The Hikikomori phenomenon: when your bedroom becomes a prison cell

TitleThe Hikikomori phenomenon: when your bedroom becomes a prison cell
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsGalbussera M
JournalInterdisciplinary Journal of Family Studies
Date Published11/2016
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2282-2011
KeywordsAddiction, family, Hikikomori, Internet, Teenagers

Hikikomori is a Japanese word that describes a condition in which adolescents or young adults live in isolation from the world, shut inside their bedrooms for months or years. There is significant variability in terms of behaviour, both in the time spent using a computer, and the degree of isolation observed. This syndrome was described in Japan in the early seventies. In the West (USA, Canada, France, UK, Spain, and Italy), clinical psychologists are treating an ever-increasing number of young Hikikomori.
In this article, we consider two cases of serious social withdrawal whose features are very similar to those of Hikikomori described by Japanese colleagues.
We will focus on the Japanese family structure that produces Hikikomori and examine the structural elements common to those in Italian families. What emerges is a reliance on the mother figure and an absence of a strong father figure to introduce the child into society: therefore, the family structure seems very similar to that observed by Japanese researchers.