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Monday, July 9, 2007

This interview was done with a caregiver to a Hikikomorian sister in Busan, Korea.

The interview was based on six questions. When, What, Why, How, Expectations.
Q1. How long your sister had been a "Hikikomori"?
A1: Almost more than 2 years now.

Q2: What does she do?
A2: Watching TV, especially sports. Doing internet.

Q3: Do you know the reasons for her to withdraw herself from connecting with people?
A3: My sister attended a church, and she was working in a mission organization, making "video animation" before she bacame a "hikikomori". She heard many people fighting each other in the company, many rejections, and saw a lot of bad things. Individually, she went through a lot of rejectio from step-mother, and elder sister inlaw. So, she had a bitter root in her heart, towards people, and God.

Can I tell you my story? (interviewer nodded, as a sign of "go ahead")

Actually , the family went through a lot of tribulation. My father is a drunker, and he died in 2003. My mother had mental disease since our childhood. The curse, passing down from old generation. Generation curses, have you heard?

Let me explain... My father's father was a drunker, and he despise woman. Then, my father hated my grandfather, but when he grew up, he became a drunker too, and despise woman. My mother's mother was a buddhist, my mother too. My mother once loved a poor young man, and my grandmother against it. Then, my mother broke up with the poor young man, and tried to suicide. However, my grandmother arranged my mother to marry with my father. After the marriage, she realized that my father was a drunker and he hated woman. She endured the relationship because of her pregnancy. Because of this relationship, my mother had mental illness, and always being hospitalized. My father brought home a stepmother when I went to university. She rejected us, and we also hated her.

Finally I met Jesus Christ, and I forgave my father. But not long after that, my mom died in the mental hospital. It was very painful to me.

My sister dropped out from university. After mom died, sister came to church. I'm not sure if she's born again, but she attended church right after mom's death in 1995.

After my brother married, my sister stayed with them. My sister inlaw not Christian. Brother at that time not Christian, they cannot understand me and my sister. My sister worked with mission organization, her salary 300,000 won (about 300 US), very low in Korea. My brother's wife cannot understand. But my sister thought God brought her to the mission organization.

After my father died, my step mother refused to return to us what he left for us. As a result, my brother bankrupt, me and my sister had economic hardship. Finally 3 years ago, my sister became a Hikikomori.

She also has sickness, inflamation in bowel. She was very thin, and she was hospitalized, the doctor told her that was not curable.

So, she hide herself in the house, and she stays with me now. About 2 years she not going out at all. Now, she goes to market with me, and she speaks only to the seller. Now she often smile, and she talks. But she still has no friends. She had one very intimate friend, but she cut all relationship. She recently told me that her intimate friend was working together with her in the same mission organization.

Q4: How come she changed? From not going out at all, to going out with you to the market?
A4: I think it's God's grace. I prayed for that! Ia ttended Benny Hyn's conference in Bangalore, India 2004. I have confidence God will heal my sister!

I think she was young at that time, as a spiritual baby, and she worked hard for the mission organization. Her burden was great. The pastor and co-workers made her felt guilty when she tried to quit. Such as making her feel that she was not a good Christian, and not following God's will...... She only told me these recently. I always though it was only because of my step mother.

Q5: Can you share with us your feelings being have to look after a Hikikomori family member?
A5: I thought it was a heavy burden because I had to support my sister economically. But now I think my thouight didn't comply with God's words. Now I accept it as God's plan to make me pure and I feel I have to fight against the evil spirit who attacked my family

Q6: How do you think you can be support better by the community?
A6: I think it's more of a evil attack towrds the family So I think the first is to pray, most important one. I think in the case of my sister, she was attacked by the religious spirit, in the mission organization. Isn't that spirit of withcraft? A spirit in using other things to control people, but not with the Holy Spirit. "If you are not involve in this movement, you are guilty for not following God!" This person became guilty, and another person is in control.

Monday, June 18, 2007

What can I do?




Where can I run to?
Who can I run to?
I can't even run to myself......
Who can help me?
By Ramone - May 21 & 23, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

親への怒りと殺意 - どこまで本当?

親への怒りと殺意???

服部雄一: 「私のクライアントの七割近くが親への怒りを表現します。研究所以外のケースを見ても,引き蘢りは親への怒りが強く,そのことをしきりに口にします。「親は自分のことしか考えていない」「親は俺のことを理解してくれなかった」などの表現の背後には,親に甘えられなかった恨みがあります。こうした怒りが蓄積すると親への殺意になります。 親への殺意は引き蘢りの心を蝕み、親を殺すかもしれないと密かに恐れたり,そんな自分に罪悪感を持ったり,あるいはさらに感情をマヒさせます。 引き蘢りが感情を取り戻したとたんに親への殺意に苦しむのはよくあるパターンです。親への殺意は引きこもり治療の重要なポイントです 。」

Hattori Yuichi is a psychologist. In His book, “Hikikomori and Family Trauma”, under the section of ‘Hikikomori Therapy’, there is a subtitle: The hatred 怒りagainst their parents and intention of killing 殺意 them.

By the statements that stated by his clients, like “ My parents only care about themselves,” “My parents had never try to understand me.”… he believes that Hikikomorians have strong resentment and hatred against their parents for being neglected.

Yuichi believed that the accumulative anger in them shaped an intention to kill. Because of the strong intention of kill their parents consumed their hearts, it resulted in feelings of fear and guilt. This also further paralyzes the emotion of Hikikomorians.

Yuichi believed that It’s often seen that once a Hikikomorian regains his emotions, he will suffer from the desire to kill his parents. Therefore he believed (dealing with their )desire to kill parents plays an important role in treating Hikikomori.


With this believe, Yuichi actually would go further in probing his clients such as,
“Had you ever thought about of killing your parents?”
“The way you spoke suggested a feeling of hatred.”
“By what means that you thought of killing them?”
“Can you elaborate more?”
“In other words, you had not only thought about killing them, but you had also thought about the ways of killing them.”


For whatever reasons of that, personally I think this was a dangerous approach. A suggesting approach could lead the person to respond and fantasy in a certain way. Perhaps Yuichi justified this with his experience, and perhaps this therapy approach was as if peeling the emotions layer by layer, as in opening the secret hidden boxes one by one.

It was clear that in the book of Michael Zillenger, he had quoted these emotions of hatred and intention of killing their parents quite strongly among those who he had interviewed. But could these be a suggested effect by questions being asked? Or these are really the underline problem of the phenomena. Family dynamic does exist, but to what extend? Hatred against parents could be understood, but to explore the intention of killing with the questions shaped as above could be misleading. Thus, the finding could shift to one end.

Well, in terms of individual choice of therapeutic methods, I agree that Yuichi has his freedom and ethic rights to explore the problem as long as it is based on individual tailor judgment. However, a research without proper designed questions will lead to invalidity of the findings. When an experience of individual is being extrapolated to the population, it can easily be an error of ecology fallacy. As a researcher, or a public worker, we need to be extra careful in this area.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Need of Careful Assessment of Hikikomori rather than loose "expert's" opinion

The loose definition of "Hikikomori", and simplistic in putting on the caps of "causation factors" , "behavior patterns", "emotion inclination" to them is irresponsible.

A clear definition of "Hikikomori" needs to be define. A careful research needs to be carry out to test the theories and hypothesis that one made. The celebration of the event, and authors or caregivers because of the "unusual", "unique" phenomena, and tends to pin down one nation, one culture, probably slapping the nation on both side of her cheeks, is not sustainable in the long run, and the mentioned cause and factors remained no weight in public health intervention or policy implementation.

Social withdrawal, NEETs, depression, schizoprenia are all differet thing. In terms of sociology, or mental health or public health, these terms and needs of intervention need to be spell out clearly.

I celebrate the fact that people are taking concern on this event, and these people comes from different angle. Psychiatrist, economist, journalist, clinical psychologist, social workers, volunteers from different religion background, each tried to gage the problem in their own perspective. And of course works were motivated by different interest.

I believe that as a public health worker, we need to seriously and carefully look into these claims, and the magnitude of effect that had occured through media publications, voices and academic reports in the recent ten years. If the majority of these people who entrapped in social withdrawal are youths, it could become a major problem in the future 20-30 years. The burden on healthcare increase, the GDP could be affected, the single unmarry rate could increase, and so on.

It is important at this stage, that we need to ask these questions:
"What is happening here?"
"Who are being affected?"
"When did this start happening?"
"Where are the places having the problem? Does the phenomena has an origin? Or its a natural phenomena all across?"
"Why is it important?"
"How people are coping with this?"

These are basically my questions. However, with the loose cry, and aggresive claims over the issue with strong prejudice and individual perceptions make the case far more interesting and challenging.

In order to answer these questions, perhaps we need people who are likely minded to start accessing the questions from different angle. Only thourough examination of the phenomena with careful assessments on bits and pieces will carry weight and thus expand its influential effect. Generalisability of a theory is important to understand the phenomena and generate effective intervention or prevention scheme.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Confusion of Hikikomori and NEETs

Hikikomori or NEET are often being confused altogether in terms of their nature or interpretation.

Ishikawa Ryoko tried to help us to gain a clearer picture in this confusion. She interviewed people who regard themselves as "hikikomori," and point out the negative effects, especially for such individuals, caused by the confusion of the concepts of "hikikomori" with "NEETs."

"Hikikomori," which refers to youth in a state of social withdrawal, has been noted since the latter half of the 1990s in Japan. In recent years, the concept of "NEETs" has also come to attract attention. "NEETs" refers to young people who are "not in education, employment, or training."

The concept of "hikikomori" has been partly incorporated into discussions about "NEETs," and it is commonly said that the two can be discussed in the same context.

It seems to be some organizations dealing with "hikikomori" have started to support "NEETs."

According to the author, this confusion has a direct effect on individuals who consider themselves to be "hikikomori." Therefore, it is necessary to distinguish the two concepts.

In her interviews, what was revealed was that,

people who consider themselves to be "hikikomori" see themselves as inferior and withdraw from relationships with others because though they have difficulty working, they worry excessively that "working is the natural state for an adult." Their self-esteem cannot be restored immediately even if they participate in a self-help group. Informants re-construct stories about themselves and their lives and come to see the norm of life-courses in relative terms, and regain self-esteem from this. However, this can lead to a decline in their motivation to start working. Moreover, informants cannot overcome their distrust and fear of society. Therefore, sufferers of "hikikomori" seek a new way of life as they again ask themselves various questions, such as, "why must we work?" "What do I want to do?" "Who am I?" and so on. As they think through these questions, they resolve to make a fresh start. This process of struggle is in essence the process of recovery from "hikikomori."


Ryoko felt that the current measures for "NEETs," and "hikikomori" are very different. Confusing two concepts will :
1)deprive people suffering from "hikikomori" of the opportunity for recovery
2)lead them to abandon their own efforts voluntarily.


Re: Confusion of the Concepts of "Hikikomori" and "NEETs : Seen from the Perspective of People Who Regard Themselves as "Hikikomori". Ishikawa Ryoko. Tokyo Metropolis University.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Interview with Kobayashi

Kobayashi thinks that Hikikomori people are stupid. They themselves and their parents are the one to be blamed. First, they refuse to face the reality. Second, the parents allowed them to be Hikikomori. The parents had failed to install right values into their childhood which had subsequently caused the withdrawn action of their children as their grew up.

She doesn't think that Hikikomori is common in Japan, at least she doesn't know any. Although Hikikomori is going to continue to be a problem, but then it would not be a threat to the society, for the society has enough normal people to contribute to it, and thus maintain its functionality.

In the same time, Kobayashi would believe that this phenomenon had always been there. It was the attention of the media that brought them to light.

Hikikomori people and their parents probably had grown up in an easy time, particularly post war, that they had no sense of appreciation of things, because things came too easy to them.

The school system could be strengthen, meanwhile Kobayashi sees people blaming each other when there is a problem.

Perceptions had changed, social values changed, the "western" individualistic values had came in, and Japanese people had took it in a surface value, "selective adaptation", which they incorporate only the idea of being individual, but rejected responsibility of being independent that comes along with individualism. The parents had allowed the children to stay with them in the same house until they are 30's to 40's.

The freedom of individualistic choices had caused the social perception to change, and being a hikikomori is not so much of a taboo these days, just the same way as being gay. People stood up to talk about their choices, and speak about their their conditions. And there why it had came into light. Kobayashi believed that the problem of Hikikomori had always been there, it is just people who chose to hide themselves. But as the influence/affluence of media, it became an issue as it is today.

Interestingly, when the Hikikomori people and the psychiatrist or clinical psychologist had blamed the issue at the cause of "community", Kobayashi thinks that it is because of the lost sense of traditional value of community, that had been overtaken by then sense of individualistic ideas but discounting the responsibility is the main cause of the problem.

In respond to the articles in Lancet Vol359, Watts pg.1131: Kobayashi agreed that Hikikomori is a product of "the affluence technology, and convenience of modern Japanese life". However, as when the blame shifted to "the pressure to conform in Japan", she thinks that was just not true, and people who had said that must be out of fashion. She thinks that the pressure to conform in Japan is not as much as 20 years back. Today, because of the adaptation of individualistic ideology, Japan had became more tolerate, and people are free to choose. For example, the Japanese used to work in a company after their graduation from a life-time. Therefor the pressure to conform to the value of the corporation was higher, and as well as could be seen. But in the modern days, people do not work for the same company for a life time anymore, they change job to seek better opportunities. So, there is less pressure to conform. She argued that the idea of Kudo had, "Here you have to be like other people and if you aren't then you feel a sense of loss, of shame, so you withdraw." she doesn't see this in the young ones, and she doesn't believe that that is exactly what is in their mind. It could be, but it only plays a minor aspect of it.

In respond to the claim that the young people currently in their twenties has extra burdens on them because of the demographic shift in Japan, so probably Hikikomori is a reflection of the insecurities of a society. Kobayashi does not agree that is what in the mind of the teens playing Hikikomori. She does not see and think that the young people had think thus far ahead, she believes that these young ones are caught up in the social level, or personal level as they were growing up.

Speaking about the idea of "love" (relationship of parents and children) is the essence of allowing Hikikomori to continue, Kobayashi strongly against it, and thinks that is "delusion of love" instead.

Coming from a city which treasured the traditional values more than other big cities, the social bonds and neighborhood support reflects the meaning of a society.
That is unique of Japanese, and good or bad depends on the direction of who is leading it. War was a good example of the negative aspect of a strong social-bond and neighborhood support when the direction was misled by people, and post-war rehabilitation of Japan was a good example of positive aspect of it, when all Japanese work hard together to rebuild the country. This can be seen in the fast economic recovery in Japan after war while compare with China.


Kobayashi also sees the lost of respect to their fathers in this new generation. While compare to 20 years before, fathers were being respected, and looked up to.

Judge on her experience in living in Japan, States and Hong Kong, she believes that Hikikomori happens everywhere, it is universal. It is certainly not a typical Japanese borne disease, but of all modern societies. She predicted that as China comes into her complacency in next 20 years, they will be certainly a problem of Hikikomori in the country.


Questions in discussion:

1. Freedom to exercise choice: We might thought that people has free will. But in fact, people might not have an equal chance to exercise choice.
Kobayashi thinks that Hong Kong is not a place where people can exercise their choice freely. Things are being preplanned and arranged, set by the authorities. In contrast, the government Japan are genuinely for their people, and people could make their choice.

2. An implication of negligence of father at home where education of the children is traditional done by the mother. Kobayashi argued that it had always been the same, but at olden days, the children respected their father, and now no more.

3. In view of Social support system for Hikikomori.Kobayashi thinks that having a support system will help the parents in discussing their worries and problems with the other. It also helps the Hikikomori sufferers to speak up and share their problems.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

WITHDRAWING FROM THE WORLD

The pressures to perform in school and on the job in Japan are legendary, as are the pressures that parents put on their children to keep up appearances. Saito notes another syndrome among young people called "hikikomori" - a withdrawal from society for months or, in some cases, years at a time. Often hikikomori sufferers confine themselves to a bedroom in their parents' home, where many Japanese tend to live until they are married. By some estimates, about 1.2 million young people or about 1 percent of the total have slipped into this state of self-imposed isolation, cutting off contact with the outside, and barely communicating with those around them. As one recovered hikikomori sufferer described the condition in an interview with a Japanese paper, she became much like a "family pet" in the household who did little more than eat and sleep.

In Japan, even for the home-bound, the Internet is one way to communicate. With about 40 percent of the population online, it is one of the world's most wired nations. In addition, there are 1.5 mobile phones for every person in Japan, so trains, shopping malls and schools are beeping with calls, or humming with quiet "instant messaging."

While there is companionship to be found electronically, the online world has its perils.

The inability to express themselves or rebel has fueled the euphoria that Japanese young people feel when they log on and talk to strangers, says Mitsuyo Ohira, a lawyer who wrote the best-selling book "And So Can You" about survival of her own suicide attempts as a teen.

"In the virtual realm of the Internet ... many such youngsters feel they can open up to strangers because everyone is "faceless," so to speak," she said, speaking with the daily Asahi Shimbun about the recent suicides. "They reveal their honest thoughts and their Net buddies reciprocate. This convinces them they have finally met their true soulmates for the first time in their lives. But unfortunately, this is an illusion."

Re: http://www.suicidereferencelibrary.com/test4~id~590.php (2004)

Friday, February 9, 2007

Many wanted to live a meaningful life. They don't see how they can fit in the society. They don't know how to live a meaningful life. So, they shut themselves in, hoping to think and come out with a solution, to live a meaningful life. Unfortunately, most ended up living in their room, and they themselves didn't like it too.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Okuyama believed that only pressure from the outside will force Japan to seriously confront its own societal dysfunction.

The more outsiders can expose and explain Japna's social ills, the more likely Japan's government will be shamed into becoming more responsive and seek help from outside experts.

Japanese are often fixated on what others, especially Westerners, think of them; and just as "keeping up appearances" is a strong constraint in domestic society, they are sometimes ready to bring their nation in line with certain global norms if sufficient pressure is applied.

Re: Shutting out the Sun, Michael Zielenziger. Chapter 3, A Long Tunnel, 2nd scene.

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