Recognizing Hikikomori as a clinical term in psychiatry: Moving beyond a cultural idiom of distress

  • Thomas Nguyen

Abstract

Hikikomori refers to a state of prolonged social withdrawal for 6 months or longer in adolescents and young adults. Marked by social isolation in one’s home, it may result in functional impairment, psychological distress as well as a lack of social participation and attendance at school and or work.[1,2] Made prominent in the late 1990s by Japanese psychiatrist, Tamaki Saito, the term Hikikomori is a portmanteau of the words ‘hiku’ (to
pull back) and ‘komoru’ (to seclude oneself).[1] In 2010, Koyama et al. estimated that 1.2% of Japanese people were of Hikikomori status using a community-based survey.[3] Though once thought to be a phenomenon only affecting those living in Japan, reports have identified cases in other countries such as Oman and Spain and a telephone survey in
Hong Kong identified a prevalence rate of 1.9%.[4-6]

Published
2019-10-27
How to Cite
Nguyen, T. (2019). Recognizing Hikikomori as a clinical term in psychiatry: Moving beyond a cultural idiom of distress. AMSA Journal of Global Health, 13(2), 4-7. Retrieved from http://ajgh.amsa.org.au/index.php/ajgh/article/view/55
Section
Editorial