Hikikomori Case Study

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The hikikomori phenomenon began in 1990’s in Japan, despite of that the condition itself is not new to the society - it has existed long before the term was created, in form of hermits. Tamaki, who is seen as an expert in this area, claims that hikikomori should not be a brand for a disease but more as a condition or a state (Horiguchi, 2012). There have been several conditions of social withdrawal in the past, and these conditions have developed and can be seen as the result of Hikikomori. The causes of the condition are multiple and a combination of biological, psychological and social factors according to The Ministry of Health labor and Welfare’s guidelines (Horiguchi, 2011).

This chapter will examine how the phenomenon has developed
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January 28th 2000, a 19-year old female was unable to leave the house and was confined by a 37-year old unemployed male – she had been missing for 9 years. The mother of the 37-year old male lived in the same house, but had not noticed the female who was held there against her will, because she was not allowed to enter the son’s room (Horiguchi, 2012).
May 3th 2000, a 17-year old boy had stolen a Nishitetsu express bus and stabbed a passenger to death in the process – it was all during the national holiday “Golden weeks”. The boy did not attend school, and he rarely had contact with his friends. This is three examples and allegedly cases of hikikomori crimes, which the Japanese media had covered and reported. It is relevant to identify how the media portrays the hikikomori, and compared to Tamaki’s statements the image they give are not entirely correct, since they only portray them as a potential danger towards the society. A family, who has a hikikomori among them, will as mentioned before not talk about it publicly, especially after the media reports. The cultivation theory explains it as the media has a certain influence on the people, and can frame and create the image they want - and the people would unconsciously believe in it (Horiguchi,
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The surveys also shows that the majority of hikikomori are male. The mass media suggest there are an additional more male than female hikikomori – while the Nippon Housou Kyoukai (NHK - a japanese public service media alike the danish DR) survey shows 40% of the hikikomori are females (Horiguchi, 2011). There have not been made many surveys based on the hikikomori and the development, and those which does exist might not always be as reliable, as the hikikomori does not seem to promote themselves or their situations and it is a newly acknowledged phenomenon. There have been a number of media reports, which show that there are around one million cases of hikikomori in Japan - which correspond to almost one per cent of the country’s population (Horiguchi,

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