A case study of a Chinese 'hikikomorian' in Canada: Theorizing the process of hikikomorization

Suk Ching Stella CHONG, Kar Mon CHAN

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24 Citations (Scopus)


The term ‘hikikomori’ originates from Japan and means ‘acute social withdrawal’. This study intends to investigate into the causes of hikikomori which is increasing worldwide phenomenon. The methodology is a case study approach located in an interpretive paradigm. The data was mainly collected through e-mails with the participant and phone conversations with his mother. The participant was a ‘hiki­ko­morian’ who was invited to investigate his own problem and further to be the co-author of this paper. The literature findings and this case study were then conceptualized into a more wide-ranging framework in compre­hen­ding the process of hikikomorization. The result appears to show that hikikomorization involves three processes: first, a predisposed introverted personality; second, the effects of multiple environmental factors such as family, school and society; and finally, the trigger point, such as the end of schooling or a stressful event. The study offers implications for other hiki­ko­mo­rians in better understanding of their problems and for practitioners working with reclusive ado­lescents and their families. Copyright © 2012 Institute of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje and Macedonian Association of Special Educators.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-114
JournalJournal of Special Education and Rehabilitation
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Chong, S. S.-c., & Chan, K.-M. (2012). A case study of a Chinese 'hikikomorian' in Canada: Theorizing the process of hikikomorization. Journal of Special Education and Rehabilitation, 13(3-4), 99-114.


  • Hikikomori
  • Social withdrawal
  • Case study


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