Japan: The Missing Million, Phil Rees, BBC
Up to a million Japanese teens and twenty-somethings are refusing
to come out of their rooms, reports Phil Rees in the
BBC. Doctors are blaming the epidemic on a social
disorder known as hikikomori(Japanese for withdraw from society),
caused by severe academic pressures and an inability to talk to
their families. Some observers are blaming traditional Japanese
poetry and music that celebrates the nobility of solitude, or the
fact that it's not unusual for young men to remain under their
parents care until they're in their 30s and 40s in some cases.
Hikikomori is more likely to strike eldest sons, according to some
studies, and the disorder does not exist outside of Japan.