Date of Award

Winter 2-1-2019

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Yiju Huang, Ph.D.


This undergraduate senior thesis analyzes the phenomenon of social withdrawal and the conditions that foster it in Japan and Taiwan. I argue that hikikomori, which is the infamous lifestyle of young Japanese men who isolate themselves in their rooms, is not unique to Japanese culture. My findings indicate that hikikomori is a social disease that arises from socio-economic circumstances. I believe the presence of hikikomori in Japan is due most to postmodernity combined with a foundation of Confucian familial values. Taiwan shares the same history of Confucian familial values but is not considered a postmodern society. There is little research shared on specific Taiwanese hikikomori cases, but I argue that the inklings of it can be found in the general social withdrawal of the youth. The leading forces that foster extreme social withdrawal are pressures to reach an outdated and impossible form of success and the fear of failing. This thesis brings Japanese and Taiwanese youth social withdrawal into conversation in order to address the currently poorly defined hikikomori phenomenon.