In the early 1990’s an extreme form of isolation emerged, where young Japanese people seclude themselves in their homes for months or even years at a time. Attempts to establish the prevalence of the phenomenon suggested over 1 million Japanese people could have hikikomori, but some researchers believe the actual number may be higher.
A growing psychiatric phenomenon in Japan known as hikikomori could be especially troublesome in the aftermath of the country’s massive earthquake and tsunami.
In rare but highly publicized cases, some of these people have committed suicide and even murder. In my experience, people with hikikomori mostly only seek medical help when they have no other choice, such as when their house is sold, their parents pass away or they run out of money.