At this time, Kim Jae-ju was 29 years old and in the most extreme phase of his social seclusion. He’d already spent, off and on but mostly on, two years in his bedroom, and he would go on to spend another eight in the same manner.
In this three-by-three-metre box, with little more furniture than a bed, desk and chair, Kim kept confined for close to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year – eating and smoking and staring at his computer screen.
In South Korea, people like Kim are known as
hikikomori. A Japanese word that cannot be precisely translated, hikikomori essentially means “to pull back” and “shut oneself in”.
South Koreans first borrowed the term when the phenomenon was newly emerging in the country in the early 2000s, and it is still more popularly used today than the Koreanvia Wired
My bet is that more and more folks will choose to head into a hikikomori-like lifestyle as more and more of our lives becomes digitized.
I do not necessarily see this as a bad thing; I see it as a natural progression of socio-technological adoption and integration.