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INTEREST: Average Age of Hikikomori on the Rise in Japan


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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:14 pm Reply with quote
It might sound strange but this is actually a good news. It means that the phenomena was transient and didn't cross generation (otherwise as new people would become hikikomori the average age would remain down). The increase was faster than the average age for the entire population (iirc), showing that it's mostly because the same people are still hikikomori but there are few new one.
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Snakebit1995



Joined: 25 Apr 2015
Posts: 842
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:23 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
It might sound strange but this is actually a good news. It means that the phenomena was transient and didn't cross generation (otherwise as new people would become hikikomori the average age would remain down). The increase was faster than the average age for the entire population (iirc), showing that it's mostly because the same people are still hikikomori but there are few new one.


I was gonna say this is a "good" thing, if the average age is going up that means there are less young people doing it.
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Artesox



Joined: 19 Dec 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:46 pm Reply with quote
It is interesting how much older the data from Japan compared to the west. On 4chan for example, the oldest board that I know is /a/, with an average of 23. Of course 4chan user =/= Shut-in or NEET, but it's an all around trend.
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Shay Guy



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:00 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
It might sound strange but this is actually a good news. It means that the phenomena was transient and didn't cross generation (otherwise as new people would become hikikomori the average age would remain down). The increase was faster than the average age for the entire population (iirc), showing that it's mostly because the same people are still hikikomori but there are few new one.


I'd have to see the data for hikikomori population per cohort, but that doesn't sound right to me. If a fixed number of people became hikikomori every year, all at the same age, and none of them recovered, you'd still see an increase in the average age over time. Assuming a spherical cow and saying that each year, one 16-year-old joins the hikikomori population, after five years you'd have five hikikomori, aged 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 -- average age 18, growing at a rate of one year every two calendar years. The figure cited in the article is 0.4 years per year, which suggests some recovery but is worryingly close to the scenario I describe.

All this is skewed by things like the decreasing number of Japanese youth, of course, so it's hard to make clear inferences about whether this means more hikikomori overall (or more new hikikomori, or more long-term hikikomori, or what the odds of recovery for new ones are). But I'm still not reassured.
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H. Guderian



Joined: 29 Jan 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:00 pm Reply with quote
I think I'd want to agree with the assessment that this social ailment is on the decline.

That average age is in their mid 30's and seem be the people who were entering society at the end of the Lost Generation. So one could assume this 'average age' of this is somewhat related.

This is also a much higher average than a mere decade ago.

Still you gotta feel somewhat bad for the people who are the ones buoying that number. If the Average really is 34.4 years, there are likely a lot of people who entirely missed the Singles Market in that data. As sad way to leave the earth.
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Sulfy



Joined: 15 May 2018
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:05 pm Reply with quote
As Shay Guy points out, without harder numbers, it's hard to discern whether things are improving or not. That being said, the quote from the chairman is a relatively positive one in that he's trying to reassure family members not to blame themselves...but he's still effectively blaming the hikkimori themselves (or am I misconstruing his quote?).

Nevertheless, I'm glad there are such things as a "hikkimori support groups" and I hope more shut-ins will look to these groups for help.
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Ashen Phoenix



Joined: 21 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:57 pm Reply with quote
Sulfy wrote:
Nevertheless, I'm glad there are such things as a "hikkimori support groups" and I hope more shut-ins will look to these groups for help.

Agreed. I wonder if there's any equivalent here in the west?
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Sulfy



Joined: 15 May 2018
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:42 pm Reply with quote
Ashen Phoenix wrote:
Agreed. I wonder if there's any equivalent here in the west?


This prompted me to wonder if the west has an equivalent to hikkimori in the first place, which led me to this article: https://think.iafor.org/reclusive-shut-ins-hikikomori-predominantly-japanese-problem/

Choice quote from there is:

Quote:
Despite this strong emerging evidence that the hikikomori phenomena is worldwide, certain investigators and reporters have tried to construe the issue as uniquely Japanese


To be fair, it's from 2016 and perhaps the west has adopted its own term for social shut-ins...but I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't one. A quick google for "social shut in help group" yielded nothing, but I'm keen on hearing from others.
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Cardcaptor Takato



Joined: 27 Jan 2018
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:22 pm Reply with quote
I wonder how many hikkimoris suffer from social anxiety? It always seems like in pop culture media at least, hikkimoris are treated as a personality flaw or a relationship failure issue when I wonder how much of it is actually the result of mental illness.
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:28 am Reply with quote
Cardcaptor Takato wrote:
I wonder how many hikkimoris suffer from social anxiety? It always seems like in pop culture media at least, hikkimoris are treated as a personality flaw or a relationship failure issue when I wonder how much of it is actually the result of mental illness.


Certainly the median age range going into adulthood should start shaking up the default "Hikkikomori = High-school kid rejected by his girl for being a manga-reading loser" stereotype that the Japanese mainstream conveniently uses to excuse away Lost-Generation problems...
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simona.com



Joined: 20 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:51 am Reply with quote
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:30 am Reply with quote
Cardcaptor Takato wrote:
I wonder how many hikkimoris suffer from social anxiety? It always seems like in pop culture media at least, hikkimoris are treated as a personality flaw or a relationship failure issue when I wonder how much of it is actually the result of mental illness.
The Salaryman culture and their school and university system seem to contribute to this problem. I doubt there is anything wrong with this people, aside from maybe low self esteem, before they become Hikikomori.
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:30 pm Reply with quote
Sulfy wrote:
Ashen Phoenix wrote:
Agreed. I wonder if there's any equivalent here in the west?


This prompted me to wonder if the west has an equivalent to hikkimori in the first place, which led me to this article: https://think.iafor.org/reclusive-shut-ins-hikikomori-predominantly-japanese-problem/

Choice quote from there is:

Quote:
Despite this strong emerging evidence that the hikikomori phenomena is worldwide, certain investigators and reporters have tried to construe the issue as uniquely Japanese


To be fair, it's from 2016 and perhaps the west has adopted its own term for social shut-ins...but I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't one. A quick google for "social shut in help group" yielded nothing, but I'm keen on hearing from others.


We have people in our country who've just dropped out of the job-hunt market, period, since the now temp-based office industry has become too thin and rarified, and can't support the beginning worker anymore--
But it wasn't something we staked our national identity and cultural pride on for two generations, believing that getting out of college fast-track and joining a big corporation built personal character as well as world empires, and anything else was just slacking.
We had something like it in the 60's, when kids would rather drop out than join the "rat race" and we handled it rather well in the 90's, when the 80's stocks-'n-cocaine self-destructed, and everyone tried to get into cute homemade startup businesses in time for the Internet to come along.

But again, it wasn't something we'd been pressured literally from childhood to believe, that it was our entire purpose in society, whether we liked the pressure or not, and now it had "failed" us and didn't have a purpose anymore.
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Usagi-kun



Joined: 03 Jul 2013
Posts: 877
Location: Nashville, TN
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:37 pm Reply with quote
Ashen Phoenix wrote:
Sulfy wrote:
Nevertheless, I'm glad there are such things as a "hikkimori support groups" and I hope more shut-ins will look to these groups for help.

Agreed. I wonder if there's any equivalent here in the west?


I have heard the connection in the West made to the psychological disorder agorophobia, but considering how Japan expresses and copes with mental health issues, I can understand how certain criteria is subjective. Seeking therapy to establish behavioral changes, building a positive self image, undertaking possible medication regiments, and gentle exposure to social interaction seem to tick all the boxes for a Western equivalent.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agoraphobia
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Compelled to Reply



Joined: 14 Jan 2017
Posts: 338
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:00 pm Reply with quote
Sulfy wrote:
This prompted me to wonder if the west has an equivalent to hikkimori in the first place, which led me to this article: https://think.iafor.org/reclusive-shut-ins-hikikomori-predominantly-japanese-problem/

Choice quote from there is:

Quote:
Despite this strong emerging evidence that the hikikomori phenomena is worldwide, certain investigators and reporters have tried to construe the issue as uniquely Japanese


To be fair, it's from 2016 and perhaps the west has adopted its own term for social shut-ins...but I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't one. A quick google for "social shut in help group" yielded nothing, but I'm keen on hearing from others.

Indeed, investigations and reports claiming that the "hikikomori phenomena" is "uniquely Japanese" likely have an American bias. Also, with the U.S. still influenced by Baby Boomer culture where kids are "kicked out of the house" after graduating high school and/or college-bound, hikikomori wasn't fostered as much. I recall the term "adultolescence" describing a comparable phenomenon where college graduates couldn't find employment and returned home, and that over ten years ago and even before the economy crashed. Multigenerational households are still commonplace in Europe like in Japan, and "NEET" has been used as the Western equivalent of hikikomori for quite some time.

MarshalBanana wrote:
The Salaryman culture and their school and university system seem to contribute to this problem. I doubt there is anything wrong with this people, aside from maybe low self esteem, before they become Hikikomori.

The salaryman culture, which was supported by the competitive school and university system where admission was essentially a filter in the hiring process for new recruits, died in the Lost Decade, too. It might be unfortunate to see shūshin-koyō and its perks gone away with, but I suppose it's favorable if hikikomori are aging, so it's only a problem for the Lost Generation of late Gen Xers and Millennials.
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