As many as a million young people in Japan are thought to remain holed up in their homes - sometimes for decades at a time. They had become "withdrawn" or hikikomori.
In Japan, hikikomori, a term that's also used to describe the young people who withdraw, is a word that everyone knows.
They want to go out in the world, they want to make friends or lovers, but they can't.
These young people were often from middle-class families, they were almost always male, and the average age for their withdrawal was 15.
Symptoms vary between patients. For some, violent outbursts alternate with infantile behavior such as pawing at the mother's body. Other patients might be obsessive, paranoid and depressed.
The trigger for a boy retreating to his bedroom might be comparatively slight - poor grades or a broken heart, for example - but the withdrawal itself can become a source of trauma. And powerful social forces can conspire to keep him there.
One such force is sekentei, a person's reputation in the community and the pressure he or she feels to impress others. The longer hikikomori remain apart from society, the more aware they become of their social failure. They lose whatever self-esteem and confidence they had and the prospect of leaving home becomes ever more terrifying.(Source: BBC)
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