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growing calls for public assistance to help aged parents take care of their jobless, financially dependent and socially withdrawn children.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)
A couple of introversion life-style pieces for a popular audience: “Living as an Introvert in an Extrovert World” in The Week addresses the social angle, while “Introverts, Hermits, And The Shy: Here’s Your Map To Success” in Forbes interviews a writer focused on jobs and careers.
Introverts will recognize the socializing issues immediately. The jogs and careers issues are more of a challenge. Since the 2012 appearance of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, a number of essays and articles have tried to “rehabilitate” introverts, to reassure them that they, too, can embrace the world of competition and claw their way to upward nobility. Usually this tact is addressed when discussing mental health like stress and burn-out and coping methods that poorly imitate meditation, and can be offensive. But more sensitive articles emphasize the existence of jobs that introverts actually like, occupations not quite as solitary as historically solitary jobs of lighthouse keepers or charcoal burners, of course. And that is the key. Introverts in occupations that highlight their mental or tactile skills versus their personality tip the perception of others favorably. But in the world of higher competition usually favored by magaines like Forbes, no safe advice is guaranteed.
URL: http://theweek.com/articles/747284/living-introvert-extroverts-world (The Week); https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2018/01/03/introverts-hermits-and-the-shy-heres-your-map-to-success/#1ed6bc3ec6a2 (Forbes)
Edward A. Burger is the director of Amongst White Clouds, the 2005 documentary film on the Chinese hermits of the Zhongnan Mountains. In October 2011, Burger was interviewed by Kyoto Journal on questions about the hermits: their inspiration, practice, and daily life, and how it affected Burger.
Essay contribution to the Catholic magazine America describes a visit to Christ of the Desert, a Benedictine monastery in New Mexico, in search of self and solitude, titled “Monks aren’t the ones living in silence and solitude. We are.”
Nippon.com offers an informed view of Japanese recluses by a psychiatrist working directly with hikikomori, offering definitions, descriptions, and communication and work issues.
The life and story of a 18th-century New Hampshire (US) hermit is recreated in a new book by Amani Willetts titled The Disappearance of Joseph Plummer. The book uses narrative, photography, and archival material to recreate the mystery.
“Before he left society for a life in the woods he [Plummer] was basically anonymous,” Willett said. “It was his act of leaving that turned him into a myth. Paradoxically, his desire to become invisible has only fueled people’s interest in his life.”
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.
Familiar to these blog pages is the Siberian hermit Agafya Lykova, now 73, a life-long hermit and last of her familiar of Old Believers, who fled to Siberia in 1936. Several media sources now report that the regional Russian governor has banned helicopter flights of food, supplies, and potential evacuation for medical treatment for Agafya in an effort to force her to return to civilization.
HTML: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/russias-bid-force-hermit-living-11536159; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5092301/Remarkable-hermit-forced-live-civilisation.html; http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/governor-seeks-to-force-worlds-most-famous-hermit-to-abandon-taiga-home-100-km-from-civilisation/