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:
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 I know it means ‘withdrawn’ but please teach me more about the word.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 – hiddenrelinquished – 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.