Feature

Hermits on the rise

The week's news at a glance.

Tokyo

Hundreds of thousands of young Japanese men are isolating themselves in their bedrooms for months or even years, in a growing phenomenon known as hikikomori, or withdrawal. The men rarely leave home, and have no contact with anyone but immediate family members, The New York Times reported this week. Psychiatrists aren’t sure why the men are dropping out in such numbers. Some blame Japan’s intense workplace and academic pressures, while others point to a culture that encourages children to live with their parents well into their 20s. Despite a recent economic downturn, experts said, many parents can afford to support their children indefinitely, and they do so. “Japanese parents tell their children to fly,” one expert told the Times, “while holding firmly to their ankles.”

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