Avoiding becoming hikikomori

Note from Editor: Students are reading Anne Allison’s book Precarious Japan, and sharing their thoughts on how their own future plans are impacted by the instability and insecurity that Allison describes.

by Masanori Takino

The more precarious Japan is, the more difficult expecting my future is. As Anne Allison mentioned in her book, since the end of the bubble economy, Japan has been in a hard situation. This essay will focuses on terms such as hikikomori, and ibasho, and my expectation of my future.

First of all, I do not desire to be hikikomori in my future. General thinking in Japan, the word, hikikomori, gives people negative images such as not working, staying in your room all the day, and begging for money from your family. I strongly hope to get my own job, full-time employment, after my graduation from the university. One of the requirements of not being hikikomori is in the stable position in the work. Full-time employment guarantees  security; the stable and high salaries, some vacations in a year, and insurance.

However, if I pursued job stability, I would have to become a public officer. While the economy situation is precarious in Japan, the work conditions are also unstable. Even if people could obtain full-time employment in the usual companies, they might get fired when the company is in a troubled situation. The most stable jobs in Japan is “public officer.” The jobs will not force the worker to quit. That is why there is a huge competition in Japan. I am the one of it. I desire to be a public officer to pursue this stability. If I fail it, at least, I would like to get the full time employment. I am not hikikomori.

Second is about my ibasho. It is difficult to express it. For example, one of my ibasho is the department of International Relations at Ritsumeikan University. I have friends there, and I have never felt loneliness there. I am not sure about my future ibasho, however it will be the place I will belong to. If I could succeed in job hunting, my ibasho will be the company which employs me. If not, I will be hikikomori, so my ibasho will be my room. My ibasho in my future is depending on what I will become. So I hope my ibasho will be a company.

In conclusion, my future is precarious, same as the present Japanese situation. In a few years, I hope the situation will drastically change, and become much more stable than now.

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