TOKYO, Japan – Tetsuya Hori, 26, a resident living in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo, has recently begun phasing out his lifestyle as a hikikomori – a Japanese term for young adults who completely isolate themselves from society.
Ever since graduating high school seven years ago, Hori struggled with college entrance exams and fell short in searching for a job. According to family members, Hori became more and more discouraged before eventually succumbing to a reclusive way of life.
After several weeks of psychological counseling and support from family, Hori has been making significant progress towards slowly venturing outside of his apartment.
“I’ve gradually begun to feel the desire to venture into the outside world. I hope to eventually be able to rejoin society. Seeing how much my family cares for me has really given me the courage the take the first steps,” Hori stated.
A week prior, Hori took his first steps by finally leaving his apartment and visiting a nearby convenience store. Still somewhat anxious, Hori wore a face mask to conceal himself in public. To his relief, he discovered that most others outside were wearing one as well.
“It made me feel better to discover that there were others out there like me,” Hori smiled slightly as he recalled the event.
Hori followed up by going to a nearby supermarket the next day. Although the cleared-out shelves prevented him from buying anything, Hori believed it was the thought that mattered.
“It feels great making steps towards being a productive member of society again”, says Hori. “I finally feel like I am in control of my life.”
Despite Hori’s astounding progress, doctors have strangely begun advising Hori to remain indoors, socially distance himself from others, and avoid crowded areas. Hori assumed this to be some sort of reverse psychology technique to prevent himself from repeating his past mistakes.
“I’m not going to give up on myself this time,” said Hori. “This time I will find the strength to move forward.”