Mental Health and Social Withdrawal in Contemporary Japan : Beyond the Hikikomori Spectrum book cover
1st Edition

Mental Health and Social Withdrawal in Contemporary Japan
Beyond the Hikikomori Spectrum

ISBN 9780367645724
Published August 1, 2022 by Routledge
272 Pages

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Book Description

This book examines the phenomenon of social withdrawal in Japan, which ranges from school non-attendance to extreme forms of isolation and confinement, known as hikikomori. Based on extensive original research including interview research with a range of practitioners involved in dealing with the phenomenon, the book outlines how hikikomori expresses itself, how it is treated and dealt with and how it has been perceived and regarded in Japan over time. The author, a clinical psychologist with extensive experience of practice, argues that the phenomenon although socially unacceptable is not homogenous, and can be viewed not as a mental disorder, but as an idiom of distress, a passive and effective way of resisting the many great pressures of Japanese schooling and of Japanese society more widely.

The Open Access version of this book, available at, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CCBY-NC-ND) licence.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements. Preface. Introduction: Step Aside, Intersections, Minor Roads. Chapter 1: School Non-Attendance Created the Need for Clinical Psychologists. Chapter 2: The Resistance to Students’ Psychological Care. Chapter 3: Is Social Withdrawal a Mental Disorder? Chapter 4: Mental Health Surveys on Hikikomori. Chapter 5: NPO Support Towards Hikikomori Youths. Chapter 6: Hikikomori Subjects’ Narratives. Chapter 7: Beyond the Hikikomori Spectrum. Chapter 8: Conclusions – Social Isolation, Biopower, and the End of the Clinic. Index.

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Nicolas Tajan is program-specific associate professor, Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Japan.