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