HikikomoriHow private isolation caught the public eye Sachiko Horiguchi Temple University, Japan Campus
HikikomoriIn Japan: abnormal avoidance of social contact; acute social withdrawal; (also) a person, typically adolescent male, engaging in this; a recluse, a shut-in.(Oxford English Dictionary 2010)Gendered, ethnicized, classed issue
Outline of the presentation• Methods• Brief ‘history’ of hikikomori as a social problem: moral panics & beyond• Debates in definitions of hikikomori• Contemporary concerns
Methods• Japanese language literature & media analysis• Fieldwork in Tokyo Metropolitan area from 2003-2005, 2010-
2000s• -1999 Few newspaper reports (Mainichi, Asahi)• 1998 Shakaiteki Hikikomori (Saito Tamaki)• One million estimate• 2000: Moral panic: Reporting of crimes allegedly committed by hikikomori
Definitions?• MHLW (2003): life centered around the home & shun social participation for 6 months & over; excluding psychosis• Psychological condition? Labor issue? Always at home?• Local usage of the term: variety in understandings, pure vs fake hikikomori
‘Hikikomori industry’Public sector: (Mental) health centers; private organizations commissioned by local governmentsPrivate sector:• Psychiatry <- medicalization!?• Psychologists, counselors• Media (NHK)• Lay supporters for tojisha: ‘ibasho’, job training approach, residential/ non-residential for parents: oya no kai
Tojisha voices:NHK hikikomori support campaign (2002-2004)
The impact of NEET• Focus on the labor issue• Hikikomori organizations - > NEET organizations?• Hikikomori boom over??
Hikikomori now• Continuing to be on policy agenda: new guidelines from MHLW & Cabinet Office survey (2010); MHLW (mental illness) vs Cabinet Office (youth problem)• Relationship with hattatsu shogai (developmental disabilities), internet use/ addiction• Concern with aging hikikomori not in employment: disability rather than a temporary condition?• Global attention (South Korea, France, Italy, U.S.)• Hikikomori support organizations becoming an alternative space where young people can share difficulties in life• Female hikikomori?
Who are hikikomori?In Japan (?): abnormal avoidance of (obsession with?) social contact; acute social withdrawal; (also) a person, typically adolescent (?) male (?), engaging in this; a recluse, a shut-in.Mentally ill?