Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Hikikomori (Social Withdrawal) in Japan:Discourses of Media and Scholars; Multicausal Explanations of the Phenomenon.

Krysinska, Dorota (2007) Hikikomori (Social Withdrawal) in Japan:Discourses of Media and Scholars; Multicausal Explanations of the Phenomenon. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (644kB) | Preview


Hikikomori, a phenomenon which exists to date mostly in Japan, are people who seclude themselves in their bedrooms for an extended period of time and reject most forms of contact with the outside world. These are usually males and young people in their twenties who may comprise nearly a million Japanese citizens.Since Japanese and foreign media as well as scholars express different opinions on potential causes of hikikomori, one of the focal points of my work is to show that causal explanations of the phenomenon, especially those involving multiple causes, that are provided by different authors are not in conflict. I do so by arguing that social withdrawal may be a consequence of each cause on its own, but also the result of interactions between them. To demonstrate it, I analyze discourses of media and scholars and show linkages between the three most salient causes of hikikomori: conformity to Japanese society, the pressure of the educational system, and a problem of communication between parents and children. These factors represent the three distinct categories of my analysis - Society, School and Parents. The second issue I address in my work is hikikomori as a form of resistance against the social order in Japan. My study shows that social withdrawal does not have to be an extreme form of behavioral deviation as such, but rather that it could be perceived as a radical manifestation of resistance in the society of Japan originating from within Japanese culture. This argument explains why hikikomori do not decide to choose an active form of resistance.Through a cross-category discussion, the thesis is one of the first to expound on interrelations of hikikomori causes originating from different spheres of life, such as society, school and parents. Moreover, the work elaborately explains the correlations between causes which makes it distinct from other authors' publications. My study is also one of the first summaries of all potential factors mentioned by media and scholars that result in the problem of hikikomori, which will supply a better understanding of the phenomenon in the English language literature.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHashimoto, Akiko
Committee MemberJordan, Brenda G
Committee MemberMcDonald, Keiko
Date: 23 January 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 19 October 2006
Approval Date: 23 January 2007
Submission Date: 27 October 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > East Asian Studies
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: amae; bullying; causal linkage; causal relationship; compliance; conflict management; conflict resolution; conformity; discourse; educational pressure; exaggeration in media; futoko; hikikomori; ijime; Japan; media; multi-causal explanation; multicausal explanation; mute resistance; parent; parent-child communication; passive resistance; psychiatric disorder; psychiatric illness; scholar; school; school refusal; seclusion; seken; sensationalism in media; social pressure; social withdrawal; society; surveillance; tokokyohi; generalization in media; parent-child interdependence
Other ID:, etd-10272006-180946
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:03
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:50


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item