Hikikomori: A Misunderstood Phenomenon
Haverford College. Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
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In Japanese media, culture, and society, the idea of hikikomori is glorified, inaccurate, and misunderstood. There are a plethora of images in Japanese media that depict men and women in their homes, purposefully separating themselves from society and happily enjoying their lives playing games, sleeping, and watching TV all day. The word hikikomori within the past two decades has evolved fiom its daily use in Japanese language, to a lm·gely spectated phenomenon in Japanese culture connected with one specific image or identity. The phenomenon has integrated itself into Japanese culture, and is seen as negative social n01m. The tmth of the matter is hikikomori are real people who have issues that need to be taken seriously case by case. Unforhmately, because of its ambiguity and the confusing in1ages related to the te1m, that reality is lost. The purpose of this tlhesis is to analyze the misconceptions brought on by Japanese society and culture, and separate fact from fiction. This thesis will also analyze the hikikomori phenomenon from multiple perspectives in order to create a better understanding of a phenomenon that is easily judged.
Amanda Guadalupe was a Bryn Mawr College student.