, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 283–304 | Cite as

Japanese post-modern social renouncers: An exploratory study of the narratives of Hikikomori subjects

  • Nicolas Tajan
Original Article


The aim of this research is to transmit and comment on the authentic voices of socially withdrawn subjects and to contribute toward refining subjective inquiry in contemporary Japan. Here, I detail the cases of four individuals visiting Japanese Non Profit Organizations between August 2011 and August 2012. In accordance with my findings, I define socially withdrawn individuals as post-modern social renouncers. Hikikomori should not be reduced to a mental disorder but should be seen as an idiom of distress and a modality where one can recognize him/herself as a subject, or a mode of enjoyment. I suggest ways of improving qualitative methodology and directions for future research at the intersection of cultural history, anthropology, and subjectivity theory.


Hikikomori Lacan Japan narratives social withdrawal subjectivity 



The author thank the Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University, for welcoming him during a first stay between 14 April 2011 and 14 June 2012, a second stay between 5 October 2012 and 1 December 2013, and a third stay from 4 April 2014 to 31 March 2015. This work was supported by the Japan Foundation [2010]; the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Post-Doctoral Fellowship [short-term] for North American and European Researchers, through a Nominative Authority [CNRS], 2012); and Canon Foundation in Europe Fellowship [2014].


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolas Tajan
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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