Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Social Recluse

This article is one of the most interesting I have read. It is about the hikikomori people in Japan. Predominately men, it shows a sad side of society who I believe has failed these people. Basically the hikikomori guys have given a big middle finger to society and have said in their actions that if you don't want what I have to offer, then you can go and get stuffed.

Lets have a look at some of the things written in the article:

1. "According to him, he is a great man and could do extraordinary things, but he does not aways try his best."

OK, if he doesn't try his best then that is 100% his problem but I wonder if he wanted, when he was younger to do things that his parents and immediate peers didn't approve of. I wonder if they tried to force him to change those things. I hope not but it could well be the case.

2. "In Japan, there are always two sides that oppose one another. It is both modern and traditional, bustling and very lonely."

This isn't really connected to hikikomori but it is actually really interesting. My friend has actually mentioned it a few times when he says "Japan is a perfect mix of 1950's and 2050's." He is not far off the mark.

Tokyo can also be a very lonely place. You would think that in a "town" of 15 million people that it would be impossible to get lonely but the opposite is the case. It can be very lonely. You live by yourself. You have few friends. You don't have many hobbies. Maybe you are a little shy. Do you understand what I am saying?

3. "Riki always tries to be outstanding, but has a fear of making mistakes."

Unfortunately, this is a problem in many societies. People are ridiculed for having a go and if they fail they are made fun of, ostracised. It takes a certain type of person to overcome that and it would be easy to go into that state of well if I am going to be made fun of I'm not going to do anything. How do you fix this? I don't know. That's a tough one.

4. "In Japan, where uniformity is still prized, and reputations and outward appearances are paramount, rebellion comes in muted forms, like hikikomori."

Yep, that sums it up. Parents, families want their sons to go to a good university, get a job in a prestigious company or take over their hanko (seal) shop when in fact that son wants to become a dancer or at least try to be. You have a clash right there between the perceived duty and the individualism of the man. So they say "stuff it" I'm going into my room.

5. "The longer the hikikomori remain apart from society, the more aware they become of their social failure."

I couldn't agree with this less. I'm sorry, society has failed them, not the other way around. This is the clash between the 1950's attitude and the 2018 attitude. Encourage them to do something different. Encourage them to fail. It's ok.

6. "Chujo, 24, has been a hikikomori for two years. He has dreams of becoming an opera singer, but as he is the eldest son, his family wants him to join the family business."

See what I mean? That's exactly what I wrote in number 4. He wants to become an opera singer and good luck to him I say but no he is caught between the duty of the family and his own dreams and aspirations so he locks himself up. Nobody is winning here. Everybody is losing.

Unfortunately this problem is not going to go away quickly and with more and more individualistic attitudes spreading, the clash between 1950's and 2018 will continue.

The "sisters" alluded to in this article are great but it is just a band aid. You have to fix the root of the problem and that will take generations.

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