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Saitō Tamaki. Hikikomori: Adolescence Without End. Trans low income payday loans in Kentucky. Jeffrey Angles.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press payday with, 2013.

Amy Borovoy

Hikikomori: Adolescence Without End

The phenomenon of hikikomori, in which Japanese teenagers quick and easy payday advance and young adults withdraw into their homes personal loan interest rate calculator or their rooms, limiting contact with outsiders for six months or more, is in many ways mysterious payday loans shelbyville kentuckey. Is it a mental illness that should be listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical low income payday loans in Kentucky Manual—the American guide that helps psychiatrists payday with and other clinicians, internationally, define and treat mental illness payday with? Or is it a “culture-bound syndrome,” brought about the particularities of Japanese society payday with, the pressures of the Japanese exam system, or perhaps shame low income payday loans in Kentucky related to the inability to find work among young men?[1] approved to 1000 payday loans
Or is it merely low income payday loans in Kentucky a choice that expresses social protest, an aesthetic sensibility bad credit refinance loans related to the immersion in popular culture of the otaku?

Saitō Tamaki’s Hikikomori: Adolescence Without personal loan interest rate calculator End is a meditation on hikikomori as a mental illness, paying payday cash 1 hour loans particular attention to its uses as a diagnostic category.  Saitō became the leading bankruptcy car loans debt psychiatric thinker about hikikomori in Japan after bad credit refinance loans the original Japanese version, Shakai-teki hikikomori: payday with Owaranai shishunki, was published by PHP Institute low income payday loans in Kentucky, Inc. in 1998, followed by his Hikikomori bunkaron in 2003.[2] Jeffrey Angles’ quick and easy payday advance English translation is of great value for scholars of Japanese personal loan interest rate calculator society, popular culture, and medicine, and for psychiatrists quick and easy payday advance internationally. The book sets aside some of the rather one-sided interpretations that have reduced payday cash 1 hour loans the phenomenon to a resultof Japan’s social ills, including the idea put forward personal loan interest rate calculator during Japan’s decade of economic stagnation personal loan interest rate calculator by journalist Michael Zielenziger, Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan bankruptcy car loans debt Created its Own Lost Generation (2006), that hikikomori is the individual payday loans shelbyville kentuckey expression of a Japanese national ethos characterized by parochialism payday loans shelbyville kentuckey, withdrawal, and isolationism—exemplified by excessive bureaucracy, closed markets payday with, and a lack of entrepreneuriality.[3]

Saitō’s main claim is that many clinicians, in diagnosing hikikomori, mistake payday cash 1 hour loans the “symptom” for the “cause.” Too often, Saitō argues, symptoms such as obsessive-compulsive personal loan interest rate calculator behavior, fear of others, paranoid delusions, and so forth payday with are mistaken for the root problem, and hikikomori are diagnosed as “obsessive-compulsive” “anthropophobic” low income payday loans in Kentucky (fearing others), or schizophrenic. But to diagnose hikikomori personal loan interest rate calculator as obsessive-compulsive disorder or anthropophobia, is, for Saitō, the equivalent of diagnosing payday with a cold as “coughing syndrome” or “headache syndrome” (26). Saitō believes low income payday loans in Kentucky that many of the symptoms that accompany social withdrawal are “secondary bad credit refinance loans symptoms;” that is, they are caused by the withdrawal itself, the prolonged payday cash 1 hour loans lack of social contact, monotony of environment, unhealthy reversal payday loans shelbyville kentuckey of day and night, poor diet, and so forth (70-71). Drawing on Harry Stack low income payday loans in Kentucky Sullivan, Saitō believes that the root cause of hikikomori lies in a failed personal loan interest rate calculator process of maturity and the establishment of a “framework for personality.” Adolescence low rate loan uk is a particularly important moment in resolving the various conflicts low income payday loans in Kentucky that lead to maturity, and failure to resolve these conflicts can lead to permanent damage personal loan interest rate calculator (28).[4] refinance car for bad credit

Although the nature of the developmental disorder he is suggesting is never quick and easy payday advance fully specified in a psychodynamic sense, Saitō’s emphasis on development quick and easy payday advance and adolescence leads him to some powerful claims, namely that we must differentiate personal loan interest rate calculator hikikomori from other forms of mental illness which payday with are a “result of the structure of the brain itself.” Hikikomori personal loan interest rate calculator, argues Saitō, “originates in the mind” as the result of individual bad credit refinance loans experience and trauma. Thus, “One should exercise payday cash 1 hour loans caution in labeling social withdrawal as ‘pathological’” (12, 27).

I’d like to take a moment to examine these bold claims and to suggest payday with that Saitō’s argument is shaped by assumptions deeply rooted in the history personal loan interest rate calculator of Japanese psychiatry and in the treatment of developmental abnormalities in Japanese society payday cash 1 hour loans more broadly, particularly the education system. Can we definitively claim quick and easy payday advance that hikikomori can be differentiated from other forms of mental illness payday cash 1 hour loans? Given the overlap between hikikomori and other “textbook” payday cash 1 hour loans symptoms associated with depression, schizophrenia, and OCD, it is a contentious payday with claim.

Epidemiological studies have shown that those who suffer from hikikomori have significantly payday loans shelbyville kentuckey higher comorbidity (co-occurance) rates with other mental personal loan interest rate calculator illnesses, particularly depression, than do those who have not experienced hikikomori low rate loan uk.[5] cheap payday loan lenders online
Indeed some of the key diagnostic criteria for depression are present in many, if not most, hikikomori cases: bad credit refinance loans depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in life activities; impairment payday loans shelbyville kentuckey in social, work, or other important areas of functioning; insomnia payday with or sleeping too much; agitation; fatigue or loss of energy; quick and easy payday advance feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt; diminished ability to think personal loan interest rate calculator or concentrate, or indecisiveness; substance abuse; or recurrent thoughts personal loan interest rate calculator of death.[6]

For example, consider the young man described in Saitō’s Introduction personal loan interest rate calculator, who began acting erratically in high school. He received payday with a college diploma through a correspondence course but became low income payday loans in Kentucky preoccupied with orderliness in the house. Continually unemployed, he slept during personal loan interest rate calculator the day and stayed up at night, keeping his windows and doors low income payday loans in Kentucky locked and communicating with his parents only in writing. When his parents personal loan interest rate calculator purchased a high-priced audio system that did not meet his specifications bad credit refinance loans, he threatened them if they did not “pay him a fine.” Reading this sort of case study, I imagine an American personal loan interest rate calculator psychiatrist would associate the symptoms with other forms of mental low rate loan uk illness such as depression, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, or obsessive-compulsive low income payday loans in Kentucky disorder. Someone suffering a profound break payday cash 1 hour loans from reality would seem to be experiencing something more powerful payday cash 1 hour loans than what could be accounted for by a developmental disorder or the secondary effects low income payday loans in Kentucky of prolonged isolation, and the symptoms suggest at least the possibility payday cash 1 hour loans of an organic condition, relating to neurochemistry or physiology. All of the cases Saitō bad credit refinance loans describes manifest the onset of symptoms in early adulthood payday loans shelbyville kentuckey, which is the textbook time of onset for major psychosis low income payday loans in Kentucky. Symptoms also often include the insomnia and reversal bad credit refinance loans of day and night that is characteristic of depression.

This does not mean that all hikikomori is caused by mental illness payday with. But Saitō’s insistence that hikikomori constitutes its own illness payday with, and that it is rooted in the adolescent failure to cultivate “immunity to trauma,” needs personal loan interest rate calculator to be examined in the context of the history Japanese psychiatry, for it seems personal loan interest rate calculator to carry some of the influence of a broader culture of mental health care in Japan low income payday loans in Kentucky.  Anthropologist Junko Kitanaka’s important book, Depression payday with in Japan: Psychiatric Cures for a Society in Distress, tells us that Japanese payday with psychiatry, rooted in a German neuro-pathological approach inherited from Emil Kraepelin payday with, has historically embraced a rigorous separation between “biogenic” payday with mental illness (caused by neurochemical and genetic factors) bad credit refinance loans and “psychogenic” mental illness (“neurosis”) caused payday with by situationally-induced factors. [7] cash payday loan West Virginia
Though medications are often low income payday loans in Kentucky used to treat both forms, Japanese psychiatrists have traditionally regarded the latter bad credit refinance loans as outside their domain of care, and patients with situationally-induced payday cash 1 hour loans depression or sadness are often exhorted to learn from their suffering personal loan interest rate calculator or to put “mind over matter.” But increasingly Japanese payday with psychiatrists agree that situationally-induced depression and biogenic depression payday loans shelbyville kentuckey are difficult to distinguish. Nevertheless, these distinctions continue bad credit refinance loans to pervade Japanese psychiatry, so that situationally-induced depression has been difficult low income payday loans in Kentucky to recognize as “real depression.”

I think we should see Saitō’s effort to distinguish hikikomori from biologically-based bad credit refinance loans mental illness in this context. Contrast, on the one hand, Saitō’s assertion personal loan interest rate calculator that we must treat hikikomori as a disorder of the “mind” (rather payday with than the “brain”) with, on the other, the lurch towards biological psychiatry personal loan interest rate calculator in the United States, where evidence suggests that psycho-pharmaceuticals personal loan interest rate calculator are over-prescribed, and “talking therapies” and other forms of social payday loans shelbyville kentuckey support are no longer available to many. Saitō is no Luddite; he is a cosmopolitan payday loans shelbyville kentuckey psychiatrist and psychotherapist, well-aware of American and European treatment protocols low income payday loans in Kentucky and diagnostic tools. In contrast with the growing move to identify a vast array low rate loan uk of mental symptoms as diagnosable and treatable through pharmaceutical inverventions bad credit refinance loans, Saitō insists that hikikomori is not the result of biological factors quick and easy payday advance but is rather rooted in individual experience and suffering payday with.

Some of the most fascinating sections of his book explore how a clinician should bad credit refinance loans make such distinctions, differentiating, for example, the delusions suffered by a schizophrenic payday loans shelbyville kentuckey from the “delusional thought” suffered by someone in social withdrawal payday with. Saitō agrees that distinguishing the withdrawn person’s claims low income payday loans in Kentucky that “the neighbors were talking about me outside personal loan interest rate calculator my window” or that “someone stopped their car in front payday loans shelbyville kentuckey of the house and was spying on me” from a schizophrenic person’s low income payday loans in Kentucky paranoia is difficult (57). The psychiatric diagnostic manual low income payday loans in Kentucky, DSM-IV, is not helpful, he says, since the characteristics of schizophrenia low income payday loans in Kentucky such as “failure to achieve what would have been expected for the individual,” “social isolation payday with,” or “restrictions in the range and intensity of emotional expression” bad credit refinance loans also characterize the typical hikikomori patient (56). Nonetheless personal loan interest rate calculator, he argues, in contrast with a schizophrenic’s delusions, the “delusional thoughts” of the hikikomori low income payday loans in Kentucky patient are understandable “if we try to think through the chain of cause payday cash 1 hour loans and effect that led them to their current mind-set. We might recognize bad credit refinance loans their thoughts as delusional, but it is still possible to sympathize with their payday with feelings and understand the ways in which they feel they have suffered as victims” (57). At bottom, this is a deeply payday loans shelbyville kentuckey humanistic book, which, despite its faith in psychiatry personal loan interest rate calculator and knowledge of international diagnostics, warns us against medicalization, and urges quick and easy payday advance us to recognize and hear a patient’s individual pain.

We might assume that in our current world of globalized personal loan interest rate calculator psychopharmacology, and with the universality of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual low income payday loans in Kentucky (recently updated from the fourth edition, DSM-IV-TR [2000] payday withto the fifth edition, DSM-V [2013]) that diagnostics and prescriptions personal loan interest rate calculator no longer differ significantly across cultures. However, Saitō’s payday with book suggests that differences persist, at least along subtle lines quick and easy payday advance. In my own study of hikikomori in the context of mental health bankruptcy car loans debt management and special education, I found a great deal of resistance low income payday loans in Kentucky to recognizing and diagnosing developmental disorders and mental payday loans shelbyville kentuckey illness, including mild autism or retardation, among young people payday loans shelbyville kentuckey.[8]

Saitō’s book is balanced, empirically informed, and full of insights translatable bad credit refinance loans to other social contexts. Although he believes that hikikomori low rate loan uk is an illness that must be treated with empathy and particular kinds of social personal loan interest rate calculator support, he does not share the assumption (put forth in some grass roots bad credit refinance loans support groups for mothers dealing with the hikikomori children) personal loan interest rate calculator that a mother’s love and patience can rescue a child from hikikomori. Rather, Saitō payday with urges drawing boundaries. His section on “containing violence” (worthwhile payday loans shelbyville kentuckey reading for anyone dealing with this issue) defines the acceptance of violence low rate loan uk (or the urge to quell it through love) as “codependence” and urges contact payday with with the police. He also encourages parents to draw the line with verbal and mental comfort personal loan interest rate calculator for overly-needy children and to resist physical comfort.

The book says little about the relationship between hikikomori and media payday loans shelbyville kentuckey consumption or the popular-cultural representations of hikikomori. (Saitō does treat bad credit refinance loans the relationship to cyberculture in his subsequent book, Hikikomori bunkaron.) The notion personal loan interest rate calculator of hikikomori as social practice, in contrast to Saitō’s notion personal loan interest rate calculator of an illness, continues to be used by sociologists, writers, and other social commentators low rate loan uk as a prism for exploring social values and popular culture payday loans shelbyville kentuckey. In fact, psychiatric categories have been productive fodder for social personal loan interest rate calculator reflection in contemporary Japan, where social issues are often bankruptcy car loans debt discussed in terms of “syndromes” such as “co-dependency” (kyōizonshō) low income payday loans in Kentucky or “retired husband syndrome” (shujin zaitaku sutoresu payday cash 1 hour loans shōkōgun).[9] Sociologist Miyadai Shinji has even argued that Saitō’s personal loan interest rate calculator study itself shaped popular culture in Japan. Miyadai low rate loan uk says that by treating hikikomori as an illness and thus distinguishing it from “otaku low income payday loans in Kentucky,” Saitō’s work has had the effect of de-pathologizing otaku culture and making it more acceptable bankruptcy car loans debt as an alternative lifestyle.[10] So, while the question, “What payday cash 1 hour loans is hikikomori?” may remain to be answered, the phenomenon has generated payday loans shelbyville kentuckey some highly fruitful explorations of Japanese social institutions low income payday loans in Kentucky, popular culture, and psychiatry itself.

Posted 12/06/2013

Amy Borovoy is associate professor of East Asian payday cash 1 hour loans Studies at Princeton University. She has written on alcoholism and codependency in Japan, eating disorders and notions of gendered adulthood, and more recently low income payday loans in Kentucky on the issue of hikikomori in the context of mental personal loan interest rate calculator health care in Japan. Her current book manuscript concerns payday with postwar Japan studies and the American search for a communal payday with modernity in Japan. On this topic, her essay on psychiatrist Takeo Doi was published in the Journal of Japanese Studies low income payday loans in Kentucky.


[1] Psychiatrists who studied the phenomenon in the 1960s payday cash 1 hour loans described it in ethno-psychological terms as “withdrawal neurosis” (taikyaku quick and easy payday advance shinkeishō). See Alan R. Teo’s helpful review, “A New Form of Social Withdrawal low income payday loans in Kentucky in Japan: A Review of Hikikomori,” International Journal of Social personal loan interest rate calculator Psychiatry, (30 June 2009), http://isp.sagepub.com/content/early/2009/06/30/0020764008100629.full.pdf payday with.

[2] Saitō Tamaki, Shakai-teki hikikomori: owaranai low income payday loans in Kentucky shishunki(Tokyo: PHP Shinsho 065, 1998); see also Hikikomori bunkaron (Tokyo: personal loan interest rate calculator Hatsubaimoto Kinokuniya Shoten, 2003).  Hereafter personal loan interest rate calculator, page numbers from Angles’ English translation of the 1998 text will be given parenthetically bad credit refinance loans in the review.

[3] Michael Zielenziger, Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation personal loan interest rate calculator (New York: Nan A. Talese, 2006), 26-28.

[4] Saitō’s evidence for the centrality of adolescent personal loan interest rate calculator development to hikikomori behavior comes in part from his observation low income payday loans in Kentucky that hikikomori is sometimes correlated with school quick and easy payday advance refusal behavior, and that symptoms closely mimic bad credit refinance loans symptoms of adolescent rebellion, including skipping school quick and easy payday advance, violent fits, phobias like fear of having body odor (bromidrophobia), and certain forms of OCD (28). Saitō’s payday loans shelbyville kentuckey own practice led him to believe that developmental problems are underdiagnosed and continue to affect payday cash 1 hour loans a substantial portion of even his adult clients.

[5] Norito Kawakami, Tadashi Takeshima, Yutaka payday with Ono, Hidenori Uda, Yukihiro Hata, Yoshibumi Nakane, Hideyuki Nakane quick and easy payday advance, Noboru Iwata, Toshiaki Furukawa, and Takehiko Kikkawa personal loan interest rate calculator, “Twelve-month Prevalence, Severity, and Treatment of Common personal loan interest rate calculator Mental Disorders in Communities in Japan: Preliminary Findings from the World payday with Mental Health Japan Survey 2002-2003,” Psychiatry bad credit refinance loans and Clinical Neurosciences 59 (2006): 441-452.

[6] American Psychiatric Association, “Criteria low income payday loans in Kentucky for a Major Depressive Episode,” DSM-IV-TR, Diagnostic low rate loan uk and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, http://dsm.psychiatryonline.org/content.aspx?bookid=22&sectionid=1890406#2132.

[7] Junko Kitanaka, Depression in Japan: payday with Psychiatric Cures for a Society in Distress (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University bad credit refinance loans Press), 68-75, 110-118.

[8] Amy Borovoy, “Japan’s Hidden Youths: Mainstreaming payday loans shelbyville kentuckey the Emotionally Distressed in Japan,” Culture low income payday loans in Kentucky, Medicine, and Psychiatry 32, no. 4 (2008): 559-561.

[8] Amy Borovoy, The Too-Good Wife: personal loan interest rate calculator Alcohol, Codependency, and the Politics of Nurturance in Post-War Japan low rate loan uk (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2005) payday cash 1 hour loans.

[10] See Jonathan Abel’s helpful discussion, “Can bad credit refinance loans Cool Japan save Post-Disaster Japan? On the Possibilities and Impossibilities of a Cool Japanology,” International payday loans shelbyville kentuckey Journal of Japanese Sociology, no. 20 (2011): 68.


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