Foreign Vocabulary: Japanese

hikikomori

Hikkomori (ひきこもり or 引き籠もり): Withdrawn

These days, the word hikkomori has taken on a new meaning in Japanese culture – the word refers to the thousands of young Japanese men who have withdrawn from society, becoming hermits and staying locked in their rooms playing video games for months or years on end. “A conservative estimate of the number of people now affected is 200,000, but a 2010 survey for the Japanese Cabinet Office came back with a much higher figure – 700,000.”

Why is this such a prevalent problem in Japan? The BBC suggest it may be tied into the concept of “sekentei, a person’s reputation in the community and the pressure he or she feels to impress others. The longer hikikomori remain apart from society, the more aware they become of their social failure. They lose whatever self-esteem and confidence they had and the prospect of leaving home becomes ever more terrifying.” Essentially, the hikkomori phenomenon stems from Japanese sociocultural issues affecting both young  boys and girls.

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About alicestockwellegan

Language and culture enthusiast from New York living in San Francisco.
This entry was posted in Articles, Culture, Expressions, Great Words that Don't Exist in Engilsh, Japanese, Language, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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