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In Japan there are 541’000 hikikomori


According to a recent survey (published 7th September 2016) carried out by the government hikikomori between the ages of 15 and 39 in Japan are roughly 541’000.

We’ll explore in detail what emerged from the survey and why it’s an optimistic estimate.

  • The survey was carried out on a sample of 5000 families with at least one member between the ages of 15 and 39;
  • 34.7% have started their isolation between the ages of 20 and 24, confirming that the most critical period is the one immediately after the end of highschool (I tried to understand the why of it in this post);
  • 35% has been in isolation for at least 7 years.

Why it’s an optimistic estimate

First of all because the survey doesn’t take into consideration hikikomori over the age of 40, a segment of the population which, according to recent studies, is being increasingly affected (also because of hikikomori who isolated themselves in their youth and remained such for so long as to go over the 40 year threshold, that is to say the “first hikikomori generation”).

Moreover, the Japanese health minister rigidly considers hikikomori only those who haven’t left their home for at least 6 months, don’t study, and don’t have a job. This excludes anyone who tends strongly towards social isolation but still maintains some direct contact with the outside world.

Finally, we need to take into account of what in psychology is termed “social desirability”. In Japan, having a hikikomori child is something that’s seen as very shameful by the rest of the family, for this reason it’s possible that some of those who participated in the study may have not answered entirely honestly.

How many hikikomori are there, then?

Realistically estimating how many hikikomori there really are is very difficult to this day, specifically because of the elusive nature of the phenomenon. Over the last few years various different bodies have conducted a chain of surveys and the resulting estimates range from 100’000 to 2 million; an excessively wide range to hope to find some realisting common ground.

Currently in Italy there is talk of around 30’000 cases, but only a few years ago, in 2013, TG2 (One of the principle Italian news networks) released a ridiculous estimate, that is to say that there were only 50 hikikomori in our country (not fifty-thousand, fifty!).

In my opinion there’s still a very long road ahead of us to fully understand what hikikomori is and, consequently, to come up with accurate estimates on the subject.

1 commento:

  1. It's my first time hearing about Hikikomori. It's a very sad culture-bound syndrome. I think delta 8 products might be able to help with Hikikomori. But we can't be too sure unless a reputable source is able to conduct studies.