Hikikomori, which literally means “withdrawal,” is considered an increasingly prevalent form of social isolation in Japanese society. This issue has been attracting worldwide attention for two decades. Based on interviews with people who have experienced it, Teppei Sekimizu explores what the hikikomori experience is like from a sociological perspective. He also examines the characteristics of four decades of hikikomori discourse by governments, professionals, and mass media; the difficulties faced by parents with hikikomori children; and the social policy which has relegated most provision of welfare for citizens to the private sector. Through these examinations, the author illustrates how the exclusive labor market and familial social policies create masses of family-dependent and isolated individuals in contemporary Japan. A Sociology of Hikikomori leads the reader to a deeper understanding of the manifold hikikomori phenomenon and Japanese society itself.
Teppei Sekimizu is associate professor of sociology in the Faculty of Social Welfare at Rissho University, Japan, author of Sociology of Hikikomori Experience in Japanese, and coauthor of Sociology of Hikikomori and Their Family and the Hikikomori White Paper in Japanese.
Glossary of Japanese Terms
Chapter 1 The Hikikomori Experience and Ambivalence
Chapter 2 Self-Categorization as Hikikomori: Becoming a Hikikomori Subject
Chapter 3 Hikikomori as a Japanese Social Problem: Focusing on Families with Hikikomori Children
Chapter 4 Discourses on the Hikikomori Problem from the 1980s to the 2010s
Chapter 5 On the Difficulty of Participation: From Theoretical and Empirical Considerations of the Situated Self
Chapter 6 Time Perspective in the Hikikomori Experience
Conclusion Japanese Society in the Light of the Hikikomori Experience
About the Author
"In this innovative and insightful book, Teppei Sekimizu takes a multifaceted, sociological approach in exploring so-called 'hikikomori' (social withdrawal) in Japanese society by bringing together individual voices and shifting policy discourses and debates as well as sociological theories of selfhood and time. This book goes beyond a culturalist analysis common in existing literature on the subject and is a must read for anyone interested in the issue of social isolation and well-being in and beyond Japan."
“I would recommend this book to those who want to understand the problem of the hikikomori in Japan as a whole. Teppei Sekimizu carefully interprets the narratives of the hikikomori subjects and persuasively links them to the political and social structure of modern Japanese society. This is a fruit of the fine sociological imagination.”
“A Sociology of the Hikikomori Experience sheds new light on current understandings and misunderstandings of hikikomori by providing a holistic approach that triangulates first-person subjective experiences and concerns, family experiences and concerns, Japanese government discourse, and the historical accounts of hikikomori since the 1980s. An important contribution.”
"In this book, you will discover a new social positioning of hikikomori that has never been seen in psychiatry or psychology. Through a viewpoint that freely moves back and forth between macro- and micro-perspectives, a completely unique narrative of hikikomori emerges."