The Hikikomoris




world judgment sleep/slept/slept
comics safe (2) read/read/read
refuse sneak out dead of night
trawl condition eat/ate/eaten
reality lifestyle lose/lost/lost
manga abnormal know/knew/known
fail situation feel/felt/felt (2)
junior step (3) lead/led/led
cope withdraw experience
shame bear (3) pressure (2)
stay indoors tell/told/told
screen real-life junior high
satisfy sense (2) embarrassment
group emotion dependence
funny just (2) come/came/come
trust vision (2) build/built/built
decade major (2) achievement
victory prognosis buy/bought/bought
likely get back long/longer/longest
trauma horrifying intervention
fun therapy come out of
leader show (2) see/saw/seen
accept cultural pressing (2)






For nearly three years, Yuto Onichi’s world was his bedroom. He slept during the day and lived at night, trawling the internet and reading manga or comics.

Yuto refused all contact with friends and family, sneaking out only in the dead of night to eat. The Japanese call the condition hikikomori.

Yuto Onichi, Hikikomori: “Once you experience the hikikomori lifestyle, you lose reality. I knew it was abnormal, but I didn’t want to change; it felt safe here.”

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In junior high, Yuto had failed as a class leader . . . and to cope with the shame and judgment from others he withdrew into his room. For Yuto and as many as a million Japanese, the pressure from families and society is too much to bear.

Sociologist: “In Western societies if one stays indoors, they’re told to go outside. In Japan they’re not. Our play has changed; it’s all on screens and not real-life situations anymore.

There’s cultural reasons also: a strong sense of embarrassment and emotional dependence on the mother.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

This group of hikikomori have just come out of their rooms. They’re in therapy to rebuild communication and trust.

Some have been in their rooms for a decade, so just a talk is a major achievement. And there are small victories here: this woman bought her first t-shirt.

But the prognosis is not good for most: the longer they’ve been in their rooms, the less likely it is they’ll get back into society.

Yuto Onichi has been out of his room for six months — early intervention worked for him.

Yuto Onichi, Former Hikikomori: “Facing your trauma is horrifying; it’s hard to do. If you can do it with somebody else it can be fun, and then you can surely see a vision for the future.”

And coming to this school that specializes in teaching hikikomori kids has kept him on the outside.

Counselor: “Once you become hikikomori, you can’t see a future. So the first step is to show them a future they can be satisfied with, and accept that.

Yuto is on the road back. But the pressing reality for Japan is that most hikikomori remain in their rooms.

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Books. Yuto likes to party. He likes to go to discos, cafes, clubs, restaurants with his friends. True or false?

Newspapers, Magazines. Does Yuto develop software? Is Yuto a computer engineer? What does he do at home?

Comic Books. Did Yuto always stay in his room, or did he attend school before? Did he like school? Does he enjoy walking in the city center?

Video Games.
Are Europe, North America and Japan the same? How are they different?

Surfing the Internet. What did the five or six hikikomoris do? Was it easy for them?

Social Media. One of the hikikomoris, a woman, climbed a mountain. Is this right or wrong? What did she do?

Emailing, Texting. Is Yuto still a hikikomori?

Video Call, Phone Call. Do most hikikomori re-enter society again? Do most hikikomoris become normal again?
Videos, YouTube. I am a hikikomori, and my friends are hikikomoris. Yes or no? Do you know anyone who is a hikikomori? What do they do? Describe their lives.

Websites, Blogs. Are some people semi-hikikomoris or half-hikikomoris? What do they do? Describe their lives.

Programs, Platforms, Apps. Why do some or many people become hikikomoris?

PCs, Desktop Computers, Laptops. What might happen in the future?

Tablets, Smartphones. Is hikikomorism wonderful, good, bad, terrible, both good and bad, in the middle?

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