, begining of the Tatatmi Age.jpg
>The average age of hikikomori also seems to have risen over the last two decades. Before it was 21 - now it is 32.
Well, most brohnos were 21 when /tc/ started...
But no, seriously: my impression is that is going both ways. At the late 90's most known hiki were guys in her late teens who had failed either high school or college exams, becoming ronin NEET; they indeed started to get noticed because some of their parents asked for help, but I'm sure there was already a fair amount of 30+ year old men who became hiki out of rising unemployment and whose enablers would never talk about because of shame. Also, many kids in elementary and middle school seem to have started to seclude themselves either because of bullying or academical pressure at school (traumatic intensive courses for underachievers). Finally, there is the collapse in Japan's birth rates and high peek in celibacy: 40% of japanese men on their 20´s are currently virgins; young men have grown either unable or unwilling to lead the (endlessly disappointing) romantic and familiar life over which society builds itself, therefore lacking on motivation to go out at all; at the same time, fast speed internet now provides with most of the stimuli they need right in their rooms (and children get into technology more and more early). So it's fair to infer that Japan has now hikikomori of all ages.
>Neets, freeters, hikikomori - these were ways of describing the good-for-nothing younger generation, parasites on the flagging Japanese economy. The older generation, who graduated and slotted into steady careers in the 1960s and 1970s, could not relate to them.
I do think the hikikomori phenomenon is spreading into occident, absolutely, but just at the same speed at which japanese pop/otaku culture (the main label holders, including MMORPG addict gamers) has done it and of course not as much as the NEET phenomenon as a whole (I mean, there sure are hordes of NEET out there, but not that much locked in their rooms). However, insanely enough, I do not necessarly see this as a social tragedy; sometimes I like to think that, although quite unconsciously, herbivore men have started a sort of Lennon-esque "bed-in" massive protest against the social order based on family that had prevailed on Earth over the years; if ever becoming widespread, I imagine this as a coin tossing moment that can lead either to our extinction or evolution as sentient beings, no longer bounded to sexual reproduction and the biological condition in general. But I don't think any of us will live on to see that new age, if ever coming at all.
>Hikikomori are seen as predominantly male... However, an internet survey by NHK found just 53% to be male
Actual female hikikomori, just like 3DPDs in general, remain an utter mystery to me. My best guess is that they partake on it merely as an extension of the fujoshi label, within the general men-surrogate possible roles for women in postmodern age... i.e. that hikikomori is really just a male phenomenon, with no female niche specificity at all; but I'm interested into hearing other opinions about it.
>"I think my son is losing the power or desire to do what he wants to do"... "Maybe he used to have something he wanted to do but I think I ruined it."
Yes indeed: I think this is pretty much what happens. Thought it's not necessarly the parents fault, but society's as a whole: people no longer having dreams within the expectations of the previous generations, might be due to us entering a new stage that needs new values and mechanisms if it doesn't want to collapse under its own lethargy. The cause of it all (IMO): the current disparity between our scientific/technological growth and our philosophical/moral tools to handle it.