Friday, March 11, 2005

1 in 10 Japanese youths lives like a hermit

Okay, I'm both puzzled and intrigued by this one.

Taiwan's Taipei Times carries a curious story about an "epidemic" gripping Japan: As many as 1 million young men may be hiding in their bedrooms, reading manga, playing video games, and doing, um, those other things young men do when they're alone in their bedrooms.

Called hikikomori -- Japanese for "to withdraw from society" -- the youths are an embarrassment to their families, who often hide the "condition."

Some cite bullying at school, academic pressure and too much time spent on activities that lead to poor communication skills -- like, say, playing video games and reading manga -- as reasons for the withdrawal.