While I appreciate the views of people talking about the “hikikomori problem”…with respect, if you are not by nature a loner or naturally tend towards a hermit lifestyle, how can you judge someone as having a problem if they do. The problem is yours, rather than theirs. I am sure Hikikomori don’t really care about the opinions of people who don’t have anything in common with them.
And I say this as a natural hermit myself. Being a hermit doesn’t make me loney or deficient. It doesn’t cause me problems. Some might say it doesn’t cause me problems because I am a high functioning autistic and I work from home teaching – I love what I do and my hermit lifestyle suits my work.
But way before I worked to achieve that option, I worked a 9-5. Then a night shift. I deliberately limited social commitments because I don’t need them the way Neuro-Typicals do. During times where I was working on something or dealing with something internally, it wasn’t unusual for me to go months living as a hermit. I checked in with my family and friends who accept me as I am and understand that sometimes, what works best for me in life is being a shut in.
After being nocturnal for 16 years of work, I have remained nocturnal for the last 24 years. That naturally limits my social contact and also I enjoy the peace. I have a few close friends and they know me and love me as I am. As do my family. Mostly ensuring if they want to see me or to go out or away, we arrange it in advance. I see my boyfriend every evening – he also accepts me as I am. He does go out of his way to ensure I don’t get so focused on my work I neglect to see my family! He knows currently I don’t want to go away…it’s been a heavy year personally. But he also understands that’s just how I take time out to deal with things and that although I will never be a socialising extrovert with a need for external validation through social interaction like non-hermits, I won’t be unhappy. For someone who needed to socialise and required external validation through it I can see being Hikikomori would be a problem. They would be unhappy. They would be restricted by the lifestyle and feel they were missing out on what they really wanted.
To me, Hikikomori is a problem only to the Hikikomori who wishes their life was different. I would have a bit more time for “critics” if they didn’t assume that they are “normal” and qualified to speak on someone else’s behalf. Perhaps their need for social feedback is a deficiency that the natural hermit doesn’t have???
Just my two cents.
I would rather see something more balanced about how the natural hermit (once accepted by society) has now become “a problem”. Lots of people choose lifestyles out of step with the norm…are we gonna talk about the “problem of Buddhist monasteries” and the “enclosed religious orders of Catholicism” too? Are they all deficient in some way? I have lived in a monastery for a short period…I didn’t meet anyone there who wished to be anywhere else…I didn’t meet anyone who rashly made the decision or was unhappy with it.
Just saying…some Hikikomori may have problems with depression etc. Or loneliness. They may not all be natural hermits. But please, please, please, stop judging people who are different and considering their degree of departure from the “norm” their degree of “deficiency”.
I observe a lot of “normal” people who are unhappy…a lot of people doing what is considered “normal” isn’t necessarily a good thing!