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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Breakthrough 2




PP cannot come to Malaysia because he had an accident. When he gets well, we will probably meet in Tokyo during April. PP really needs to get away, and probably seeing Sakura is a good therapy for him.

S is still working on her schedule. She continues to go to different support station, hoping to get rid of hikikomori, although each time she comes back with disappointment and more questions.

Haven't seen Z online these days, yet plans to visit her in Feb and bring her back to Malaysia together with me is set.

There are new breakthroughs again, as we started our own hikikomori group online. Somehow it gave me some ideas how we can walk with them when I reach Tokyo. I need support on this matter. If the church or some Christian businessmen can come together and set up something for them in Tokyo, probably that would be wonderful. A concept of social entrepreneur .......

Let's pray with me, if you are following this blog! Let me know if you can help!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Breakthrough

PP is coming to meet me in Malaysia for Christmas, and S-chan is coming over in January. These are good moves! Even for non-hikikomori, taking a trip alone to a foreign country takes great courage! Let's pray that the Lord will uphold them in their trip, and may their visits in Malaysia will open their eyes for an entire new world. Let's ask the Lord of Harvest for a BREAKTHROUGH!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Meeting with people of hikikomori

I am writing this article as a Christian at the same time a researcher of the topic of hikikomori.



At a small town, I had this opportunity to stay with a hikikomori family where two sisters are hikikomori. The family had been mentally isolated for more than fifteen years. Both sisters actively seek counseling from specialists, hospitals, books, yet except being labeled as hikikomori, and being hospitalized for further treatment. Although both sisters have not physically isolated themselves at present, but they are strongly convinced that they are hikikomori, as they were labeled as hikikomori when they went for treatment. Hikikomori became an excuse of self-limiting in their situation.


There are two things that I observed in the field about Hikikomori:

(1) when ijime(school bullying) is listed as a factor, there is a need for further clarification. At many times, it could be cultural clash between rural and urban; or plain misunderstanding; or verbal assaults. “People laughed at my appearance. They think I am funny.” “I was slow in action, and they were all very fast, and I was scolded because I was slow.” "Maybe someone had said something about her face, she didn't like it." Some may had taken this as a form of ijime, but it is also about common interaction between people and acceptance of others in different perspectives and cultural settings.


(2) the fear of Potential Hikikomori: I found the fear of "potential hikikomori" could probably be a confusion between the concept of “inner child” in Christian healing and deliverance with “hikikomori”. We need to understand that hikikomori is a condition rather than a disease. People who are NEET (Not in Education,Employment nor Training) are not Hikikomori, because these people may not be isolating themselves. People who are unable to mix well with others, or people who find it hard to trust others do not make them a Hikikomori. Only when one totally isolate oneself physically with the duration of 6 months an above the person is considered as a Hikikomori. There is only Hikikomori or Not Hikikomori. The concept of "potential Hikikomori" is a rather vague concept, that most often lead to misunderstanding.


We need to understand that social problem is all over the world. Since the fall of mankind, we felt isolated from God. This is exactly why we need God and to come back to Him through Jesus Christ! Yet in the field, I have observed Christians who believed themselves as “potential hikikomori" and due to their "potential Hikikomori" they believe they cannot come before God. It is important to understand it is SIN that blinded our eyes to the presence of a loving God who can LOVE us despite our WEAKNESSES. The concept of inner child in healing and deliverance is actually to help us to understand our human weakness and vulnerability so that we can pursue God! The concept of inner child is not to tell us that we are "potential Hikikomori" nor for self-pity, and it is definitely not to justify our weak relationship with God!


Sin is the root of bitterness. Unforgiveness and failing to see people and things through God’s perspective is the sin that had caused us to be bitter in our lives! The root of bitterness is not mental illness, and definitely not “hikikomori”. In the life of believers, pursuing God, dying to ourselves daily is our main duty! If we can’t have fellowship with other people, it is not because we are

“hikikomori”, but simply because there are issues with trust and coping with people and situation.


Those are things that the church need to walk together with that person to deal with it. The power of suffering Christ can exchange the deepest wound of man, to warm the most isolated heart and dead spirit. The most powerful tools of the church are: interceding, fellowshipping with genuine love and caregiving. Trusting the Lord will bring forth healing and transformation of those who are poor in spirit! Mat 5: 3

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thesis Available for View

Exploring Hikikomori: A Mixed-Methods Qualitative Research http://hub.hku.hk/handle/123456789/55192

You are welcome to make reference to this material, and please feel free to discuss with me with any issue that you have doubt.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Definition of Health

In the view of health of the World Health Organization:

Health is the extent to which an individual or group is able: to satisfy needs, to realize aspirations, to change or cope with their environment. 

Research had shown that hikikomori have difficulties in coping and poor existentialism. In another word, they were not able to satisfy needs, to realize aspirations nor to change or cope with their environment. We should probably be more conscious about the emotional and social dimensions of health. Hikikomori is definitely a health problem that should not be ignored.


References: 1.) Pencheon D. et.al., Oxford Handbook of Public Health Practice. Oxford University Press 2005. Chapter 1.4,  Peter Gentle. Assessing Health Status; 2.) Yong K.F. Exploring Hikikomori-A Mixed-methos Qualitative Research. Hong Kong University, 2008

Monday, June 22, 2009

NEEDING FEEDBACK!!!

If you see the case of Hikikomori in your country/local area that you stay, can you please write to me? yangjinhong@gmail.com

What do you think about the phenomenon of "Hikikomori"?
Are you one of them?
Are you afraid that your friends or your family members are possibly stuck in this situation?

Hikikomori: A person who shut him/herself in for more than six months, without engaging in any social activities (including work, studies, training, social event), without any inter-personal relationship other than family members.

I am hoping to measure the aspects of social structural change/cultural issues/family dynamics which happen with this phenomenon. So, if you have any opinions in this area, let's talk!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Story of Tetsu

On the way of meeting hikikomori in Japan, there are difficult cases as well as healed cases. I'll continue to share whenever it is possible as the privacy of the clients is preserved and the ethics is not broken. 

What I am going to share with you here is a success story in a church. 
video
Tetsu had an terrible accident and out of the consequences, he was drop out from the school. He tried hard. He wanted to go into the university, he loves the children, he wants to become a teacher. Feeling bitter and angry about his situation, he had no way to go but hid himself in the room. His English teacher started to invite him to church after he found out Tetsu's situation.  He went back and forth into hikikomori during that year, the same with his faith. He was attracted to the church because it was fun, and the church gave him a sense of family. He started to attend church and the church's activities. But very soon, he fell back into hikikomori situation. The many doubts and uncertainties of his future continue to haunt him. The activities in the church and the accompany of people does not satisfy him anymore. 

The church with their unfailing love tried again. Tetsu, once again being fed by the Word, had more questions. Confining in his room, he thought and thought about it, and out of a sudden, all things started to fall in place and made sense. He shared, "I was setting my eyes on man, and now I am setting my eyes on God." 

He has not give up his dream of becoming a teacher. But through the struggle, he finally got to a point that 'going into the university is not the only way to become a teacher'. Because of his love for the children, he wants to pursue his dream! He will take God's strength and try to live as best as he can! This sudden realization brought him out from the room.

Tetsu is still finding problem communicating with people outside the church, but then he is trying now. He said, "I'm not sure if I will become a hikikomori once again in the future, but I will walk on this road (the way of Christ) and try to live my best out of it." Now, Tetsu has 4 objectives that he wants to reach. 1. Love God more ~ read the bible and understand the Word more and more; 2. Love people around him; 3. Find a permanent job by next year; 4. Take driving class and get a license so that he can help to drive the church van.


Tetsu gave me permission to tell his story. He loves GOD, and he is grateful about Jesus that brought him out from his despair. The meeting with Tetsu encouraged me, and somehow warmed my heart. It is not only about the story that he tells, but the comfortable smile that hung on his face, the qualities that I see in him: 優しい soft yet persistence, seems weak but growing strongly. Aside of labor of love, a lot of prayers were been sown, I believed. 

Please pray with me if you believe. Let's walk with him, and encourage him with our prayers and support!!!



Monday, April 6, 2009

The Triangle Relation 三角関係



Coping = 『......』をうまく対処する
Trust = 信頼
Existence = 存在感

From this research (Yong 2008), with 168 cases being observed or interviewed, "Coping", "Trust" and "Existence" appeared strongly as the basic elements of what the hikikomories think. 

During the process of categorising and conceptualizing the obtained data, coping difficulties seemed to dominate the feelings and claims behind what was being coded and being grouped into categories. The repeated message seemed to be, "I can't cope!"

Some see "me" as the main cause of blame, e.g. "I am a defective product", it is "my" weak personality that had made "me" unable to keep up with the competitive market demands. Some see that it is all about "others" that had forced him/her into hikiomori, for instance "The world is too harsh", "I am overloaded". However in some cases, both "me"  and "not-me" probably had the same weight.

The issue of "trust" was developed from both elements of "fear" and "disappointment". Being able or unable of trust, could be driven from fear and disappointment from past experience. 

The "concept of time", feelings of "dissatisfaction" of hikikomori situation, and "death thoughts" questioned the "existence" of hikikomori. 


『うまく対処できない』ー 自分の問題とか,自分以外の問題とか,悩んでる事です。

『信頼できない』ー 何か怖いとか,何かがっかりしているとか、そして信頼できない。

『存在感弱い』ー 今の状態に不満を抱いているとか、時間をあんまり感じてないとか、死にたいとか、自分の存在の意味に疑問がある事です。


引きこもりの原因と理由は別々にあります。でも,ただ一つの理由のために引きこもりにならないと思う。『うまく対処できない』と『信頼できない』と『存在感弱い』は三角関係が有るとかないとかまだわからないけど、ただ168人の引きこもりの状態にいるの人に感じられた事です。そして,その三面からちゃんと考えて,よく祈れば,引きこもりの気持ちを理解できるかもしれない。



Friday, April 3, 2009

THE STAY......

It was really amazing that I was able to stay with Sakichan, and to my surprise, both sisters are caught in the situation of hikikomori. I hope I can write more, but then for ethical reasons, and to protect the cases, I would have to be patience and to filter before I upload this experience of the stay onto the blog. It will take some times, perhaps a month, or 3 months or half year later to upload a full version to the blog.

From now on, this blog will be a journey of searhing hikikomori, or working with hikikomori.

Sakichan had been caught into this situation, wandering in and out of NEET, hikikomori, Freeter for about 20 years now. She likes to get out from this situation, and began to do a lot of research by herself. She is active in the internet, active in the DayCare Center, but she has fear when it comes to real connection. I am the first one from the "hikikomori circle" that she agrees and like to see. We don't know the reasons for her to see me, or why she could take me as a friend, or how the trust could be built.

When Sakichan brought me home, she didn't expect her sister will also became my friend later. However, we started to build our friendship very soon on the first day when I reached her home. There were some comments from them, which I think could be a hints of why the family had opened their hearts to me: i. honesty; ii. righteousness; iii. professional. I think the above three comments were developed on the basis of my strong emphasis on "Let's YES be YES, and NO be NO". I didn't hide anything from them.

Another thing that I had not expect was the chance to explain the findings and the results of the study to the family, and invited them to comment and challenge the conclusions. I didn't even expect that I will show the Hiki T-Shirt that I made to them. And their first responds was laughing like crazy! Hahaha!!! What a fun! I don't know how long have it been that the family had not laughed like this. But then, it was seems to be really enjoying 楽しかった(tanoshikatta).

Sakichan said, "If it is written, 「HIKIKOMORI WE ARE」, it will defintely sells well in YAHOO SALES net!"

But then, the words, 「WE CARE」, I guess, somehow was very powerful. She was in a deep thought after the laugh. I explained to her that this is the T-shirt that I purposely made it for the conference in Walnut Creek, California on last February, so that the people that come for the Hikikomori workshop will remember the connections of the emotions/situations that we found in the research of hikikomori by end of 2008. Although it cost a lot to print the T-shirt, but I think it is worth to invest on this, and people can begin to share it with others and perhaps help to lift up the burdens of people who are struggling with hikikomori.

She felt the love though it is hard for her to believe that why people are praying for them, why people in the far away land are concern about them, but then, she seems to felt the love, 重い感じ, it was heavy.

And perhaps of this "heaviness", the drop of love was able to drip into the little room in her heart......

We do not know...... but let's wait and see what Sakichan is going to do next.

While we wait, let's PRAY!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A new participant observation Mar 27-31

The day has come that finally I am going to start a "real" participant observation with a hikikomori person. Then this question was posted, "by living with a hikikomori - doesn't it mean by definition that that person is no longer a hikikomori because he/she is mixing with you?"

Hmm... we will have to think carefully how to conduct this observational study and how we should deal with all these questions as well...... ^^ But then having being able to be friended with this subject through the virtual participant observation after two years, I am overwhelmed of this invitation to visit her. She could probably no longer classified as "hikikomori" after this visit, but then it is rewarding and it is pretty exciting to see how the Lord will lead us from there.

I'll let you know what happen next!!! and what kind of support that I will need in order to continue this study, or in this out reach to the hikikomori! 

The planned period of stay would be from Mar 27 to Mar 31. Please keep me in your prayers!!!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

One Million Hikikomori in Japan?

Hikikomori is a culture-bound syndrome found almost exclusively in Japan, most commonly among male teenagers and young adults, especially eldest sons, although a quarter of cases are female. It is characterized by extreme social withdrawal and near-total social withdrawal”(Oxford Reference Online Premium)


Although the phenomenon had received a large amount of attention from media and scholars, opinions varied when it comes to etiology , defining cases and treatment clauses.  There are still much to be explore in the study of hikikomori. While with the limited data we have in hand, there is a need to be cautious with how to deal with it. 


Currently there are different estimations of the prevalence of hikikomori in Japan, from 50,000 - 168,000,000 over more than seven written reports/opinions from 1999 - 2007.  One must not forget that these numbers were estimations mostly subjected to ecology fallacy. The reason to this is due to (i) the inconsistent definitions given to hikikomori; (ii) the expert’s opinions/clinical experience but not community study.


With these biases, we need to be aware of (a) the reported figures and (b) the suggested causes and (c) interventions that currently practice. Always check the source of information, keep praying as you skim through the evidence, allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in this search. 


Based on the nature of the phenomenon, there have been great limitations on what the research can do, yet it does not discount the need to discover what is really going on in the field. The fear and anxiety embedded in the public about hikikomori, and the seemingly epidemic trend, is a challenge to us to explore the phenomenon further. Perhaps these questions can help us to understand the hikikomori better: What is it like to live with hikikomori? Is it a cultural-bound disease? Is it another form of depression? Is it a new sort of behavior prompted by the pressure of work?


Our study conducted from 2006-2008 had observed 168 subjects of hikikomori, using a grounded theory approach with mixed-methods qualitative study had answered a few questions as below: (i)Hikikomori should not be taken lightly nor be considered comparable to depression, agoraphobia or other mental illness; (ii) Hikikomori should not be taken as simple as social withdrawal as the term, hikikomori has a much deeper meaning embedded to it; (iii)most Hikikomori are deeply unhappy about life and have a low quality of life and poor self-esteem, suggesting early intervention is most like to be beneficial; (iv) Hikikomori is not a cultural-bound social illness limited only to Japanese, but a growing cross-cultural phenomenon. 



There are several limitations to the study, yet to date it is one of the very first few qualitative studies aiming to explore the very basic elements of hikikomori including their own perspectives. 


The challenges before us is to examine: (i) if hikikomori is distinct from other mental illness? if yes, how much difference; (ii) future intervention - timing and methods; (iii) the appropriateness of current interventions; (iv)   the health and emotional status of the hikikomori; (v)influence of social-structural change on hikikomori; and (vi) how and why internet features are used among hikikomori.


There is still a long way to go before we can have a clear and distinct picture of what Hikikomori is about, and how do we as Christian workers could come into the picture for help. What we could and should do is to be equipped, always be prepared to reach out to these people through prayers and genuine love and concern. And as we do, simply let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’, ‘no’ be ‘no’, for the Lord humble us before Him. Allow Him to lead us into humbleness, so that the people that we reach out to will be healed by the love and understanding of Christ. 


Re: 1.Dziesinski, M. 2005; 2.Isobe, U.C. 2004, 3.Itou, J. 2003; 4.Jones, M. 2006; 5.Okuma, H. 2005, 6. 川上2006; 7.Yong,2008; 8. Mat5:37

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Estimations is easily fallacy

Estimation of Hikikomori Numbers

1,000,000 (1999, Tamaki Saito)
800,000 - 1,400,000 (2001, Ogi Naoki)
1,000,000 (2001, Kiyoshi Kaneyoshi)
150,000 - 360,000 (2003, WMHJ 川上)
50,000 - 1,000,000 (2005, Dziesinski)
100,000 - 320,000 (2006, Jones)
60% of the population (2007, Hattori Yuichi)

These numbers were estimations mostly subject to ecology fallacy. Many had reported this based on an instinct out of clinical experience rather than true facts. The reason to this is due to (I) the inconsistent definitions given to hikikomori; (II) the experts' opinions/clinical experience but not community study. 

With these biases, we need to be aware of (a) the figures and (b) the suggested causes and (c) interventions that currently practice. May the Lord lead us to His humble practice, shalom!

Questions......


Is Hikikomori a self-imposed isolation? Is it a fact of losing out in the tides of the constant changing social structure? Is it a voluntary behavior or involuntary behavior? What are the current interventions? Is what we believe of the facts today is true? Is family a part of the intervention?

Friday, February 13, 2009

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