Japan has a budding Hikikomori problem on its hands. Hikikomori are people who leave their social life and shut themselves in their rooms. They lead a solitary life concealed behind junk food consumption and videogames. These are high school or college dropouts, young adults shown to be squandering their gifts and youth with a bad attitude towards the rest of society.
The news about such a segment of the society came forward in 2014, it discussed the growing population of middle-aged hikikomori, spotlighting that this isn’t merely a phase young adults go through while adjusting to their new independence. Alarming news about this tradition now is that the hikikomori population is growing. A new survey conducted by KHJ Zenkoku Hikikomori Kazokukai Rengōkai (KHJ National Hikikomori Association of Families Federation) revealed the average of hikikomori is 34.4 years old, four years higher than the average compared to 10 years ago.
The higher age of these individuals means an increased age in their family members turned caregivers. In March, KHJ released a statement explaining the “8050 problem” where parents in their 80s are responsible for caring for their unemployed 50-year-old children using their own retirement pensions.
Chairman Isao Sakamoto said, “The hikikomori are isolated within their families and their families are isolated within society. They don’t have to blame themselves for their hikikomori family members. I want to tell them to live together and to please not suffer alone.”
The Japanese government estimated there are over half a million people between the ages of 15-39 living in social isolation in Japan. These individuals are romanticized in animes but the truth is that they are becoming a burden to the Japanese society. People are encouraged to go out and socialize, which has a government run campaign behind it as well because of the country’s declining population.
Image via IMDB