‘’The Hikikomori Can Turn the Tables’’ – an interview with Dr. SAITO Tamaki

Respect Each Individuals No Matter What

Saito: Regrettably, in the current society there is a hellish picture where the weak (criminal) attack the weak (victim), just as in the recent case of the Sagamihara Incident. Like you can only sustain yourself by accusing those who you think are weaker than you.


The notion like ‘those who cannot contribute to the society should die’ creates class consciousness even among weak people. They need to turn back to respect each other no matter how it’s difficult to do so. Only by that way, I think they can unite.

In that sense, I think this is not easy at all, but I want the Hikikomori Newspapers become a good example of respecting each individual under any circumstances.

Plus, there are some people that can go to far places, even though they can’t go around their neighborhood. Mr. Minoru Katsuyama is a good example. He has established a stronghold in Wakayama to do a lot of activities.

. There should be a place where you don’t need to worry about the neighbors’ eyes. If that is a national organization, you can contact people in a nationwide scale.

Furthermore, if that nationwide group is functioning well, it can judge as authorized organizations, whether an organization is ethically good or not.

That can be a very useful measurement for those who are looking for good groups.

In that way, I think the national union is more powerful or reliable.


―Some say ‘Why is it now to establish the JUH?’


As far as I know it, the hikikomori don’t like to unite very much because they despise each other.

The Sagamihara Incident is the extreme example. ‘The disabled don’t have the right to live.’

That comes from the peculiar Japanese way of thinking that those who cannot become the help of others have no value.

In the Western world, there is individualism. There human rights are heaven-sent, so each person has his/her own value regardless of handicaps.


Closed society of Japan can easily lead to the way of thinking that only helpful people can be valuable.

I really want people to get out of that way of thinking: ‘Handicapped people are valueless’ and ‘the hikikomori are valueless.’  These two are closely connected.


I want you to insist that you have your own value even if you don’t do anything.

But in the hikikomori situation you don’t have leisure to think that far.

The hikikomori are inclined to be weirdly on the side of general social value, and they watch themselves from that position. That way they think as if they were wrong because they can’t fit the society very well.

I don’t believe you have to think that way.

But if you have no leisure you are easily drawn to the vicious circles.


Publishing something like the Hikikomori Newspapers, there are always rejections from the people who think the publishers are doing well without any physical or mental problems. They would say ‘are you guys really the hikikomori concerned or experienced?’


You have got to face bashings. All I can say is, “don’t be overwhelmed by that.” The society, and even the other concerned, they both are sure to bash you. Please prepare for it and deal with it severely.


―We would like to select and award some groups that are really good from the viewpoint of the hikikomori. We want to name it as ‘Tamaki Saito Award.’


Saito: Hahaha (laughs). That is not good. No good at all. Some people take me on the side of medical excellence. I would be bashed very badly. Please don’t do it.