top of page

Newsletter No.12 ~ Quarantine and Hikikomori

Good day! Greetings from South Australia! The cold weather unexpectedly greeted us since the beginning of October although spring has arrived here with blooming flowers that enrich our sights. In this newsletter, I would like to reflect on my experience of quarantine and elaborate it to the issue of Hikikomori (socially drawn).

As explained in the last newsletter, quarantine was mandatory for anyone coming to Australia at the hotel for two weeks. We were not allowed to step out of the room at all. Since our rooms faced the backstreet of the hotel, we saw NO human beings for two weeks except for the police and Australian Defense Force persons who checked on our presence twice a day. We were given very good quality food and two clean comfortable rooms. The nurse called us every morning to check if we have any symptoms and how we feel. We appreciated the strong and caring support by our family who catered us an abundant amount of food (including home-made food), drinks, toys, flowers, and frequent video calls. Surprisingly, our day went by very quickly as we were busy with our children. Does this sound to you like a good luxurious holiday? No, not at all, unfortunately. If I would describe what our quarantine life was like, I would say it was one kind of mental torture. I tried so hard not to count how many days were left to stay in the hotel, yet there was a strong sense of helplessness and hopelessness that remained in me. Human beings need physical exercise and direct human contacts. During quarantine, I was desperately wanting to meet, talk to someone and go out.

During the two weeks, my imaginations extended to people called “Hikikomori” in Japan whom I facilitated a dance/movement therapy group for. Hikikomori means “socially withdrawn” in Japanese and defined as a person continuing to stay at home minimum for six months without having any or little contact with other human beings and no leaving the house in general. Around 610,000 people aged between 15 and 64 are estimated to live in this condition (Japan Minister for Welfare[1]), but the figures can be expected up to one million (It means 1 in 10 people are living as Hikikomori)[2]. One of my clients in my therapy group lived with this condition for 16 years. They are very vulnerable socially, economically and emotionally. My group aimed to just create connections among the participants. Over the 12-week work, the participants beautifully started to associate themselves with one another (You can read the story here). I tried to imagine hard what Hikikomoris feel like when they do not want to meet anyone and go outside. An actual mental torture is perhaps that people in this condition simply can’t go out and talk to anyone with one’s willingness. They are not just ready for it. This is simply hard. I would just like to acknowledge the presence of those people in my quarantine experience.

During lockdown in London, everyday my 2 year-old said, “Let’s go out, Mummy!” But to our surprise, he did not ask us for taking him outside during quarantine. When we started to put the shoes on after two weeks, my son said with a huge excitement, “Let’s go out!” This was simply moving. As we stepped out of the room, all of sudden, I just felt the tensions that had been stored in my body for so long were releasing immediately and I started to cry!

Adelaide, where I live is now in lockdown for six days after 23 cases were confirmed (as of 19th November 2020). We are not allowed to go out of the house at all (except for essential grocery shopping and any other medical reasons), which is a tougher restriction imposed on South Australians. I have started a new job as a dance/movement psychotherapist last week and now the work has come to a halt. In this uncertain time, I hope we all can stay kind to one another. All of you, please keep yourself and others safe. Thank you again, those who are giving me encouraging words and feedbacks. I truly appreciate that.

Subscribe Newsletter- Click Here

ニュースレターNo.12 ~ホテル自己隔離と引きこもり



 自己隔離の2週間、私は引きこもりの人達のことに思いを巡らした。引きこもりの女性たちにダンスセラピーグループをした経験がある。厚生労働省の発表では、61万人が引きこもっているが、実際は100万人を超えるといわれている[3]。 私が出会ったクライエントの中には16年間引きこもった女性もいた。グループの目的は、参加者の中でつながりを作ること、関係を作ることに集中することであった。12週のワークの中で、言語を介さず、ムーブメントを通して一人ひとりが他の人と素敵な関係づくりをできていくのを見ることができた。引きこもりの人たちは、誰にも会いたくない、外出する気にならない、というのが一体どんな気持ちで、どんなことなのか、自己隔離中一生懸命私は想像をした。本当の精神的拷問とは、引きこもりの状況にある人が、自分の意志で誰とも会いたくなかったり、外出したくなかったりという酷な現実ではないだろうか。彼らは社会化の準備ができていないのだ。これは大変なことだ。この自己隔離の経験の中で、引きこもりの人についてここで思いを馳せたい。


 アデレードは、11月19日現在で、23人の感染が確認されたのを受けて、6日間の完全ロックダウンに入りました。スーパーと薬局へ行く以外は、外出は一切禁止され、厳しい制限がかけられています。私は先週ダンスセラピストとして仕事を始めたばかりでしたが、この仕事も一旦停止となりました。先行きが見えない状況の中ですが、お互いに優しくしていければいいなと思っています。皆さんもどうぞご自愛ください。ニュースレターをお読みくださってありがとうございます。もしコメント、フィードバックがあればぜひお願いします (。みなさんもお気をつけてお過ごしください。

[1] [2] [3]

1 view0 comments


bottom of page