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Hikikomori artists – how Japan's extreme recluses find creativity and self-discovery in isolation

By Jessica Holtaway, Lecturer in Visual Communication, Solent University
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The Japanese word “hikikomori” translates to “pulling inwards”. The term was coined in 1998 by Japanese psychiatrist Professor Tamaki Saito to describe a burgeoning social phenomenon among young people who, feeling the extreme pressures to succeed in their school, work and social lives and fearing failure, decided to withdraw from society. At the time, it was estimated that around a million people were choosing to not leave their homes or interact with others for at least six months, some for years. It is now estimated that around 1.2%…

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