This describes one Japanese man out of an estimated 1,000,000 who are labeled as hikikomori. Hikikomori are people who have been bullied or pressured so much that they give up on society and choose to live a life of seclusion. Often, relatives who have a mix of pity, concern, and shame, provide food and necessities. Some known cases of seclusion have lasted decades. In contrast less than 400,000 Japanese people claim to live with the hope found in Jesus Christ.
During our time in Japan, we met a few former hikikomori who now participate in their social spheres, specifically at church. One lady, who would greet us with a beautiful smile, had not smiled in years, according to her mother. The lady was a hikikomori for decades, but eventually agreed to study the Bible. After trusting Jesus as her Savior, she began to change, take part at church, and smile.
Not only are there over double the number of hikikomori than Christians, but the church, as a whole, is statistically unable to support and multiply itself. While struggling for survival, how can the church give aid to the hurt and hopeless? This is one reason why we will be moving to Japan, to teach and love the Japanese people, including the Hikikomori. However, the question remains, “What part will you have in God’s ministry in Japan?”