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Japan is seen an outwardly advanced country brimming with the latest technology and fashion but behind closed doors, a silent epidemic known as Hikikomori is threatening to plague its future. The phenomenon is a Japanese psychopathological and sociological syndrome in which people, especially younger generations, withdraw from society and hide in their rooms for months to decades at a time. Recent studies estimate anywhere from 500,000 to as many as 2 million people in Japan are Hikikomori with many experts calling it one of the biggest social and health problems plaguing the country. The term Hikikomori literally translates to pulling inwards or withdrawal. Living behind closed doors, many Hikikomoris hide themselves away in self-imposed isolation, retreating from school and work, and refusing to go outside.
These “shut ins” are ostracized from society and have very limited resources for getting out of their situation. Many rely on their aging parents for support but also fear a future without them. While there is a consensus from the government and medical community that this is a problem, there is an uncertainty for how to treat and cure it.
Fusion Media Network