Hikikomori: A Qualitative Study on Social Withdrawal of Japanese Adolescents


  • Miho Katsumata


Hikikomori Phenomenon, Young People, Living in Isolation


This thesis discusses the hikikomori phenomenon in Japan. Hikikomori is a Japanese term describing young people in the current Japanese society who have socially withdrawn, living in isolation for 6 months or more. The problem has developed in the last 30 years and the estimated case numbers are said to be from several hundred thousand to 1.2 million. The purpose of this qualitative study is to introduce the hikikomori issues accurately to the international experts in the field of psychology and to attempt to reconstruct the new theoretical framework of hikikomori in order to establish the theoretical notion, reveal the clear cause factors and explore possible preventions. The author emphasizes that this work is significant since the investigations of past researches have resulted in confusion regarding the definition of hikikomori and they have not revealed clear cause factors and thus, no prevention. The researcher of the current study interviewed two ex-hikikomoris and one of the important findings showed that medical treatment and counseling are not necessarily the most significant interventions for hikikomori. This finding supports the author's argument of viewing hikikomori issues holistically, that is, to regard hikikomori issues holistically, that is, to regard hikikomori not only as a social phenomenon but also as an abnormal psychological disorder while seeking for various interventions, not only medical or clinical treatments.

Author Biography

Miho Katsumata

M.S.CP. Candidate of Counseling of Psychology, Graduate School of Psychology, Assumption University, Thailand


How to Cite

Katsumata, M. (2014). Hikikomori: A Qualitative Study on Social Withdrawal of Japanese Adolescents. Scholar: Human Sciences, 3(2). Retrieved from http://www.assumptionjournal.au.edu/index.php/Scholar/article/view/233