Comments: 1404 • Responses: 59  • Date: 

RooSparkles815 karma

What are some "normal" things that most people do without thinking twice that still seem like too much for you?

_Hieon1224 karma

Going outside. Sometimes I didn't have anything to eat but I would either procrastinate or be too wary of going out so I end up just sleeping it off or fast inadvertently.

negasonic1719 karma

Why not enter a career in your majors, like teaching or writing?

_Hieon687 karma

I had been an instructor in music and general aid before the whole mess. I think it might be an option later but for now I feel how quiet and socially awkward I am wouldn't suffice such a job for now. I rarely speak in front of anyone.

Patsson77328 karma

How did you start becoming a hikkomori? Did it start off as simply staying in more often or was it simply one large transformative moment?

_Hieon417 karma

I never decided to nor thought of myself as one...just stopped and abandoned everything and gave up on myself.

rickypaipie251 karma

How are you doing right now?

_Hieon336 karma

Still not going out almost everyday. Very little actual work or going out for grocery. No feeling towards anything.

dombo4life176 karma

Do you have any long term goals or will you be focussing on short term goals? What are those goals?

Good luck with your change!

_Hieon187 karma

Perhaps too farfetched and insane but I would want to achieve immortality. Investing a lot of my asset into senolytic drugs and supplement and kind of fasting/caloric restricting to an absurd amount of durations.

Short term...I guess having more reasons to go outside.

ThatDIYCouple101 karma

What made you decide that instead of wanting to kill yourself you want to live forever? Do you want to live forever alone and as a recluse, or do you want to love forever out in the world?

_Hieon48 karma

Even before, I thought there is no reason for me to die. So I studied biology but figured it is not really what I want as a career and I couldn't do postdoc.

Linthal28 karma

A perhaps strange question, but to achieve immortality, is staying in an organic body (I suppose your own) what you want, or would a synthetic body suffice?

_Hieon83 karma

I would think consciousness is what I am and that the physical state of being is secondary whether it would be biological or artificial, or even non-existent.

I define my physical body to be me because my consciousness is binded to it, not that the physical body affects my consciousness by any degree.

However it is evident through multiple studies that the gut microbiome can and will indeed affect your brain and cognition through its enterotype of the bacterial flora which is largely affected by your diet, hence proving "You are what you eat" argument as true somewhat.

However my argument would be that if we can eliminate the symbiosis relationship between the microbacterial flora, not just your gut, but the entire flora of your physical body composition, then perhaps that will liberate human consciousness to the full degree as we become independent and unbound to the gut microbiome's influence to brain if we can replace our body artificially as a whole in entirety.

So yes I would choose to do so.

thetruthseer6 karma

You study biology yet want to become immortal... we’re no where close to that yet?

_Hieon8 karma

Kind of true because I was accepted as astronomy major, but took mostly comp sci classes, and ended up graduating in pre-med thinking bio is appropriate. Clearly I had no good idea. Specific subset majors regarding aging are unavailable as majors for BA anyways, just prerequisite for post studies.

I hoped to eventually do postdoc in gerontology and oncology after PhD. But never pursued it due to things happening.

Davismism19 karma

If you did gain immortality, would you return to your room? How could you take the risk of leaving?

_Hieon39 karma

If I do, then yes I would probably spend most days inside. More risk of mortality from all cause when outside.

Having to gain immortality and getting hit by a car is just comical and unfair.

HeliosTheGreat9 karma

Why do you want to be immortal?

_Hieon17 karma

I started to question why we must die.

AWildWilson160 karma

Glad things are looking up.

During your time in hikikomori: how did you spend your time, what did your average day look like?

How are you coping with your lifestyle change (exiting hikikomori) now?

_Hieon260 karma

Sleeping a lot til I feel so nauseous I can't do anything. My sleep cycle was in a completely havoc and still is.

Or if I am awake then I will just do nothing mostly...just thinking. Otherwise just waste time on the internet or music.

littlesoubrette127 karma

Have you sought professional help or therapy of any kind?

_Hieon182 karma

Yes, both voluntarily and involuntarily. After my ex killed herself I was on sort of a probation and suicide watch for six months with mandatory psychotherapy sessions. Now I occasionally go see a psychiatrist to keep myself in check and talk to someone as I have no one.

whattodo-whattodo104 karma

It turns out the hikikomori is more closely related to PTSD than the other disorders. Based on what you've said, it sounds like it's true in your case.

PTSD is entirely treatable, even curable. It would seem that hikikomori is also somewhere between treatable and curable. So the question:

Given that you have access to a therapist and you've turned a corner in your own life where you now have a will to move on, have you considered more serious professional help than the one-off check in?


EDIT: Thanks /u/CabbieCam. I stand corrected. Reading Wikipedia I see that "...A disease is said to be incurable if there is always a chance of the patient relapsing, no matter how long the patient has been in remission...". So any chance of relapse over any period of time means that CBT or whatever else would be a treatment and not a cure. My use of the word "cure" was incorrect.

_Hieon64 karma

Seeing a psychiatrist kind of is relaxing, not because I am thinking that I am being treated but just having to talk to someone. So I guess I am just paying someone to talk with.

OniTan88 karma

Why did the girl's parents sue you? Did they win?

_Hieon113 karma

Yes. Both in their emotional damage compensations and restraining orders. Also was facing criminal charges for her death but was dismissed. I deserved all of it and they had every right to do so.

OniTan74 karma

How were you involved in her suicide?

_Hieon80 karma

I cannot disclose that for her sake.

DoktorThodt68 karma


_Hieon45 karma


fushiao48 karma

Were you living with your parents, did they try to intervene, if not why did they not just force you out? I’ve seen a few videos from NHK about Hikikomori and it always seems like the parents really don’t know what to do and enable their children with continuing to fund their escapist addictions to manga, video games, etc.

_Hieon61 karma

I had a very toxic relationship with my family. I disconnected from them since I was 16 and moved out, but still ran into a lot of legal troubles with them.

Treesexist_44 karma

By doing this AMA, are you hoping to achieve something, perhaps trying to understand yourself better? Are you hoping for someone to ask anything specific?

_Hieon76 karma

No...as I originally stated, I don't know why I decided to do this. Just suddenly thought of it from an impulse. Maybe I am seeking attention or in need of sense of belongingness or else unconsciously. But I'm not here to promote myself.

le_artista24 karma

Now that you are doing it - how do you feel? The same? Anything? Any change or new sensations?

_Hieon58 karma

I didn't expect sympathy. Rather I wanted to be asked of questions that I would never think of questioning onto myself to maybe bring self revelation of some sort or try to understand myself in new ways that I never considered from the other people's perspectives of who I am.

lustyoccultist5 karma

You seem like a pretty deep individual and like you have done quite a bit of thinking.

I replied to some of your other comments but ultimately, especially in regards to this comment, I want to tell you that you really need to go out and know people. I really think it could be good for you.

And when I say know people, I mean intimately know them. I think getting to know people to their core could feed some of this emptiness you're feeling. May not feel good or seem counterproductive but trust me, it is good in lots of ways.

And don't even worry about how you'll look. You're already hikkiomori and you're a former model. You do not have much to lose IMO by putting yourself out there. You are perhaps one of the most beautiful men in Japan that could approach another human. Beauty placates and relaxes people. So as long as you're very polite, I think you could go outside and interact in ANY other sort of way and be accepted so long as A.) you're polite and B.) not sexually forward. Those are the two big things to keep in mind.

Not sure if you know this but at least in my experience, beauty is an amazing social lubricant for most other people and they look past an awful lot when they are gazing upon an attractive person. It is just how we are built. I'd use that beauty of yours as a tool to interact with people in ways that you normally would not just to see what happens and to feel a sense of liberation from what I would imagine is an oppressive culture of show and status. I know enough about Japan to know that is a problem not only you but everyone else faces much to everyone's detriment.

Be outside of it. Be yourself. Just be polite.

_Hieon6 karma

Thank you for the sincere advice.

KamenAkuma42 karma

I myself am what you call a "Hikikomori" not by choice but by health and circumstance and over the past four and a half years iv read hundreds of books, watched hundreds of TV series and seen almost all movies i found interesting, i ended up resorting to anime and when i got bored of that manga, moved onto western cartoons and gone through that as well and my question is, how do you get over the repetitive grind of boredom that is everyday once you have done everything?

_Hieon42 karma

I sleep.

Gp3rog33 karma

Are you trying to understand yourself better? And if so, in what ways?

_Hieon52 karma

I talk to myself a lot. Ask and answer myself as like having two personalities. Not really doing it to be better but just became a habit.

IcyKnowledge730 karma

Whats the story behind your girlfriends suicide? What were the disputes you said, " due to me and family disputes "?

_Hieon32 karma

I cannot disclose that for her sake. But I fucked up and admitted to whatever her family demanded.

wh103627 karma

How did it feel the first time you went outside again, first small interaction with a stranger, first genuine conversation?

_Hieon39 karma

I still went out on grocery runs or shopping for necessities during night occasionally. But when I had actual reason to go out or meet someone, I felt nothing. I don't talk to strangers, neither they ever do to me because I look intimidating probably and just too quiet.

Txyaos27 karma

What inspired the change?

_Hieon22 karma

As answered previously, aging.

mutuum23 karma

Years of solitude would likely be accompanied with years of introspection. Is there anything new you learned about yourself, and/or the world, while living in isolation?

Best wishes as you rebuild community for yourself.

_Hieon30 karma

That I am quite violent in nature. Perhaps years of oppression, anxiety, and self degradation gradually turned into anger and vengeance.

levelupdude23 karma

What made you decide to change and be better? More elaboration please. :)

_Hieon48 karma

I am afraid, and also do not want to age.

And so the realization that I need to be financially active at least to preserve my life, not because my paychological state is any better than before. I would say worse; just ever so slowly rotting.

frankIIe22 karma

Hi OP! Congratulations on your decision to walk out of withdrawal! You said what triggered your change of attitude is the fear of aging. Can you elaborate more about the events that lead you there mentally? You probably have the power to help others in a similar situation. Thank you!

_Hieon36 karma

My parents were abusive and controlling. My first suicide attempt was when my biological father choked me. I questioned myself why I was born into this family and had negative influences forced into my persona.

I never wanted to despise my family; I ever wanted, and still want a good family. But because of their presence in my formative years, my psychology developed to be against them and structured in the ways I never wished to be. So I always hated that I possess an unwanted consciousness.

But I began to think that if I had a good family background and good development of myself during the formative year, then I would probably feel too comfortable with life and accept that I am happy. But I thought to myself that the negative influences on my consciousness are part of hormesis that made me to realize I have to deter away these stresses and think of stress as the reason to survive; that stress is the reason for my existence to survive against it. And that I would take whatever means to prolong myself and be alive against them, and against the people who are driving me into hormesis unwillingly. Because it is my animal instinct to survive.

So I took that as a reason to live forever, because there is no reason not to.

math-yoo19 karma

If you don’t go out, how do you manage to earn enough money to support yourself?

_Hieon21 karma

Never did. I lived off of my previous savings, lasted me enough and still can for maybe a decade but I would need to be very frugal.

math-yoo15 karma

Previous savings from what? I’m confused. You don’t look old enough to have savings.

_Hieon23 karma

I am probably a lot older than you think I am from my appearance.

Number7-Defective17 karma

How do you like modeling? Have you thought about working in a biology lab one day?

_Hieon21 karma

I only graduated and never had any work experiences in science. So unqualified probably.

cosmicdissonance115 karma

From what I understand you're a hermit and a social recluse with a tough past which you have blocked out and/or abandoned. Your interests in music and biology seem quite traditional and understandable. What compelled you to pursue fashion modeling?

_Hieon21 karma

Never that I wanted to do so, but I always took care of my physical health both internally and externally. Got hired once and began to get gigs from there. So I did it for financial benefits not for passion.

Hugo-Drax14 karma

what are ur thoughts on the increasing amount of hikikomoris in Japanese culture? i have been taught that the digital age is a large influence on this increase

edit: congrats on trying to make a change :)

_Hieon17 karma

I do not know much about Japanese culture but on a global scale especially Eastern Asian countries, it does have a negative effect on birth rate I read.

Aluthran14 karma

In your daily self therapy video you said you like to read and take walks. What sort of things do you like to read and where are your favorite places to go? I really liked that video labeled "Another day of life" and wanted to know more about you.

_Hieon21 karma

I read a ton of studies and abstracts on NCBI or Researchgate everyday, anything from med to psych. Never read actual books.

Pandasonic911 karma

What kind of music do you like to listen to or make and do you think it’s helped your mental health? I personally got into metal after a tough relationship issue and have since started to learn guitar to play some of my favorite songs.

_Hieon36 karma

Nikolai Kapustin, Hiromi Uehara, Yamandu Costa.

Sometimes it puts me in a deep emotional state, I don't know whether that is helping or not.

eris-lotuseater10 karma

Im not sure if you'll see this but I hope you do.

It's great that you're moving towards change.. slowly but surely. As someone who has had mental health issues and isolated herself.. I can relate to being a hikikomori.

Change doesn't happen overnight, it's a process and it's uncomfortable but keep pressing on. Whatever your reasons maybe for stepping out.. in your case, aging. It's okay.

Any reason is still reason enough to move forward.

Everyday you get to choose.. to make a choice and there may be days that you don't want to step out but that's okay, go out onto your porch or balcony in the mornings.. take a deep breath. Soak it all in. And try again the next day.. baby steps, friend.

I wish you well.. and if you ever get lonely or need someone to talk to, you can hit me up.

Since this is an AMA, how is it connecting with so many people on the internet, but connecting nevertheless?

_Hieon8 karma

It is nice to have questions from different perspectives that I will never question myself in such ways, and that is perhaps one of the reason why I decided to post this AMA; to better understand myself.

lokiisacat7 karma

I'm glad your slowly changing things! I appreciate people who see the need to change, and do! I have a smiliar story to yours, without the suing part.

My question is, how did you eat?

_Hieon10 karma

Always have been eating healthy as I think of each food as medicine, to a degree that I eat for the dietary benefits not for the taste nor hunger.

99.89% vegan. I consume natto daily and it says 00.11% is bonito/krill extract and I don't care much if I consume tiny amounts of animal products. I am not an animal activist nor vegan for the sake of being a vegan, just that I don't find any reason to consume animal products.

phi_array7 karma

How the hell did u managed to do all that?

_Hieon30 karma

I didn't do them all at once, double majored in four years, and grad school while going to music school. It wasn't a lot of work, just few more extra classes really. In terms of achievements outside schooling, I have zero.

Afk946 karma


_Hieon6 karma

To survive forever in youth.

Yuzucha5 karma

Did you ever consider getting a pet ? I think it could be helpful. A dog needs walks - all pets need food etc. And they give you lots of love no matter what state of mind you’re in when humans sometimes don’t. My dog made my life better for sure.Or was that never an option for you?

Im happy you’re working on getting better though. Ganbatte :-)

_Hieon4 karma

I had a cat. I like cats.

mindfungus4 karma

Can you recall the general time, or even pinpoint the exact moment, when you started withdrawing from the outside world? I know you stated that you had a traumatic experience with a past relationship and her family. Did you experience the same kind of apathy before, or only after?

_Hieon4 karma

After hearing that she killed herself, I walked out of whereever I was. Not to avoid her parents, but that I didn't know what to do nor why I must do anything but give up. I just walked whereever that was straight. I was homeless for maybe three to five weeks, I never counted.

Police found me sleeping or passed out and brought me back to my house. I then told the police what happened and that they should take me in so I wouldn't disappear or die if her parents were seeking to put charges or sue me or whatever they want. They did notice a missing person report and some other potential charges from them and took me in.

Then I was put on suicide watch while undergoing trials. I just stayed home awaiting for any notices or legal actions, not doing anything. Days went by just going through hearings and legal procedures and refusing to hire a lawyer to just admit anything and everything her parents and judge ordered. So I guess that was when I began to not go outside.

ohlinrollindead3 karma

What do you think contributes to the development of a hikikimori?

_Hieon5 karma

Family and formative year influences.

ExtraPlus3 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA. I hope you are doing well now.

Do you think there is a largely negative stigma in Japan regarding being open about mental illness? Follow-up question: Do you think this public perception will ever change over time?

_Hieon9 karma

I grew up in the US so I do not know. But I think mental conditions get worse when the individual accepts it as a disorder and begins to perceive it as a treatable condition.

dxjustice2 karma

Would you say that your Asian background (particularly expectations and pressure) had an effect on your mindset?

_Hieon4 karma

Not for the fact that I am Asian solely for its ethnicity, but because of being under Asian family household influences and Asian parents' oppression.

meradorm2 karma

You look good, dude.

What instrument/instruments do you play?

_Hieon6 karma

Piano, guitar mainly.

kkbsamurai2 karma

What was the hardest part of leaving your hikikomori lifestyle?

_Hieon7 karma

I guess I am still one because not going out became the norm to me. But correcting my sleep cycle has been difficult and still an issue.

greenspiral401 karma

Any advice for a starting classical composer?

_Hieon2 karma

I am not anyone to advice about music. Whatever sounds good to you will be good for you. But not necessarily guaranteed to be good for anyone else.

Cuthroat_Island1 karma

What was the actual turning point to go out? And a follow up, do you remember what you felt when you finally exited?

_Hieon1 karma

Noticing that I am physically aging quite visibly.

HairyBazooka1 karma

What did you do during your shut-in? A lot of people in documentaries stay in and play a lot of video games while living with their parents. Did you have any physical changes during the 6 years? Your photos have you posing in LA, do you live here/there?

_Hieon3 karma

I grew up in LA. A lot of changes, and visible aging whether it is from stress of all my issues or not.

I slept a lot.