An opinion piece in Japan’s Mainichi News titled “‘Hikikomori’ bedroom hermits should be regarded as national crisis” summarizes the hikikomori phenomenon in Japan today, the extent of the issue, and the fact that all remedies so far have fallen short.
There are approximately 230,000 people who almost constantly shut themselves in their rooms except to go to nearby convenience stores, according to a survey conducted by the Cabinet Office. The number increases to about 700,000 if those who only go out to do something hobby-related are included.
Moreover, there are an estimated 1.55 million potential so-called ‘hikikomori’ who have felt like shutting themselves in their own rooms. Most of them are young people.
As the population of young people declines due to falling birthrates, the statistics have raised questions about the future of Japan.
Hikikomori are defined as those who shut themselves in their homes for at least six months but are not involved in child care or housework even though they are not sick.
The article acknowledges that even after 15 years of observing this phenomenon in Japan there is no consensus on the cause.
Two “radio” talks about solitude from the “Ethics Talk – Philosophy, Flourishing, and the Good Life” program of the Philosophy Department of Central Michigan University are available. The two programs are: “Solitude, its Virtues and Vices” and “Solitude; an In-depth Exploration.” The talks can be downloaded for listening at one’s convenience.
URL: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ethics-talk/2010/06/29/solitude-its-virtues-and-vices; and http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ethics-talk/2010/07/06/solitude-an-in-depth-exploration
An article in the Westmeath Examiner (Ireland) announces that Sister Veronica Moore of the Sisters of Mercy, until recently a nurse in Zambia, received canonical status as a hermit. She is the fourth canonical hermit in the diocese in the recent year.
A Mail (UK) article on Karen Markham, a Shropshire hermit. She holds a doctoral degree in music composition and has taught music at the university level. Before her decision to live as a hermit, Karen learned tai chi from a Buddhist teacher, spent time in the U.S. with communities of Native Americans in New Mexico and Muslim Sufis in Philadelphia, returning to England under the sponsorship of a Christian Orthodox monastery. Karen resides in a cottage on now highly-valued property, and was the recent subject of media articles on her possibly losing her present home. Includes several photos.