Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Retreating Youth Become Japan's 'Lost Generation'

Author Michael Zielenziger is a visiting scholar at the Institute of East Asian Studies, U. C. Berkeley, and previously was the Tokyo-based bureau chief for Knight Ridder Newspapers.

Many young people in Japan have become hermits -- retreating into worlds that consist of little more than their rooms. And that's difficult for families. Michele Norris talks with Michael Zielenziger, author of Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation.

Zielenziger profiles a caste of Japanese youth called hikikomori, mostly young men who lock themselves away in their bedrooms, fearful of society's expectations. He also talks about Japan's aging working class and the tendency of young women to shun motherhood.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit