Fuminori Akoa, 29, has been in his room for a year. "According to him, he is a great man and could do extraordinary things, but he does not always try his best," explains photographer Maika Elan who visited him with a social worker. "He changes his hobbies and goals frequently, and says he has gradually become lost."
Pictures Reveal the Isolated Lives of Japan’s Social Recluses
A photographer explores the hidden world of the hikikomori, and the human bonds that draw them out.
In Japan, observes photographer Maika Elan, “there are always two sides that oppose one another. It is both modern and traditional, bustling and very lonely. Restaurants and bars are always full, but if you pay close attention, most are packed with customers eating alone. And in the streets, no matter the hour, you find exhausted office employees.”
The counterpart to people living solitary lives in public might well be those who have chosen to shut themselves away. Known as hikikomori, these are people, mainly men, who haven’t participated in society, or shown a desire to do so, for at least a year. They rely instead on their parents to take care of them. In 2016, the Japanese government census