Learn new vocabulary by reading the news

Living in Japan, I am always interested when I find news articles about the country, and today I found a good one.

What was it about? Well, to my Japanese readers, here is your first clue:

 A comic strip from Welcome to NHK!

(from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23182523)

Second clue: It’s about a word that has recently appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as “In Japan: abnormal avoidance of social contact.” Have my Japanese readers got it yet?

I’ll give you another clue if you need it: The article headline is: Why are so many Japanese men refusing to leave their rooms?

Gottit? (Have you got it?)

Well, unless you are Japanese, or have recently swallowed the OED, the word ‘hikikomori’ won’t mean much to you. Could any of my readers explain the kanji and meaning to me, please? I know it means ‘withdrawn’ but please teach me more about the word.

The article itself, from the BBC here, is challenging for non-native speakers, but these words which I have explained below may help you. Please ask for the meanings of any other words you don’t understand.

holed up – hidden

relinquished – gave up
struck by – found particularly interesting
sought – past tense of seek – to look for
profound – deep, intense, severe
tormented – experiencing severe mental or physical suffering
pawing – touching like an dog does with its paw when asking for food
trigger – to cause
comparatively slight – relatively/ quite small (slight is the opposite of profound)
conspire – seem to be working together to bring about a particular negative result
prospect – possibility
stand out – be easily noticeable
onset – start
recalcitrant – uncooperative

driven to extreme measures – forced to take strong action

give someone a dressing down – to severely reprimand someone ( to tell someone off)

intervention – an occasion on which a person with a behavioural problem is confronted to try to persuade them to address/deal with the issue

briefed – instructed or informed thoroughly

arming – providing

ruefully – expressing sorrow or regret, especially in a humorous way

I hope these help! Enjoy the article.

 

 

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Learn new vocabulary by reading the news」への4件のフィードバック

  1. Yes, ” Hikikomori-引きこもり-withdrawn” is a big problem in Japan. As the article said, most of HIkikomori people are men. Women might be stronger in any hard situations mentally than men. Men have definitely stronger muscles than women though. ” Ibasho-居場所- a safe place, a comfortable place, a relaxing place” in the article, the Japanese people often say ” Ibasho ga nai- can’t find a comfortable place, there isn’t a safe and relaxing place”, but I feel like men say that more than women.
    Women must be able to find the comfortable place in any situations more than men. In my childhood, such a word ” hikikomori”, I feel I never heard it. Computers and cellphones appeared then people have needed to communicate with others face to face less than before. People have been able to enjoy their own favorite world using them. Therefore, I think one of the reasons of increasing “Hikikomori” originated from them.
    I hope the phenomenon of ” HIkikomori” will lessen than now.

    • Thank you for your comments on this topic, Yuria. It is interesting that you think the problem has got worse since the age of computers began. So am I right in thinking that hiki means ‘pull’? What about ‘komori?

  2. Yes, you’re right! ” HIKI” means ” PULL”. And ” KOMORI” means ” STAYING INSIDE AND INDOORS, RETIRING FROM THE WORLD”.
    Then ” HKIKOMORI” means ” MAKING A PERSON PULL FROM OUTSIDE
    TO INSIDE BY THE PERSON’S INWARD REASONS and PROBLEMS THEN KEEPING ON STAYING IN THE SAME PLACE or ONE PLACE ALL THE TIME “. It’s really serious social issue in Japan.

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