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Hikikomori
Japan, taking the art of being a hikikomori to the extreme.

"I hate the outside. Screw you, outside!"

No man is an island, but hikikomori are peninsulae. A psychological cultural disease, mainly present in Japanese culture, where a young person snaps under pressure and becomes socially and physically withdrawn into their household, often for years. Because of the social stigma and the assumption that the person's family are the right people to handle the situation, how many cases actually exist is uncertain. Attempts to assess, diagnose, or explain the phenomenon have been met with either much controversy or fierce debate; this is not helped at all by the existing prejudice against avoidant behavior.

Because many hikkis vaguely cope by assuming an obsessive activity, many people assume they make up a sizable amount of the otaku community, which unfortunately is related to the moral panic that otaku are violent psychopaths. This came to a head in the late 1990s via several high-profile bizarre crimes, although some psychologists argued that hikkis are, by definition, not confident enough to actually hurt others, and are rather just pitiable unhealthy folk.

While the hikikomori phenomenon is similar to shut-in behaviour in other countries note , the Japanese culture seemingly enables its extremes. In the West, parents are expected to tell their "adult-child" to get a life, or if they have the funds (and believe in the power of medicine) they'd get their offspring a psychiatrist if they're having mental troubles; it's not known if this is the case in Japan.It's a wide generalization that, where a family in another culture (mainly Western culture) would be likely to get a developing shut-in to see a doctor, a Japanese family is unlikely to, because having a family member visit a psychiatrist or have therapy would be shameful. Not only that, but having a hikikomori in the family is shameful, so he's kept a secret. The strong tradition of taking care of family members makes a Japanese parent wash a shut in's clothes or at least bring food at his room door, enabling the most extreme forms of shutting in. Furthermore, in Japan just the action of applying for welfare is inherently shameful. For those that have no family at hand to provide them, every city has little 24/7 shops where they can do their shopping when there are as few people as possible on the streets. Better yet, the abundance of vending machines makes it possible to buy snacks and drinks without ever seeing a human face.

Some anime as a rule seems reluctant to reference it except as an implied trait of otaku lest it offend the audience, and most 'mainstream' non-otaku series have a decidedly negative portrayal. For this condition played for laughs (as it often is in Western media), see Basement-Dweller. When the hikki in question is a famous poet, writer, painter, or whatever, see Reclusive Artist. Unless the Hikikomori can find a source of income which doesn't require he leave his fortress of solitude, then he's probably also a NEET.

The term hikikomori more properly applies to young people who are otherwise physically able and are expected to have vestiges of a life outside of the home. Elderly people, on the other hand, have already lived their lives, and therefore can be excused for being more homebound and seeing fewer people, especially if due to age related conditions such as declining health.

Compare The Hermit. Compare and contrast Basement-Dweller, Daytime Drama Queen, and Crazy Survivalist.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Pictured above: Japan from Axis Powers Hetalia refers to himself as a hikikomori in the strip alluding to Commodore Perry's arrival to Japan. Meeting the Americans after 200 years of isolation terrifies him so much that he almost has an Heroic BSOD at the mere idea of speaking to them.
    • The strips with isolationist Japan and Netherlands confirm this, as Japan locks himself in his room constantly and when Netherlands steps in he panics and screams that he doesn't even want the sunlight to touch him. He even automatically curls up in a ball on the floor whenever he hears the word "open".
  • The Welcome to the NHK's characters pretty much out-hikky everyone else. This trope is built into the premise of Welcome to the NHK (where "NHK" stands for the Japanese equivalent of "Japanese Hikikomori Association" instead of "Japan Broadcasting Corporation"), whose lead suffers from the condition, to the point that almost every major character in the show represents a specific symptom of the Hikikomori-condition! Much like the other characters, this is used for both hilarious Black Humor and audience sympathy.
  • Jun from Rozen Maiden, although he denies it, and we don't learn the reasons why he mysteriously isn't in school until much later in the story (at least in the anime).
    • He does develop out of this role through the anime, and by the second season he has soundly resumed his studies. A similar development can be seen in the manga, and it is given a passing mention when he meets the alternate version of himself in which he remained a hikikomori through most of junior high as he notes that he wasn't at all so optimistic back then.
  • Nagi in Hayate the Combat Butler. This is not immediately obvious since she covers it up by being a cute girl and being 'homebound' involves her enormous family estate, but Hayate almost immediately observes that she's not very socialized and has an unusual obsession with video games and manga, and makes a point to get her out of her house.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei has its own hikikomori student, aptly named Kiri Komori. After being forced to leave her room at home, she secludes herself in various rooms at the school. However, instead of the social ineptitude characteristic of hikikomoris, Kiri shows symptoms of extreme agoraphobia; she quite happily interacts with her fellow students and teachers, but constantly shuts herself in tiny, cooped spaces, and is almost never seen without a quilt that she crouches under. The series seems to like playing with the idea of her never leaving the school. She shows up at Nozomu's home in season one on account of it being a school vacation, and it's later ret-conned that Nozomu lives on school property, so she wasn't actually leaving the school itself. Later in the series, Kiri shows up at a Beach Episode, and Nami wonders if she should really be there. Then, it turns out that it's not a real beach, but was instead set-up at school. However, it's Double Subverted, since it's at a different school than the usual one, and Nami isn't completely convinced by Kiri's rationalization that she's a "school hikikomori".
  • The head of the Sohma family in Fruits Basket appears to be cultivating this in the rest of the family. And she is one as well.
    • Near the end of the series, it was revealed that the original God was one, living alone in a house on a hill, terrified of meeting other people. The entire curse got started when he met a cat and decided that it'd be best if he and a close circle of animal friends only stuck to each other for company, throughout multiple lifetimes.
  • Computer expert Seven in Loveless is heavily implied to be a Hikikomori, and is shown spending lots of time on her computer (including in an online RPG that serves as a communicator between characters in the series) and collecting anime figurines.
  • Karin's family see a documentary about hikikomori and think Karin is one. They try an intervention, ignoring the fact that Karin was watching the documentary with them.
  • Ken in Digimon Adventure 02 appears to be one of these to Muggles for a time, but the reality is much worse (he's the Big Bad and it wouldn't do for his parents to see him go into his room, not be there, and mysteriously be absent for days, so he keeps the door locked.)
    • Eventually, he doesn't even bother and decides to stay in the Digital World, effectively running away from home. After his Digimon partner dies and he realizes it's not a game, Ken spends some days in an Heroic BSOD state inside his room... then he gets out, hugs his parents and starts working on his Heel-Face Turn.
  • A serious example, taken to extremes, is Takumi, the protagonist of Chaos;Head. He lives in a shipping crate surrounded by anime figures, is deluded enough to see anime girls talking to him, and is paranoid to the extreme. The effects of his personality and lifestyle on the characters and situations he (reluctantly) encounters are the major part of the story.
    • Of course Taku is also not a real person and suffers from a mental condition known as Gigalomania.
    • He's actually best described as a "borderline" case. He still makes sporadic appearances at school, and has even made a "minimum attendance shift chart" to ensure that he can obtain enough credits to graduate. Not exactly something to be proud of, but admittedly a step higher than many of the cases on this page.
  • In the first Hell Girl anime series, there's a female hikikomori whose school teacher tries to reach out to her. At the same time she is communicating with what appears to be another student online. That person is actually her teacher (who isn't aware that the person he's talking to online and the student he's trying to help are the same person). He encourages her to send her teacher to Hell.
  • One Cromartie High School episode involves a guy who's tough and violent in real life, but friendly on the internet. He starts losing patience when a troll directs a string of nasty posts at him — ending with the deadly insult of calling him a hikikomori. (He then punches a guy out on the street for bumping into him, unaware that it's the troll.)
  • In the soccer manga Meister, one of the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits in the school's soccer team is Koori Taira, an admitted hikikomori who seems dually based on L from Death Note and Gosunkugi from Ranma ˝. He's antisocial, confrontational, self-centered, and seems to think he has hypnotic powers. But he's also the core of the team's defense and a generally unstoppable engine on the field.
  • Yuu Matsuura in Marmalade Boy was this close to become a hikikomori at age 12, when he found a letter written by his grandmother, which hinted that the man he knew as his dad wasn't his biological father.
  • In xxxHOLiC, Yuuko essentially forces one of her clients to become one when the price of the wish is that she never allow her image to be captured on film (It Makes Sense in Context).
    • Watanuki also becomes one; not being able to leave the shop except under very specific conditions is the price he has to pay for continued existence.
  • Chiba Seiya from Flunk Punk Rumble became one three days into the school year because of a bunch of delinquents looking for him. The main characters managed to get him out of his room though, by beating the crap out of the said delinquents.
  • Eden of the East has Itazu Yutaka. Called "Panties", not only because the kanji in his name can be read that way but also because he became a recluse after losing his only pair of pants. In the movies, he is no longer one.
  • Leopard of Sora O Kakeru Shoujo has the distinction of being anime's first hikikomori AI.
  • Sahoko from Pieta is a recovering hiki.
  • Chrona from Soul Eater seems to display symptoms of this, as he/she has a distinct trouble interacting with people due to an abusive upbringing. Prefers to stay in his/her room in Mister Corner, often for several days at a time.
  • Tomohiko Yamada of Satou Kashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai hasn't left his house in three years, and rarely leaves the comfort of his statue, book, and video filled room. Even his mother recognizes that he fits this trope: "Tomohiko has that rather popular condition, right? What is it? Hi... hi... hiki-..."
    • When he does leave the house he ended up vomiting, though he was fine otherwise.
  • Kitahara towards the end of Onani Master Kurosawa. Like everything after the Wham Episode, played tragically, hauntingly straight — we get to see when she finally snaps from all the abuse, bloodily cutting herself with a wood carving tool in response to two girls taunting her; when the main character comes to visit months later her mother is openly hysterical about saying the wrong thing to her and pushing her over the edge. It's shown she has good reason to be afraid of accidentally pushing her, too, as Kitahara has apparently attempted suicide 5 separate times during the past few months; when she finally does leave the room, she's reduced to panic attacks by all the sights, sounds, and wide empty spaces, and the idea of meeting people reduces her to tears. It takes a Cooldown Hug by the main character, along with a Patrick Stewart Speech about how important connecting with others is, to bring her out of it for good. Unfortunately, the other almost universal trope in manga is also played straight.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka encounters one such shut-in; one of the other students realizes that the kid is a hikkikomori when he asks the family about his activities and learns that he only leaves the house to buy train schedules because he's a train enthusiast.
  • The main character of Holyland Yuu, used to be this before street fighting.
  • Sunako, of The Wallflower. The plot is basically to break her out of being a hikikomori, with healthy amounts of Bishie Sparkle.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Despite being a personification of despair that only deals with humans to kill them, the witch Kirsten still manages to be a hikikomori. She interacts through a computer monitor, under the handle 'H. N. Elly'. Considering that witches are former Magical Girls who fell in despair, Kirsten may have been a hikki in her former life as a human/Magical Girl.
  • In The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, when the computer club president goes missing, Haruhi uses this term to refer to him, asking Kyon where a hikikomori might be hiding (hinting that Kyon himself is one). Usage of this term is probably to further show how rude and blunt Haruhi's character can be since she uses the term so blatantly.
  • In Detective Conan, the novelist Hideomi Nagato became this after, as a highschool student, he was horribly disfigured in a fire while trying to rescue a little girl trapped in there. A fire that he and his friend Mitsuaki caused... and which killed the parents of the girl he saved, Miyuki Hyuuga. When Miyuki, now his dad's Sexy Secretary, falls for him and asks him to marry her despite what has happened... Hideomi commits suicide out of guilt.
    • Another novelist has hidden himself in the attic because he thought he committed murder—he continues to publish under his brother's name, who he is ghost-writing for.
  • Yuki in Wandering Son became one of these in middle school and high school, after she dropped out. Saori became dangerously close to becoming one.
  • Frau Koujiro, from Robotics;Notes, became one not long after her mother's disappearance. She spends most of her time in her apartment, which is perpetually messy and frigid from the air conditioner being cranked down, working on solving the mystery of her mother's disappearance and finding cheaters in the video game she developed. For some time after joining the Robotics Club, she wouldn't attend except via video conference. Her social skills are also deplorable, between her talking in Leet Speak and barely concealing her sexually perverse fantasies.
  • At her introduction, Shiemi Moriyama from Blue Exorcist is one of these, but she overcomes it by the end of her introductory chapter.
  • Chisame Hasegawa in Mahou Sensei Negima! apparently becomes one after high school for a few years, but later joins Negi's Mars terraformation project as an advisor. She already had something of the personality in the series, but wasn't as much of a recluse as these types usually are. However it was shown she liked being an internet idol and was a bit of a shut in.
  • Jintan from Ano Hana became this after the death of Menma and his mother. At the start of the story, his friend and Dogged Nice Girl Anaru has to go to his home and give him his share of schoolwork. And then Menma's ghost comes in and he has to stop holing himself up to help her fulfill her Ghostly Goals...
    • Also, Menma's mother Irene. She closed herself off to the whole world after her daughter's death, and is hurt and angry at Menma's friends for managing to somewhat move on while she's trapped in her pain.
  • In Sangatsu no Lion, Rei heavily implies in the narration of his childhood that Ayumu became one after realizing he could no longer keep up with Rei in shogi, mentioning that he holes himself up in his room and drowns himself in video games.
  • Souta's novelist sister Izumi from WORKING!!. She is actually shown leaving the house once in the series, and her siblings treat it as a very scary thing. This is because she is so frail from constantly being in her room working on novels all the time and rarely stepping foot outside of her room for as long as what is implied to be months at a time.
  • Arata Hinohara from Arata Kangatari became one for a while as a result of Kadowaki bullying him in middle school.
  • Denpa Kyoshi has Kagami, Kotarou, and Sachiko. They got better,
  • In Pet Shop of Horrors: Tokyo, one story deals with the extremely screwed-up adult children of a businessman. One of said children never talks and never leaves his room. He refuses his stepmother's suggestions that he eat with the rest of the family, in favor of having his meals left outside of his door. He refuses to even leave his room to attend his father's funeral.
  • Highschool DXD:
    • Gasper Vladi is one after his introduction in season 2 as Rias Gremory's other Bishop. Interestingly, this has NOT stopped him from carrying out his duty as a Devil, making and fulfilling contracts over the Internet. He is getting better, though, as he is now emotionally capable of going outside (provided he is not alone), and having conversations with people he is close to. But he will still hide in a box if he gets even a little startled.
    • Riser Phenix briefly becomes one after being defeated by Issei. It becomes so bad that he will even refuse to even see his own family because he had a bad dream (probably about Issei) the night before and totally FREAKS OUT when Issei shows up at his bedroom door, most likely due to the Trauma Conga Line of losing to Issei, who was a weak, newly reincarnated devil, having his fiancé stolen by him, and having this all happen in front of a crowd of high-ranking and very aristocratic devils.
  • In Pokémon Special, X was once a cheerful, up-and-coming trainer, but is now a depressed shut-in who refuses to leave his room despite his childhood friend Y coming by daily to plead to him to come out. It is all but outright stated that he had an extremely bad experience with the paparazzi. Despite the fact that his house got destroyed when Team Flare went after his Mega Ring and now he's forced to be outside to get the plot going, he's somehow put together a make-shift mobile room for himself that Y's Rhyhorn has to carry around on its back.
  • In the educational tankobon Know through Manga! Schizophrenia, by Yuki Nakamura (whose mother has schizophrenia), the main character Kokoro, as she moves through the schizophrenia prodrome, becomes more and more like this, quitting her job due to hearing hallucinations at work which she perceives to be the critical voices of her co-workers commenting on her frequent mistakes, hardly coming out of her room for anything, sleeping during the day and staying awake and eating during the night, often feeling unable to move at all and just lying in her futon, and feeling all kinds of random (negative) feelings and thinking random thoughts, until she has a total breakdown, hearing lots and lots of voices in the room, mainly of her former co-workers discussing her in 3rd person showing their disapproval of her, causing her to think the house is being watched and even that her thoughts are being read, sending her into a confused panic. Her mother takes her to the hospital shortly after and she is put on medication and is not long after diagnosed with schizophrenia. Though she is doing much better at the end of the story, she is still mostly homebound, not working or going to school, even though she is 24. The book warns that among the hikikomori, there are cases of mental illness hidden.
  • The protagonist of Inside Mari is a hikikomori. He went off to college excited about meeting new friends, finding romance, etc but after a few months noticed he had no friends because he was waiting for others to come to him. In his second year he stopped going to his classes. He falls for a high school girl and becomes a bit of a Stalker with a Crush. Then he ends up taking over her body somehow.

    Fanfiction 
  • Several, (though not all) of the Element Bearers end up suffering this in Divided Rainbow as a result of the Swap.
  • In Shatterheart Syaoran hides in his room to escape the group's antipathy towards him, only coming out for his basic needs and chess matches. Kurogane slowly breaks him out of it.

    Film 
  • This seems to be the allegorical premise of Kairo (later remade into Pulse), wherein people who find a haunted website withdraw from society and eventually disappear altogether.
  • Ima, boku wa (review) is about a hikikomori who is forced to deal with the outside world when his mother finds him a job. Then she dies.
  • The title character in Little Voice almost never leaves her room in her mother's apartment, spending all her time listening to her deceased father's vinyl records and perfectly imitating the singers' performances.
  • Tokyo! : the main theme of one of the three chapters, "Shaking Tokyo," is an exploration of hikikomori and its interference with the victim's need for love.
  • The Glutton victim from Seven. He even had his groceries delivered.
  • Columbus in Zombieland, prior to the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Castaway On The Moon is about a suicidal man turned castaway, because he can't swim off a tiny island in the middle of Seoul. The only person who notices him there is a young hikikomori woman, who eventually risks the outdoors to communicate with the man on the island (with elaborate schemes to get out unnoticed by anyone in the dead of night).

    Literature 
  • Twilight: Bella Swan is like this in New Moon after Edward moves away to protect her.
  • The self-proclaimed otaku in World War Z was one, and spent all his time on Image Boards discussing trivia and obscure facts. When The Outbreak starts, he spends his time dedicating himself to researching how to defend yourself from zombies, zombie information, and what Japan would do to protect himself, going so far as to hack into doctors studying the infection for e-fame. He gets so obsessed that it's a long time before he realizes the entire city has been infected.
  • In House of Leaves, Johnny Truant becomes one, after working on The Navidson Record for a while. It has an unhealthy affect on any reader's sanity... including yours, dear reader.
  • Eri Asai from Haruki Murakami's novel After Dark. After being deprived of a normal childhood because of her hectic modeling career, she abruptly locked herself in her room and went into deep periods of sleep, awakening only to eat and use the bathroom.
  • Older Than Radio: Ilya Ilyich Oblomov, the protagonist of the eponymous novel by Ivan Goncharov (1859), goes in a self-imposed exile from public life, not leaving his Saint Petersburg apartment for years. What's most interesting here is that such behavior wasn't seen as something really extraordinary for a wealthy Russian landlord — a class that had such high proportion of oddballs and weirdos that you might seem out of the line if you didn't have any eccentricities.
  • Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov from Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. The unhealthy amount of time he spends in his cramped, dingy apartment (emulating his mental state at the time) is theorized to be a contributing factor to the murders he commits.
  • Except to purchase food (and the next copy of Misery's romantic escapades, of course), Annie from Stephen King's Misery rarely if ever leaves her secluded cabin.
  • In the short comic "The Forever Box" by Sarah Mesinga (anthologized in Flight), the main character shuts herself in a magical time machine box with her books, laptop, and DVD's after the death of her brothers.
  • The Once-ler from Dr. Seuss's The Lorax is most definitely this, although he does tell his story for a small fee.
  • The Millenium saga, by Stieg Larrson, has a recurring secondary hikikomori character with the class-A hacker Plague, who suffers from social seclusion at a point that he is officially recognized as "socially incompetent" by the State and given a disability allowance.
  • Mommy is one in the beginning of The Fire-Us Trilogy. This causes problems when the family has to leave home.
  • The Protagonist in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is an example of this, hiding himself away from the world after developing leprosy.
  • In the backstory of Unnatural Issue, Richard Whitestone spends the bulk of his widowerhood in his chambers and library on the second floor of his country manor. He would have remained comparatively harmlessnote  had he not gotten fixated on bringing his wife back.
  • In A Macabre Myth of a Moth-Man, Ozzy is agoraphobic and refuses to leave the home he set up after escaping the lab. He monitors the world through a TV he rigged up, and has Moth-Man run various favors for him. Brett also stayed indoors quite a lot before dating Nina, because of a skin condition that made him sunburn very easily. After he discovered being out in the sun caused him to contract Melanoma, he stayed inside to such an extreme that his friends became very worried.
  • This is the lifestyle of choice for Spacers of Solaria in Isaac Asimov's The Naked Sun. Each Solarian inhabits his or her own nation sized 'estate' physically remote from their fellows. Husbands and wives share estates but have separate quarters and meet only on rare and uncomfortable occasions. All this is enabled by highly advanced holographic communications and innumerable robots.
  • Two of the top five players in OASIS are directly described as being this in Ready Player One. It takes one of them getting killed by the Corrupt Corporate Executive to get the other to leave his home and find safety.
  • Miss Havisham in "Great Expectations", who reacts to being jilted on her supposed wedding day by locking herself away in one room of her house for Thirty years.

    Live Action TV 
  • Barney Miller once had one of these. He wouldn't answer the census, or some such, and they hauled him out of his apartment. He had a huge greenhouse and all kinds of things to take care of himself. He nearly faints upon seeing a woman. He's been locked in his apartment for so long that he doesn't know who won World War II and is mildly pertubed when the Japanese-American Yemana says, "We did."
  • Endgame: Arkady Balagan after witnessing the death of his fiancee. He shuts himself up in a hotel.
  • Tsuyoshi in Sh15uya is revealed to have been one prior to having been put into the virtual Shibuya.
  • Curtis from the Canadian series Twitch City can be interpreted as a Western example. He's an agoraphobic Canadian TV otaku who never leaves his Toronto apartment if he can possibly help it.
  • The title character of Monk, Detective Adrian Monk, was a complete shut-in immediately after his wife's death. The canon story was that while he was always a neurotic freak, Trudy Monk was the one person who helped him keep his anxieties at bay and function normally. Once she died, he had a Heroic BSOD and shut himself up in his San Francisco home, not leaving for three years straight. It isn't until the arrival of his nurse Sharona that he starts transitioning back into society — well, transitioning as best as Mr. Monk can. Even as the series progresses, Mr. Monk is still getting used to simple things like going outside.
    • Later on it's revealed that his brother Ambrose has the same condition, though Ambrose hasn't gotten over his. He's eventually forced outside by Monk because his house was on fire.
  • Psych had a one-shot hikikomori character who only went out on Thursdays to the convenience store and to buy video games. Once-a-day/week/month trips to a convenience store an extremely common hikikomori trait (as is only going out to buy games/anime/manga/etc).
  • House once had a hikikomori as a Patient of the Week.
  • Wataru Kurenai, the eponymous Kamen Rider Kiva, starts off the series like this. The first time we see him he's covered from head to toe, including a stocking cap, protective goggles, and a face mask because he thinks he's "allergic to the world" and communicates mostly using a notebook full of pre-written responses. For these reasons (plus the unusually fancy Western-style house he lives in), the locals call him "Ghost Boy"note . Cool Big Sis Megumi manages to get him out of the "containment suit" and actually speaking pretty early on, but he's still extremely shy and introverted for most of the series. Then he suffers a Heroic BSOD following Mio's death, but he comes back from it a true Bad Ass.
  • In one episode of Nowhere Man, Tom encounters an orphan who has not left his house since his parents' death, living off delivery items he is able to pay for with the money he got by writing a brilliant piece of software for a venture capital firm.
  • In the live-action Hell Girl series, one of Ai's clients is a male hikikomori whose father has been murdered. The episode takes an unflinching look at his self-inflicted isolation and the pain it causes both him and his father. It's a Tear Jerker that conveys the tragedy of such a lifestyle better than any simple denunciation of slackers could.
  • In K9, Professor Gryffen becomes this after having accidentally killed his wife and children in a science experiment. He manages to overcome this in Eclipse of the Korven at the end of season one.
  • Played for Laughs in The Big Bang Theory episode "The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification." Sheldon becomes obsessed with extending his life expectancy. Deciding that the outside world is too dangerous, he shuts himself in his room and builds a remote-controlled "Mobile Virtual Presence Device," equipped with a monitor, camera and speakers so that he can interact with others.
  • One episode of Wonderfalls concerns a morbidly obese man who hasn't left his trailer for a very long time. It turns out that he actually isn't morbidly obese anymore, but he still sees himself as fat. At one point, the protagonist Jaye admits to him that a part of her envies the Hikikomori lifestyle, and that she'd be tempted to try it if she thought her family would leave her alone.
  • Twin Peaks has Harold Smith, who's secluded nature is actually due to agoraphobia (a fear of open spaces).
  • An episode of The Pretender had Jarod helping a woman who had not left her home since being raped a second time. This was actually intentional on the rapist's part, as the second rapist was actually the first rapist, who attacked her again because she had been recovering from the first assault.
  • Stephen Kepler in Dollhouse is this, or so it would seem...
  • Dorothy has a run-in with one in an episode of The Golden Girls when she's helping Sophia with Meals on Wheels. Martin Mull plays a hikikomori who hasn't left his apartment since the '60s because it's "just too hard out there".
  • Mollwitz in Fame. He's 38 and living with his mother, who doesn't allow him to talk to women. He has an office job, but refuses to actually do work or talk to people.

    Music 
  • In the Pink Floyd album The Wall, the main character Pink shuts himself in his hotel room half way through the album, after his wife leaves him. Although this is darkly subverted when his manager literally breaks down the door to force him to perform that night, casing him to crack and lose what little sanity he had left and become even worse.
  • The Simon & Garfunkel song "I Am A Rock" is basically the Hikikomori theme song.
  • Nerdcore artist Ultraklystron has a single devoted to this.
  • Entertainment for the Braindead portrays herself this way in some of her song lyrics. In "Resolution" she has to resolve to "leave the house at least once a day", and in "Relapse" she says, "I don't plan on leaving the house this year / If by then you still remember me, you'll find me here".
  • The song Flowers On The Wall is apparently about someone who is afraid to come out of his room.
  • Shintarou of Jin (Shizen no Teki-P)'s Kagerou project is a hikikomori but is slowly being helped from his situation by the Mekakushi Dan.
  • Zola Jesus have a song called Hikikomori.
  • "Isolated" by Chiasm is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Alison Moyet - "Invisible", which reflected her real life situation for many years.
  • The video to Kim Wilde's Kids in America is about an agoraphobe, despite the song's lyrics.
  • Oingo Boingo's song "Private Life" is about a man who wants someone to save him from his room, his lack of friends, and his porn magazines.

    Theatre 
  • Laura in The Glass Menagerie.
  • Princeton becomes this at the end of Act 1 of Avenue Q. The second act opens with his friends coming to get him... after two weeks. Good to know they care.
  • RENT: Between Collins' departure and the "one magic night" Roger has barely left his house if at all.
  • In the third scene of Vanities, Kathy has holed up in an unidentified friend's apartment after a nervous breakdown due to her obsession with "an organized life". She copes with it by reading all the books she was assigned but never read in college, which leads her to become a novelist in the final scene of The Musical.

    Video Games 
  • The protagonist of Hikkikomori RPG is a Hikikomori.
  • Madotsuki, the protagonist of Yume Nikki, or at least that's one interpretation of her. She has issues.
    • She would literally rather die than go outside. Her blood goes on to fertilize gardens upon gardens of Epileptic Trees.
  • Patchouli Knowledge, a recurring character in the Touhou series, has apparently not left the library of Scarlet Devil Mansion for over a century, making her an extreme example of the trope. In keeping with the stereotype, her obsessive studies have rendered her one of the strongest magic users in canon, but a combination of anemia, asthma, and lack of Vitamin A leave her incapable of fully utilizing them most of the time.
    • It's worth noting that her popularity has kept having her return as a playable character in Immaterial and Missing Power and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody and as a partner in Subterranean Animism, not to mention being in a great many doujinshi, so it should be said that her Hikikomori status was rather suddenly ended by the events of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil.
    • Also Kaguya Houraisan, who hid in and never left the Eientei, which leads her to be called a NEET. The 4koma series Life of Maid has Patchy getting along rather famously with her during the beach vacation arc. Though this is a reflection of the time period in which she lived when she first arrived on earth: Japanese noblewomen weren't expected to go outside very much at all.
    • Satori Komeiji also counts, since humans' and other youkai's hatred of her being able to read their minds caused her to isolate herself in the Palace of the Earth Spirits with only her many pets for company. Even then she spends most of her time in her room, reading and writing books.
  • In the fourth Ace Attorney game, Vera Misham has spent over seven years living alone with her father in an art studio. Their only contact with the outside world is through a mailbox. When Vera is forced to leave, she is extremely quiet and shy: when the protagonist tries to meet her, she hides out of his sight for a half hour before he realizes she's there.
  • Geo Stelar in Mega Man Star Force, though only for the first game.
  • Mizutani Eri, one of the idols in The Idolmaster: Dearly Stars. She used to be an Internet idol, but her manager coerced her into making a real-life debut as she was recovering.
  • Henry Townshend of Silent Hill 4 was The Quiet One even before he woke up one morning and found himself literally locked in his own apartment. While his shut-in-ness is supernaturally enforced by a malevolent spirit, none of his neighbors show much concern that they haven't seen him for days.
  • Takumi in Chaos;Head game, as mentioned in the Anime/Manga section.
  • Endrance in .hack//G.U.. As Haseo converses more with him through email, he reveals information about how buys everything online, doesn't go out to eat (his mother cooks his meals), and lives with his parents even at age 20. Combined with the fact that he's almost constantly logged in to The World (he only goes offline to eat and sleep) and that he's borderline underweight make him a pitiable hiki indeed. He's at least willing to change; he says he'd leave his home to meet with Haseo, for instance.
  • The Pokémon Sewaddle (Japanese Name: Kurumiru) evolves into Swadloon (Kurumaryu), the appearance of which is based on the Hikikomori archtype (specifically, of the "Hikikomori hiding under a blanket" stereotype). Swadloon specifically eats fallen leaves, much like the "fed by slices of food slid under the door" stereotype of severe Hikikomoris. Furthering/cementing the comparison, it evolves into Leavanny (Hahakomori) via happiness, which is one of this generation's Cute Monster Girl Pokémon (much like Lopunny is in Generation IV).
  • The Nintendo DS version of Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side 2 adds, as one of its bonus characters, Komori Taku. Playing his route requires the heroine to draw him out of his shell and convince him to start coming to school.
  • People with Apathy Syndrome in Persona 3 seem to become this from the normal people's point of view, although there are some who can be seen in streets.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, most folks assume Mister House is basically one of these, what with the whole "communicates solely via robo-messenger", "your character is the first one into that hotel in generations" and "hasn't been seen by anyone since the Great War" schticks. If you work for him, or basically just ignore him, you're free to think the same. If, for any reason, you attempt to kill or otherwise disable him, you find out he's basically been inside a life-support pod for over two centuries that's hooked up to his entire hotel's security and control systems, as well as remote-access to any of the mass-produced robots he supplies.
  • Merrill of Dragon Age II becomes one in Act III of the game as she becomes more and more obsessed with the Eluvian; she only leaves the house to buy food, and one of her friends even starts having groceries delivered to her to make sure she actually eats.
  • In Little Busters!, Kyousuke slowly starts turning into one of these in Refrain, spending all of his time in his room with the light off reading manga and only eating bread, to the point where his roommate gets freaked out and stays with his friend instead. There's a bit more to the situation than just this, though, and what Kyousuke's also working on turns out to be very, very important.
  • The King/the original Kazuaki in Hatoful Boyfriend became this in the depths of depression, though he had the one friend who made going and doing things more worthwhile. And who assisted his suicide and stole his identity. In the alternate universe comic where he survived to later become a teacher he discovered that someone else in his apartment block had died, became obsessed with the idea that if he stayed in his apartment all the time he'd die too, and left and made that friend in better circumstances.
  • Aeon from Skullgirls universe is said to be a shut-in otaku. This example is particularly amusing because she's the game's goddess of time. We actually get a preview of her hikikomori tendencies in the end of Double's story mode, where she's revealed to have a bunch of doujin magazines and a copy of ''Skullgirls''.
  • Kouta Meoshi in Sweet Fuse At Your Side is a shut-in who has dropped out of high school and spends all his time at home playing video games. On his route, he eventually explains why: as a child, he was the only witness to a terrible traffic accident, and although he wanted to help he was too scared and upset by the experience and by the police's intensive questioning to be able to tell them what he'd seen until it was too late to be of any help. Meoshi was left so eaten up by feelings of guilt and uselessness that he could no longer bear to interact with others, instead immersing himself in video games as a means of feeling he was still good for something.
  • The visual novel Nowhere Safe and its sequel star a female hikkikomori.
  • Kaoru Watabe from The King of Fighters was this prior to KoF '97 due to her being an Ill Girl and being confined to a wheelchair, which left her unable to communicate with other people. She slowly gets better with the help of Athena and her teammates and when she finally meets them, she became friends with them.

    Web Comics 
  • Not usually, but when her friends are absent for a while, Jodie from Loserz becomes this here.
  • Marigold from Questionable Content started out as one (or very close to one. She obsessed over anime (especially hentai), works on a family company website from home and almost never leaves her apartment. Once she's introduced to the other characters, she begins to leave the apartment more.
    • Hannelore used to qualify too, before we saw her. She suffers from some very severe OCD, and before the comic, she was a nervous wreck, incapable of surviving without assistance. When she is finally able to hug her father without freaking out from human contact, everyone present who knew her only as a child is shocked. By the time she appeared in the comic, while she wasn't exactly outgoing, she had advanced beyond this trope, as was much happier for it.
  • Dr. Schlock from Sluggy Freelance has been devolving into a shut in after taking charge of Hereti corp, often using video conferencing or inflatable decoys to communicate with people while staying locked in his office. His growing list of enemies and set backs is not being kind to his sanity.
  • Rob, a side character in Ménage ŕ 3, lives in the same building with the protagonists, and appearently hasn't left his apartment since the '80s.
  • Tower of God: Jaina Repellista Zahard is one of Zahard's Princesses, but ever since she got that sweet lighthouse she never left her room, spending her days spying on the tower and playing video games like Skyrim.
  • Cadis Etrama Di Raizel from Noblesse used to be this. He would never leave his mansion unless personally summoned by the Lord of Lukedonia.

    Web Original 
  • Nessiah is a borderline case in Dept Heaven Apocrypha. He wasn't originally anywhere near this bad, but let's just say various things happened. He has been known to venture out of his room every now and again, but this is usually for necessity's sake, and someone is almost always with him.
  • In the "Okkusenman" video, During a scene where the protagonist wonders about his childhood friends, one of them is shown as having become one.
  • The Nostalgia Chick has been established as a pitiful shut-in... sometimes. Depends on the episode.
  • In SOTF-TV, Harold Finston Smythe could easily be a Western example of this trope. While he does go to school, he finds the experience traumatic both due to extremely poor social skills and being seen as a stalker by most of his classmates. As a result he could easily be described as a geeky shut-in who spends most of his time on the computer otherwise. When he gets to the island he doesn't take it well.
  • In The Guild, Codex starts off with no job, friends or life outside of the MMORPG she plays, and she stays indoors for weeks at a time. Part of the reason she gets the titular guild to meet in person is to try and meet people in real life.

    Western Animation 
  • Stoop Kid from Hey Arnold!. He gets better.
    • Phoebe becomes this when she farts into a microphone and the entire school makes fun of her. She is cured when Arnold convinces her to return to school, where she delivers a Take That speech to her schoolmates about her farting.
  • Marge from The Simpsons becomes a hikki following an encounter with a thief with a gun in the episode "Strong Arms of the Ma". It's actually a somewhat realistic portrayal.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants becomes one for an episode following a sports accident and a vague threat from his doctor about an "iron butt."
  • In Angela Anaconda, Josephine's mother is Agorophobic and never leaves the house. Angela pretends to develop Agorophobia but then starts to get Cabin Fever. Hilarity Ensues.
  • On Daria she and Jodie attend an orientation at a prestigious private school with their families. There, it is mentioned that a vast percent of the school's graduates go to Ivy League schools, while the remaining mostly decide to "take a break" from strenuous academic activities. Or buttoning their own clothes.
  • Ren and Stimpy: "Hermit Ren", in which he goes mad from the isolation.
  • In Undergrads, Gimpy will only leave his room when absolutely necessary. He even avoids going home to his family on Christmas vacation.
    • In one episode, Nitz isolates himself in his own room out of frustration out of being nothing but a forgettable Generic Guy to everyone. Ironically, this ends up making him more memorable to the student body.
  • The Batman's version of The Cluemaster is a villainous version of this trope. After losing on a game show, and an attempt to sue the show for fraud failed, he became a Basement-Dweller, and stewed in his own hatred over having been seemingly cheated out of winning. During the time between his loss and the show itself, he developed a intricate revenge for the host and producer of the show, and the person he lost to. He has dwarves for minions, and his own mother seems to have been brainwashed.
  • Rapunzel in Tangled, playing true with the original fairy tale. Gothel also tricks her into thinking legitimately that she doesn't need to leave the tower by using fear to keep her inside. She naturally gets better.
  • Anna and Elsa in Frozen - However, Anna is very willing to leave Arrendele's palace, Elsa, on the other hand, is too afraid that someone will be hurt.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Suited For Success", the failure of the initial fashion show using the other Mane Five's own dress designs causes Rarity to have a Heroic BSOD and shut herself in for several days, considering leaving town, until they design a dress for her and have Hoity Toity hold a second fashion show with Rarity's original designs. In "Putting Your Hoof Down", Fluttershy boards herself up in her house after her Jerkass Realization for fear of hurting otherponies with her new aggressive assertiveness.
  • One appears in the The Legend of Korra episode "Rebirth", a shut in 22 year old man who has gained airbending and thus the Avatar's attention (since she needs to rebuild the Air Nomads), leading to a hilarious banter as she tries to convince him to leave his house, that ends up in questiong her life choices. He's also based on the animation director.


Heir to the DojoStock Japanese CharactersThe Idiot From Osaka
Hidden Elf VillageIntroversion TropesI Work Alone
Hidden Elf VillageSolitary TropesI Just Want to Have Friends
Hero AntagonistOlder Than RadioHistorical In-Joke
Heroic Self-DeprecationCharacter Flaw IndexHis Own Worst Enemy
Axis Powers HetaliaImageSource/Anime & MangaInscrutable Oriental

alternative title(s): Shut In; Hikkikomori
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