Several media items from Japan cover a proposed survey of hikikomori by the Japanese government’s Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry. From Japan Times:
The government has allocated ¥20 million from the fiscal 2018 budget to finance research for Japan’s first nationwide survey on middle-aged hikikomori — people who have shut themselves in their homes.
The survey, to take place in fiscal 2018 starting April 1, will be held amid growing calls for public assistance to help aged parents take care of their jobless, financially dependent and socially withdrawn children.
The survey will cover 5,000 randomly selected households with members aged between 40 and 59, to identify the total number of middle-aged social recluses in Japan.
URL: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/01/07/national/japans-first-nationwide-survey-middle-aged-hikikomori-pipeline/#.WlvGO0tG3eQ (Japan Times); http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0004166783 (Japan News); https://www.nippon.com/en/genre/society/l10718/ (Nippon.com)
Nippon.com offers an informed view of Japanese recluses by a psychiatrist working directly with hikikomori, offering definitions, descriptions, and communication and work issues.
According to the Japan Times, The Labor Ministry is extending job help to hikikomori, specifically older adults:
The government has decided to expand the scope of its job support program for socially withdrawn people, which is limited to those 39 or younger, to include people in their early 40s.
Many people aged 40 to 44 have been living as hikikomori (recluses) who shut themselves in at home, or NEETs, an acronym for “not in education, employment or training,” because of the hardships they suffered during Japan’s “employment ice age,” the officials said.
Review article in Nippon.com on the status of Japanese hikikomori.
A Quartz article titled “Japan’s extreme recluses are coming together to create a newspaper for social outcasts” describes the creation of Hikikomori News in Tokyo by a disparate group of hikikomori. Includes links and photos.
Japan Daily reports on the serious social needs of aging kikikomori, Japan’s middle-aged recluses. Among factors are the deeper disparity between themselves and social interaction, the increased severity of their withdrawal, and dependence on aging parents. A report on the issue by a Japanese ministry complements an earlier report on the age group 18-35.
Japan Times and other news sources discuss a recent survey of hikikomori in Japan. The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry places the number of social recluses at over half a million, a slight decrease since a comparable. The Ministry defines hikikomori as “people who have stayed at home for at least six months without going to school or work, or going out to interact with others.” The age group describes 15 to 39, where, however, the number of those aged 35 to 39 actually increased, with the period of time in social reclusion now increasing.
URLs: ttp://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/07/national/japan-home-541000-young-recluses-survey-finds/; http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609090047.html; http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/11/asia/japanese-millennials-hikikomori-social-recluse/
A Financial Times article announcing a London exhibition of the Japanese photographs:
Focusing on the inauspicious presence of ravens in the coastal landscapes of the photographer’s native Hokkaido, Masahisa Fukase’s dark and haunting series Solitude of Ravens (1986) is a chronicle of emptiness and obsession.
BBC offers an outstanding set of images.
The photographs were first mentioned in Hermitary in the context of the image of ravens in art, in June 2010: http://www.hermitary.com/thatch/?p=964
URL (Financial Times): http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/60991acc-d49f-11e5-829b-8564e7528e54.html#slide0; BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-35541661