicated. (I admit that my circle of friends is composed of rather like-minded individuals). Hell, there is an entire movement for this [mgtow.com] , provided it deals more with the rejection of society's expectations.
So yeah, I guess it's impossible for the people aforementioned to live as shut-ins because there is no financial support from their parents for this kind of lifestyle. But they simply evolved now and kept their social interactions (and interests) to the bare minimum.
I imagine that if they had rich parents who allowed them to do anything, they would live as hikikomoris, but if those japanese shut-ins were forced to go out and work, they would still simply work and socialize to feed their own isolation, in their own little way.

I actually tried understanding why they do what they do, and I was met with an interesting answer, "Why not?".

Between the interwebs & mom's kitchen (2)

deadlydiscs (1505207) | about a year ago | (#44195157)

you've got everything you need.

Sounds like my kid (3, Interesting)

russbutton (675993) | about a year ago | (#44195159)

Hikikomori huh? Average age of 32?! Oh God... And I thought it was bad with my 20 year old sitting on his butt surfing the web and playing video games. His greatest professional accomplishments are getting his GED and getting an interview at Starbucks (he didn't get the job). That's it.

Re:Sounds like my kid (1)

pr0nbot (313417) | about a year ago | (#44195247)

Does he not get tired of having no money? Even if he has food and a home, at some point surely he has to buy stuff, even if only video games?

Re:Sounds like my kid (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44195295)

It sounds like your kid may need some help as well. Nobody wants to be a loser -- if he sits around all day, it could be a sign of depression or anxiety. If you have health insurance, it probably covers screening and treatment for conditions like that.

Re:Sounds like my kid (4, Interesting)

russbutton (675993) | about a year ago | (#44195477)

He is mildly autistic, with anxiety being a part of it. He completely lacks initiative and ambition. He's always been largely indifferent.

Kicking him in the butt only makes him curl up into a little ball. I've tried both positive and negative motivations and there are no external means that seem to work.

The question was asked if he ever got tired of having no money. That is beginning to motivate him a bit. When the motivation is *HIS* idea, then he acts. That's how he ended up getting the Starbucks interview. I've asked the relations to NOT give him money on his birthday and Christmas, which they have agreed to. Now all he gets is birthday cards and is learning that those two days a year are no longer paydays.

One of his autistic qualities is an almost complete lack of common sense. Really. He is slowly maturing and seems to continue to progress, but at some point, he may become unemployable. My worst nightmare.

Re:Sounds like my kid (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44195551)

The best help a parent can offer is to kick the kid out. Stop giving people things to fall back on and when the only option left is to get a job, work hard, and take care of your own damn self, you will quickly get a job, work hard, and take care of your damn self.

Whatever happened to kicking your kids out at 18 so they can go forth on their own in life? They had to plan and prepare for it as they neared the age and didn't just figure "I'll stick around until I'm 20 or 22".

Re:Sounds like my kid (5, Insightful)

some old guy (674482) | about a year ago | (#44195299)

I hear ya. I had a 26 year old step-daughter who did get a the job at Starbucks...and got fired for bad attendance within the month. Back to Facebook and Angry Birds, full-time.

Funny, a week after I booted her useless ass out she had a new job at a book store, and within the month had graduated from couch surfing to her own cozy efficiency.

Parents shouldn't whine about their sweet, precious babies laying around their house. They need to put a boot in their ass.

Re:Sounds like my kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195301)

Tell him that from next month you will be charging him monthly rent, and you will not be buying him anything. You're happy for him to stay, but he has to pay his way.

Stop letting him get away with it!

Unless he has bad depression, in which case you should be more understanding up front.

Re:Sounds like my kid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195417)

My 18 year-old nephew informed his parents that he was going to take a year off after he graduated from high school before he started on college. He thought taking a year off meant sitting on his ass, playing video games, watching TV and texting his friends while mom & dad went to work and paid for stuff. Boy was his bubble burst when my brother presented him with his share of the bills. I think my brother's comment was something like, "You want to act like an adult, then you have to do ALL the things that adults do, like pay for their own stuff."

I will give him credit, though. He went down and got a job at the local Target, and has even enrolled in classes at the local community college this fall, just to get his dad off his ass. Hopefully, next year, he will be off to a 4 year university, since he missed all the chances to enroll this fall.

I have also noticed that my brother has been subtly showing him the benefits of independence, while also helping him steer around the worst mistakes we both made as soon as we got out of our parents' house. For instance, my brother forced him to get a small secured credit card in his name and showed him how to pay off the balance each month. Way better than the $5,000 lesson I had to learn while I was in college.

Watching him has given me insight as to how I will approach this when my kids get ready to leave the nest (they are currently 9 and 10). For instance, with my dad, we got the boot, and off to college we went. If you showed back up at home, you were welcome, but if you stayed more than the weekend, you got the boot again.

Re:Sounds like my kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195449)

Make sure he gets out because he loses all inclination to do so. The biological processes behind independence may only be a teenage/young adult situation. If he gets too old in your house, he's not going to want to leave, even if he gets his own job. That's what happened to these kids, and that's what has happened to some people in my family.

And remember, some animals push their kids out of the nest instead of waiting for them to leave. He won't die without that console or the TV.

Re:Sounds like my kid (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44195529)

I had to walk away from a conversation with a twenty-seven year old a couple weeks ago, because he wouldn't shut up about how hard it was to find a job and how expensive an apartment was and this was why he was still living with his parents and primarily on their dime . . . at almost thirty. Sadly, this doesn't seem to be uncommon at all - especially in people from teens to twenties these days.

When I was a kid, in the 90s, the expectation was that you were out of the house by the age of 18. You're an adult and you're on your own. Hell, most kids couldn't wait -- and many (like myself) were out by the age of 16 or 17. If you had to get a shitty low-paying job that left you with no pocket money at the end of the month and you had to share a shitty apartment or rented house with five other guys and work long hours and have to make due with taking the bus downtown to meet your dates and go on cheap coffee dates or trips to the park for dates, you didn't mind. It was all worth it for the benefits of BEING ON YOUR OWN and MASTER OF YOUR OWN DESTINY.

From discussions I've had in recent years, it sounds like kids basically throw their hands up. Life is just too hard. They're not willing to move out of mom and dad's place (or stop letting them fund their living expenses, either) until they have gone to college, paid off college, gotten a well-paying job, saved up enough money for a down on a house, and moved into said house.

Re:Sounds like my kid (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44195591)

well, as long as you don't start bringing him food to his room he's better off than hikikomoris. that's a large part of the problem.

maybe you should get him to expensive hobbies like clubbing.

Anime (1)

mZHg (2035814) | about a year ago | (#44195163)

There is a very good Anime about Hikikomori : N.H.K. [wikipedia.org]

Japanese mental illness (0)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44195185)

I lived in Japan once. You would see everyday behavior there that would get you thrown into the wacky shack if you were in the U.S. It's absolutely bizarre.

Re:Japanese mental illness (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195349)

Such as?

Re:Japanese mental illness (2)

acidfast7 (551610) | about a year ago | (#44195545)

As a person who travels a fair bit and have lived in many different countries including Japan (but now resides in Europe) ... I can assure you that it's the behaviour in the US that would get the rest of the planet thrown in the wacky shack. Please stay where you are ...

Simple (2)

mfwitten (1906728) | about a year ago | (#44195191)

Internet access provides enough data (e.g., social interaction) to keep a sizeable proportion of human brains content; in fact, it's a lot easier to gather this data by interfacing with the Internet than by interfacing with the "real" world.

Then, as usual, people just perpetuate the conditions that make them content.

The Virtual World (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195261)

Internet access provides enough data (e.g., social interaction) to keep a sizeable proportion of human brains content; in fact, it's a lot easier to gather this data by interfacing with the Internet than by interfacing with the "real" world.

Then, as usual, people just perpetuate the conditions that make them content.

"What do I care for your suffering? Pain, even agony, is no more than information before the senses, data fed to the computer of the mind. The lesson is simple: you have received the information, now act on it. Take control of the input and you shall become master of the output."

- Chairman Sheng-Ji Yang, Essays on Mind and Matter [youtube.com]

(With apologies to any Japanese I've offended by quoting a fictional Chinese leader, but in my defense, said leader was a character in a video game in which I happily locked myself away for days at a time :)

Want to meet a Japanese woman? (0, Offtopic)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | about a year ago | (#44195195)

I've heard time and time again, that Canadian (and American) men are highly desired by women in Japan. I've also heard time and time again, that the reason is because too many Japanese men are downright useless and misogynistic assholes.

Are you a genuinely nice North American dude with a real job? If so, it really is remarkably easy to meet wonderful women in Japan.

Re:Want to meet a Japanese woman? (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#44195333)

So what you're saying is that once they go Caucasian, they never go Asian?

Re:Want to meet a Japanese woman? (4, Informative)

dj245 (732906) | about a year ago | (#44195385)

I've heard time and time again, that Canadian (and American) men are highly desired by women in Japan. I've also heard time and time again, that the reason is because too many Japanese men are downright useless and misogynistic assholes. Are you a genuinely nice North American dude with a real job? If so, it really is remarkably easy to meet wonderful women in Japan.

You've heard. The reality is quite different however. There are about 50,000 Americans living in Japan. There are about 40,000 US military personnel in Japan at any given time. Being a military wife might be attractive to some, but for most families in Japan it would be an embarrassment. Because of the high number of US military compared to general Americans living in Japan, if you see a white guy wandering around who isn't wearing a suit, it isn't a bad guess to think he is in the military, and therefore undesirable. The stereotype bleeds over a bit into any american, even if they have nothing to do with the military.

American men are different than Japanese men, but it would be a huge mistake to think or imply that one is more desirable in Japan than the other. And reporting that American men can find a lady in Japan with little or no effort is completely wrong.

Re:Want to meet a Japanese woman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195625)

what, are you telling me there are no more japanese mail order brides

Re:Want to meet a Japanese woman? (1)

KapUSMC (1812044) | about a year ago | (#44195421)

I've heard time and time again, that Canadian (and American) men are highly desired by women in Japan. I've also heard time and time again, that the reason is because too many Japanese men are downright useless and misogynistic assholes. Are you a genuinely nice North American dude with a real job? If so, it really is remarkably easy to meet wonderful women in Japan.

I spent a year stationed in Japan in the military... Being 6'3" 220 the women were very nice to me. For a 21 year old kid, it was a pretty good year.

Re:Want to meet a Japanese woman? (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#44195441)

But maybe that's just how society portrays the men, and therefore women have a natural bias against the men. When I was in university, I literally had a woman walk away after I told her I was in Engineering, even though up until that time we were having a great time, and she showed no signs of not liking me. Many women will go after strong, good looking, macho guys, who have no other good qualities, even after repeatedly having bad experiences with these types of people.

Re:Want to meet a Japanese woman? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44195483)

Well, believe or not, there's some natural xenophilia in all cultures. I'm not sure your attributed causes are exactly the core of the phenomenon you describe, nor am I sure it's more accentuated in eastern cultures than western, but I'll acknowledge that I can't imagine any woman would be pleased with a misogynistic husband.

Re:Want to meet a Japanese woman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195549)

Australian women have the same problem.

... and seek? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195203)

f.t.a. - The clue is in the name

Not News (1)

sandysnowbeard (1297619) | about a year ago | (#44195209)

I lived in Japan for several years, talks of hikikomori has been going on since at least 2006 when I first got there. This isn't really news, the figure is probably grossly exaggerated, and I'd wager you can probably point part of the finger at Japanese socialization combined with those people maybe just being the introverted types.

My son... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195211)

My son, 17, who lives with his mom, is a *prime* example of this phenomenon. Gaming all day, friends online, food upstairs. Why should he leave when my ex lets him do it! ; \

Re:My son... (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44195257)

That's most 17-year-old's. There will be plenty of time to worry if he's well into his 20's and still doing it.

Re:My son... (1)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | about a year ago | (#44195275)

No he's not. He's only a prime example if his parents are still enabling him to be useless into his 30s. For 17 year olds, it's quite normal.

I'd recommend getting him to pay rent if he's over 18 and not in school. Otherwise, kick him out. My parents did this, and I think it was a great idea.

Re:My son... (3, Interesting)

starfishsystems (834319) | about a year ago | (#44195527)

This is developmentally very common in teenage boys. Although the privileges of adulthood beckon, so do the risks and expectations and responsibilities. With their hormones at war, and facing complex social pressures even within their peer group, boys can feel overwhelmed. It's easier just to hide away until the storm passes.

I wonder whether the "walkabout" rituals in aboriginal cultures aren't specifically intended to address this phenomenon. According to Joseph Campbell, the ritual often involves a scene in which the men of the community theatrically come to capture the boy and drag him away. He instinctively hides or runs to his mother for protection, but theatrically she is unable to protect him. So off he goes to make the terrifying and irreversible transition to adulthood.

What happens in modern urban cultures where we don't have any such ritual, indeed where the transition to adulthood is deferred until graduation from university or is completely indefinite? The status quo psychological attachment to childhood is sustained for much longer. Perhaps with long familiarity it becomes more difficult to break. But I think that the complex social norms and risk/reward pressures of modern life - acutely evident in Japan - are the biggest factor. No child in his right mind would want to sign on to them.

Where is the problem? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195225)

Why is everyone expecting that everyone wants to socialise???
Seriously. There are so many assholes out there in the meat space, sometimes even more than on Reddit or YouTube comments. So many stupid, brain dead people. So many judging people judging others for superficial stuff.

I'm asexual, rarely meet people who interest me and share my hobbies and my interests.
Movies are all shit nowadays. So why should I socialise more than the minimum (food shopping, deliveries/postal service) ???

Re:Where is the problem? (3, Insightful)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | about a year ago | (#44195311)

This isn't just about socializing. It's about working outside the home, being able to cook for yourself, doing your own laundry, doing your own shopping, etc. These adult kids are capable of none of these things.

Being an introvert is one thing. Being unwilling to do what's necessary to survive independently is another thing altogether.

Re: Where is the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195533)

I'm not introvert. I'm funny and crazy but just not interested in most people.

(I'm the op)

Re:Where is the problem? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195325)

You must be a hit at parties... Oh wait!!

Re:Where is the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195521)

Yeah, there are a lot of assholes. But there's probably nearly an equal number of great or kind people.

As a human, you're part of a social species. Unless a person is interacting with the "meat space" as you call it, then how is one of these individuals any better than a meatbag that's just taking up space and oxygen and, potentially, social welfare?

It sounds as if you have hobbies and interests you'd like to share, perhaps even contributing to those communities. You only meet people if you go to places where folks with similar interests hang out. I don't expect you'd find them in the grocery or post office.

It's not unique to Japan. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195229)

It's not unique to Japan.
Avoidant personality disorder(Signs and symptoms) : Avoids physical contact because it has been associated with an unpleasant or painful stimulus , In some more extreme cases — agoraphobia
(source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avoidant_personality_disorder )

It is protest. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195233)

It's because of the girls. They are protesting bat-shit crazy. They like girls, but they've just had enough bat-shit crazy to last several lifetimes, and are protesting it. All we need to do to fix this is to get the japanese girls, and all girls in general, to just tone down the bat-shit crazy, even turn it off if possible.

Re:It is protest. (1, Insightful)

buck-yar (164658) | about a year ago | (#44195599)

Indeed. I was looking through my HS yearbook from ~1998, the girls seem different from today. Girls now talk as if they were mentally retarded- "OMG," "like totally," etc. It wasn't as bad back in the 90s. Seems like the average female IQ is dropping. Just look at the average girls Facebook feed- nothing but brain dead attention whores.

Averages (4, Funny)

Lorens (597774) | about a year ago | (#44195245)

So in 20 years, the average age went up by 11 years. That probably simply means that living in your mom's basement is not immediately dangerous to your health.

Isn't it obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195265)

Japanese porn.

Of course it's global (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195293)

Why bother going out there and dealing with the real world if you don't have to? There are plenty of men (and even women) the world over who can't be bothered with the constant bombardment of big-business bullshit and having to fight corporate entities tooth-and-nail for the right to a reasonable existence. I'm not necessarily an expert, but if you ask me we seem to be entering a phase of human existence where we are making strident reversals from our achievements in the mid-20th century, coming to rely on self-service techniques (up to and including subsistence farming) because we cannot trust capitalism to provide a fair return for the work we put in.

Yet we as a generation continue to listen to baby boomers who were brainwashed by the Western concept of 'evil' communism. More evil than Wall Street and its cronies today? These days I feel I have reasonable grounds to doubt it.

Re:Of course it's global (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44195465)

There is a lot to that, Japan's more rigid social structure just showed the cracks sooner.

Like the U.S. at one time, the expectation was do well in school then get a good job and most likely work there until you retire.

Somewhere around the '80s the kids completing their education found no such jobs waiting for them. However, in japan, hopping from one marginal dead-end job to the next is in itself a source of shame.

Re:Of course it's global (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year ago | (#44195631)

uh right.. like socialsm and communism have such great track records.

Why is this happening? (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | about a year ago | (#44195323)

Why is this happening?

Is this Ask Slashdot, or are we expecting this question to be answered in the comments through the scientific method of pure speculation?

Re:Why is this happening? (1)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | about a year ago | (#44195569)

It's slashdot, we'r bound to have some basement-dwelling sun-haters around here somewhere.

Indicative of a need in young men? (4, Insightful)

wcrowe (94389) | about a year ago | (#44195341)

I don't know about Japan, but it used to be usual in Thailand for young men to be ordained as Buddhist monks, and live a life apart from the mainstream for at least a few months, or a year or two. With the rise of consumerism in Thailand this practice is starting to die away.

In other cultures young men go off for a time to live a cloistered or semi-cloistered life. Even a two or three year stint in the military might qualify. It's not completely cut off from society, but you do live a more spartan existence, in a somewhat separate world with its own rules and protocols, and with lots of time to reflect on what you really want to do with your life.

It could be that hikikomori in Japan is evidence of a need in young men to go off and "find themselves", or whatever. As our increasingly secular, consumerist culture removes other cloistered avenues previously found in religion, military, or school, there may be no option left but to hole up in one's room.

I have nothing to support any of the above, it's just a hunch.

 

Re:Indicative of a need in young men? (1)

ClayDowling (629804) | about a year ago | (#44195603)

It doesn't seem like an unreasonable hunch though. Certainly the structure of a military or monastic life would provide a safer environment for people with social anxieties, which is what this sounds like from the article.

Parents! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195351)

Parents, sort it out. You're helping no-one, least of all your son, by providing the life support and hugbox that turns a boy in to a manchild.

If unwilling to do this, and stick with a man who has lived 20 years in his room, do the decent thing and suffocate him with a pillow. He'll anyway be tucked when you die and he has no-one to feed him. Chris Chan is entertaining but way too expensive to maintain.

Hoarder gene? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195371)

The picture on the BBC site immediately reminded me of a FOAF who is Japanese, raised in SoCal so there is no cultural issue. He's a hoarder. Maybe there's a hoarder gene tied to the recluse gene. Of course this is an anecdote, not data. He also has the "can't drink very much alcohol" gene. Maybe they stay inside to avoid getting sick at parties where Japanese men are required to drink even though they know 50% of the population can't stomach booze.

I know why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195375)

...and I'm sure the Slashdot crowd will completely and utterly disagree with me (thanks to their insanely low level of insight):

It's negativity and criticism. The world is ripe and rank with it; everywhere you go, everyone thinks they're a fucking comedian because they can say something negative, try to pass it off as a joke, but completely miss what makes a joke a joke.

Anyway, happy sunshine and rainbows and all that stuff.

Oh, and uh, Internet Porn.

Housing cost probably a factor... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195383)

...as well. From descriptions of a college roommate well before the upswing in this phenomenon, real estate is extraordinarily expensive in Japan, to the degree that mortgage loans are often multi-generational. Combine this with Japan's long-stagnant economy, and it isn't too surprising the actual living in the homes is becoming increasingly multi-generational as well. Particularly if the internet provides an enticing alternative to moving out.

I know why? (1)

Chas (5144) | about a year ago | (#44195423)

This video explains it.

http://youtu.be/vING8M4dJDg [youtu.be]

This is what happens... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#44195425)

This is what happens when imaginary and/or virtual worlds is more appealing to someone than the real one.

(It also doesn't help that the stereotypical "manga chick" that a lot of Japanese males have been conditioned to lust after bears little resemblance to real Japanese females...)

Japanese comment welcome (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#44195439)

But being that this is Slashdot I'm sure a mildly accurate, yet ludicrous, diagnoses can be reached without any actual input from the Japanese guys.

Re:Japanese comment welcome (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about a year ago | (#44195587)

I agree it would be interesting. I would like to see some Japanese men chime in too. Of course, as you're writing your post, it is 1:14am in Japan so a lot of them may be asleep right now.

This really about porn and video games... (5, Interesting)

Roger Wilcox (776904) | about a year ago | (#44195463)

This is really about porn and video games... these two things can by themselves provide the brain with enough entertainment, reward, and pleasure to make the real world unnecessary.

First, there is a trauma: he fails to live up to parents expectations regarding education or career, has a heartbreak, loses his job, or whatever. Then he consoles himself with porn and video games. They feel good and he doesn't have to worry about his problems for a little while. If this goes on for long enough and he doesn't receive the right kind of social support, he may become addicted to both and lose the drive to do anything else.

What really happens is he becomes trapped by the dopamine pathways (reward system) in his brain. He is incapacitated by fear and social anxiety when dealing with others because his brain's reward system has been overpowered by the artificial stimulation of porn and video games. The dopamine normally produced by his brain during social interactions doesn't have nature's intended positive reinforcement effects for him because his dopamine tolerance is so high thanks to his addictions.

He becomes further and further withdrawn and does the only thing he knows how to do to feel "normal:" feed his addiction.

This has become a serious issue for young men in other parts of the world as well. It is ultimately made possible by technology, in particular the Internet.

Re:This really about porn and video games... (1, Insightful)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | about a year ago | (#44195497)

No. It's because his parents didn't kick him out for being useless.

You can't be addicted to porn and video games if you don't have food and a roof over your head.

Japan - where tomorrow happens today (4, Insightful)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a year ago | (#44195505)

I've traveled some in various parts of Asia and Europe. I'm American, so keep that in mind. I've learned the following a long time ago.

1) A lot of things get invented first or just happen first in Asia, particularly Japan. So it's a great window into what to expect tomorrow in the West before it actually gets there.
2) South Korea and Japan seem to have bee hotspots for years of bizarre, anti-social behavior. When they're not committing suicide.
3) I have the impression as an observer (so I have no facts and could be wrong about this) that citizens in Asia in general get less mental help to deal with problems. Possibly there's a cultural reason for this.
4) The internet and various game systems have made it possible for young people to interact from a distance without ever having to leave their rooms.
5) This is going to be a problem in the USA too soon enough. It's just not happening in great enough numbers yet.

One Word: (0)

retech (1228598) | about a year ago | (#44195513)

Millenials.

Welcome to the new world order Japan.

Well... (1)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | about a year ago | (#44195557)

It's sadly in French, but this very interesting documentary [youtube.com] shows things like sexless couples in Japan. Where it's considered absolutely normal by some women to have sex only once a year.

This is not strictly a Japanese phenomenon (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195567)

They're just the only culture that has a term for it.

The interesting thing here is that the article takes its time analyzing some of the social forces that result in the isolationist behavior. In this case Japan is nearly a perfect incubator for isolationist attitudes, whether historically (they closed their borders from 1641 to 1853), financially (they have few social safety nets [nytimes.com] and the economy was devastated for decades), socially (the article calls it sekentei, the need to impress others), or culturally (the Japanese ignore problems until it is too late to do anything about them--this is as true for hikikomori as it is Fukushima).

I'm interested to see if this phenomenon will be replicated on a large scale in countries with high youth unemployment rates, like the US, Spain, Greece, or Italy. A survey is definitely needed.

Better porn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195589)

That would do it.

Prove yourself: delicacy

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>