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How many people are shut ins in Japan?

How Many People are Shut-Ins in Japan?

Japan has a unique phenomenon called “hikikomori,” which refers to people who isolate themselves from society for a long period of time, often months or even years. While there is no official definition or statistics on how many people are shut-ins in Japan, estimates suggest that the number is around one million.

The Definition of Hikikomori

Hikikomori refers to people who withdraw from social life, often staying at home and avoiding contact with others. They may spend their days watching TV, playing video games, or browsing the internet. The phenomenon is more prevalent among younger generations, particularly men in their 20s and 30s.

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The Causes of Hikikomori

The causes of hikikomori are complex and multifaceted. They can be traced to various factors, such as family pressure, academic stress, bullying, social anxiety, and depression. Some experts also point to the rigid social norms and expectations in Japanese society as a contributing factor to hikikomori.

The Consequences of Hikikomori

Hikikomori can have severe consequences for both individuals and society as a whole. Isolated individuals may experience physical and mental health problems, such as obesity, insomnia, depression, and suicidal thoughts. They may also become dependent on their parents or other caregivers for basic needs.

Treatment and Support for Hikikomori

There are various approaches to treating and supporting hikikomori individuals. Some involve medical or psychological interventions, such as therapy, medication, or hospitalization. Others focus on social reintegration through education, job training, or volunteer work. Family support and peer counseling are also important components of hikikomori treatment.

The Role of Technology in Hikikomori

Technology has been both a blessing and a curse for hikikomori individuals. On one hand, it provides a means of connection to the outside world through social media and online communities. On the other hand, it can exacerbate isolation and addiction to virtual reality. Experts are divided on whether technology is helping or harming hikikomori.

The Stigma Surrounding Hikikomori

Hikikomori is still largely stigmatized in Japanese society. Many people view it as a personal failure or weakness rather than a legitimate condition. This stigma can deter individuals from seeking help or coming forward about their experiences.

The Economic Costs of Hikikomori

Hikikomori also has significant economic costs for Japan. It is estimated that the phenomenon costs the country billions of dollars each year in lost productivity and healthcare expenses.

The Global Implications of Hikikomori

Hikikomori is not unique to Japan but has been observed in other countries as well. Its prevalence suggests that it is a symptom of larger societal issues such as social isolation, economic insecurity, and cultural alienation. Understanding hikikomori can provide insights into how to address these issues globally.

The Future of Hikkomori

The future of hikkomori is uncertain. While some experts predict that the phenomenon will continue to grow in Japan and beyond, others believe that societal changes such as greater acceptance of mental health issues and increased social support may help reduce its prevalence.


In conclusion, hikkomori is a complex phenomenon with far-reaching consequences for individuals and society alike. While there is no easy solution to this problem, greater awareness and understanding of hikkomori may help reduce its stigma and provide more effective support for those who suffer from it.

How many Japanese hikikomori are there?

Japan has a significant population of hikikomori, and their numbers are increasing. Psychologist Tamaki Saito estimates that there are approximately 1.15 million Japanese individuals between the ages of 15 and 64 who are hikikomori, and this number is predicted to rise to almost 2 million in the coming years.

What percentage of people are hikikomori?

Hikikomori is now understood as a mental health issue that is influenced by sociocultural factors, rather than being a distinct mental illness. With around one million people (or 1.2% of the population) affected, hikikomori is a significant problem for both social and health reasons.

What do hikikomori do all day?

Hikikomori is a term used by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare to describe individuals who isolate themselves in a single room for more than six months, refuse to leave their parents’ home, and do not work or attend school. This condition leads to complete isolation from society and family.

How do shut ins survive in Japan?

The majority of NEETs rely on financial support from their parents, which typically covers the cost of a small studio apartment, utilities, and a set amount of money for food. This was reported on March 29, 2017.

What triggers hikikomori?

The reason behind hikikomori is not fully understood. According to medical professionals, individuals may develop hikikomori after a stressful event, which then leads to avoiding social situations and eventually becoming a hikikomori. Research suggests that hikikomori may be related to dysfunctional family dynamics or having had traumatic experiences.

How do hikikomori survive?

A portion of hikikomori individuals are able to sustain themselves through remote job opportunities such as software development. They may receive food deliveries or make trips to 24-hour supermarkets during late-night hours to avoid encountering others.

The Importance of Addressing Hikikomori

Addressing the issue of hikikomori is crucial not only for the individuals who suffer from it but also for society as a whole. The isolation and disengagement from society can lead to a lack of social cohesion and contribute to wider issues such as crime, unemployment, and mental health problems. It is important to recognize and address the underlying issues that lead to hikikomori in order to promote a healthy and productive society.

The Role of Government in Addressing Hikikomori

The government has a significant role to play in addressing hikikomori. They can allocate resources towards mental health services, education, and social support programs that specifically target hikikomori individuals. Additionally, creating more flexible work arrangements and reducing social pressure on young people may help alleviate some of the underlying causes of hikikomori.

The Importance of Community Support for Hikikomori Individuals

Community support is crucial for hikikomori individuals. Isolation from society can make it difficult for them to form personal connections and receive the necessary support to reintegrate into society. Building supportive communities that offer a safe space for hikikomori individuals to connect with others and receive emotional support can be an important step in addressing the issue.


Hikkomori is a complex issue that requires nuanced solutions. By promoting greater understanding, reducing stigma, increasing mental health support, and building supportive communities, we can help address this issue and promote greater social cohesion and mental health. By working together, we can help individuals who suffer from this condition and create a more inclusive society.

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