Monday, 23 August 2010

Japan exports term for isolated males

Japanese person: "You know, people, who don't go out, who stay at home… not just anti-social, but who don't leave their rooms. Actually, usually only adolescent males. And it's really mostly in Japan. What do you call them?"

English person: "Oh, you mean, hikikomori."

Yep, "hikikomori", a word I forget in Japanese, has now officially entered the English language according to the Oxford Dictionary of English's list of new words, alongside the likes of old imports "tsunami" and "karaoke" (pronounced "kari-okie" in English but "kara-okeh" in Japanese). I can't see it catching on like tsunami, but at least Japan correspondents don't need to search for a non-existent, single-word description in English any more…

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