A curious developmental phenomenon is occurring in Japan as a result of the stagnant economic conditions that have been present there since the early 1990’s: the emergence of a new group of young adults, mostly men, who have given up going to school or working at a job and have instead chosen to spend virtually all their time holed up in cramped apartments. These men are called hikikomori, and they’ve shut themselves up in their rooms (many still live with their parents), only to emerge during the night for solo walks or other solitary adventures on the outside. One cause of their retreat into isolation, according to interviews with the men, has to do with the schoolyard bullying that they received during their growing up years. To learn more about this trend, see Michael Zielenziger’s book Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation.
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