I had mixed feelings about the article “Hikikomori: The prison inside” in the June 2 edition. Vosot Ikeida and I are of the same generation, and his experiences enticed me into reading this article all the way through.
To become a social recluse, there are some requirements. First, their families are rich enough to offer their children a room where they can stay all the time. In addition, their parents can afford to take care of their children financially, even after they become an adult.
Good or bad, I was born and raised in a poor family, so I had no choice but to graduate from school and work for a living. Back in my school days, some classmates verbally bullied me because I had a bad squint. Furthermore, I was partly bald, because of my mother’s abuse, so they often mocked me. However, I didn’t quit school because I had friends who stood by me.
There is help around for hikikomori, even if they don’t know about it. They can find it if they take the time to look for a reliable expert or counseling organization who will listen to them attentively. Things are sure to improve if they can find the courage to interact with others.
Publishing the magazine named Hikipos is an effective way to link with society. Thank you, Vosot Ikeida, for sharing your story. It gave me the opportunity to think about this issue in detail. I hope by broadening your horizons, you will also realize other people are suffering in society, including me.
Such reciprocal understanding will lead to building human relations, which can be thorny but never impossible.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.