“Hikikomori University”, just as the name suggests, are group sessions started by hikikomori (shut-ins) – extreme introverts who prefer to live alone and away from the society and other people for long periods of time – as a way to interact and share their issues and difficulties with other people are experiencing the same thing. Hikikomori teachers conducted the sessions to fellow hikikomori students in the said “university”.
While there is no regular schedule for the sessions yet, sessions have already been held in Tokyo and Fukuoka and support for the hikikomori university from all over the country is growing. The gatherings aim to inform the public not just on the hardships these people go through, but also for them to see things from the perspective of the hikikomori themselves. While the initial meetings were meant to be a counseling session – where one can share his problems and difficulties – they decided to introduce the idea of learning in the sessions and were successful in coming up with ideas and ways of thinking that are beneficial to the hikikomori.
The “tuition fee’’ for these sessions vary and depends on the financial capability of the students and their satisfaction with the sessions with the amount just being enough to cover the transportation expenses of the teachers. Class suspensions were also inevitable as some of the shut-ins suffer from depression and would be unable to teach or attend the sessions. Various departments have already been established with one faculty meant to “those who want to become positive toward continued living” while there is another one for “everybody’s different, everybody’s valuable”.
The group’s latest meeting in September were attended by 20 participants and a proposal for a sustainable “hikikomori community” was discussed. The idea is to have a community for themselves in underpopulated areas and find opportunities for working at home through the Internet. Currently, the organizers have already received 80 emails expressing their support and desire to join the next session.
[via Japan Times]