hikikomori one

Hikikomoris, one



refuse drop out celebration
coop up keep up try/tried/tried
hire function around (2)
stay withdraw adolescent
will (3) lead (2) lead/led/led
retreat shell (2) adjustment
manga spend (2) spend/spent/spent
respect bring up honest (2)
annual occasion bring/brought/brought
youth animate chance (2)
NGO stand (3) step-by-step
agency resident accompany
at all estimate take it from there
interact range (2) subject (3)
support stem (2) pressure (2)
norm conform appear (2)
fit in struggle rise/rose/risen
confine break out break/broke/broken
impose isolation phenomenon
add up break (2) find/found/found
join (2) obviously self-impose
factor part-time competitive
decent graduate prominence
shy enormous background
expect reserved in the first place
give up full-time


Video (First 4:30 minutes)




Okay, before we go to Justin McCurry in Tokyo to get to the news in his part of the world, let’s go to the report he cooked up for us today, see what’s happening in Japan.

And a very interesting report, the hikikomori, adolescents, young adults who withdraw from society. Life becomes too difficult for them, so they stay in their rooms for months, or even years. They want no contact with the outside world.

In Japan the Hikikomori number about two-hundred-thousand (200,000).

Justin McCurry reports.

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This is hip-hop with a difference. That Ryogo and his friends are here is cause for celebration. They belong to Japan’s hikikomori, people who spend months, and often years, cooped up in their rooms, and who refuse to leave.

Ryogo Itazaki, 23 Year-Old Hikikomori: “I dropped out of school and tried to find a part-time job. But no one was interested in hiring me.

So I gave up. I lost the will to try. I become violent.

And that’s what led me to become a hikikomori.”

Ryogo has spent a year living at this center in Tokyo for fifty hikikomori, and other people with adjustment problems. Now he’s learning how to function normally in Japanese society.

He spent almost all of the previous six years in his parents’ home, playing video games and reading manga comics.

Ryogo Itazaki, 23 Year-Old Hikikomori: “I honestly don’t think I’ve spoken to my mother for seven years.

I respect the fact that my parents are spending money to help me, and that they brought me up.

But they don’t understand me.”

Today the center is holding its annual party. But even on this special occasion, some residents refused to leave their rooms.

Hisatada Kono, Manager of the Youth Support Centre NGO: “We take things step-by-step. Some people here stand a good chance of getting a job, so all we need to do is accompany them to the employment agency.

But others can’t interact with other people at all. We begin by taking meals to their rooms. And take it from there.”

Estimates to the number of hikikomori in Japan range from two-hundred-thousand (200,000) to as many as one million.

They’re even the subjects of manga and animated films.

This expert says their conditions stems from the pressure to conform to social norms.

Masaki Ikegami, Journalist and hikikomori expert: “In Japan, everybody has to be the same. If you appear different from everyone else, you come under pressure from your parents to fit in from a very early age.

This is especially true of boys, which is why most hikikomori are male.”

Ikegami and other experts believe the number of hikikomori is rising, along with their age.

The owner of this community café in Tokyo talks to many adult hikikomori about their struggle to break out of their self-imposed isolation.

Mayako Kaneko, Manager of the Necco Cafe: “Most of the people who come here are in their late 30s to early 40s.

One of them became a hikikomori as a university student. Now he’s 45.”

The hikikomori first came to prominence in Japan. But experts say the phenomenon can now be found in South Korea, Taiwan, France and other European countries.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

News Anchor: “We are joined now by Justin McCurry live from Tokyo. Justin, good to have you with us. We’ve just watched your report. Very interesting. I have to say, I’ve never heard about that.

What causes this phenomenon?”

Justin McCurry, Reporter: “Well interesting also, it’s obviously these days not a phenomenon just confined to Japan. You do find hikikomori around the world, particularly East Asian societies; Taiwan and South Korea have a similar problem.

In those societies there is enormous pressure, particularly on young people to fit in. If you add those other pressures, in a highly competitive education system for example, the pressure to succeed and go to a decent university, to graduate and then find a job in a highly competitive employment market, this really adds up to far too much pressure for some people.

So it’s hardly surprising, given those background factors, some people who may be a little shy and reserved in the first place, decide, well, I can’t keep up; I can’t connect. I can’t do what’s expected of me.

And they retreat into their shell, withdraw completely from the society around them.

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1. What is a hikikomori? What does hikikimori mean?

2. Ryogo Itazaki, 23, became a hikikomori because he loved video games. Is this entirely true, mostly true, yes and no, not true or entirely false?

3. Are there rehabilitation centers for hikikomoris? Do all the residents have the same condition and situation?

4. Why do some people withdraw from society? Why do they become recluses?

5. Hikikomorism affects both boys and girls. It is a stage in teenagers’ lives, which they outgrow when they become adults. Is this entirely correct, mostly correct, incorrect or completely incorrect, it depends on the individual?

6. Is hikikomorism unique to Japan? Is it confined only to Japan? Are their numbers increasing, decreasing or remaining the same?

7. Why is hikikomorism especially prevalent in East Asia? Who are most vulnerable to becoming one?


A. I know some people who are hikikomoris or semi-hikikomoris. Yes or no? Who are they? What do they do?

B. Do you think the number of (semi) hikikomoris are increasing, decreasing or remaining the same?

C. What causes hikikomorism?

D. What will happen in the future?

E. Is hikikomorism good, bad, both, neither, both good and bad or in-between?

F. What is the cure for hikikomorism?


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