30 March 2005

Q & A about Hikikomori Part 2 <p> I was contacted via email by someone interested in the topic of hikikomori and posed me several excellent questions. I thought I’d post the questions and my answers to the blog as the answers might prove useful to others looking into the hikikomori issue.... Dziesinski, I am writing an essay on hikikomori, and as you worked on the subject, I would like to ask you a few questions about that: My apologies.... I hope you will find these answers helpful (and that I got them to you in time). Question 2: Do the withdrawn communicate with the society through the internet?... It has changed recently, but I suspect that is because of what I think is a ‘copycat’ phenomenon: young people fed up with their lives emulate true hikikomori but continue to communicate with the outside world on some level. Though at some point, these people become ‘true hikikomori’ inadvertently when the social stigma of the condition settles in. However, true withdrawal is complete social isolation to the point that the person begins to become developmentally and socially stunted in his/her personal growth as they lack any human interaction. After several months or years, such withdrawn people stagnate mentally, though I would argue that this is not a mental illness as I have observed withdrawn people, who after several years of hikikomori behavior, soak up new interactions and learning like a sponge. Once out of the isolated environment and with guided help, they normalize quite quickly— within six months to a year. </p>

Michael Dziesinski

I'm a University of Hawaii PhD in Sociology discussing youth issues in Japanese society in this blog.

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