by Emerald Pellot, In The Know
Nito Souji is the internet’s favorite hikikomori — the video game developer hasn’t left his apartment in 10 years.
In Japan, there are roughly 1 million people who identify as hikikomori, people who isolate at home for at least six consecutive months. Hikikomori don’t travel to school or work or interact with others outside of their family.
Souji became a hikikomori in part by circumstance and in part by choice. When Souji couldn’t get a job after college or become a novelist like he had dreamed, he went to his hometown to live alone in his aunt’s apartment.
“I had no friends in my hometown and felt rushed to become financially independent as soon as possible, feeling ashamed to go outside. So I became a hikikomori,” Souji told Kyodo News.
His time alone has proven to be fruitful. Souji learned English, started a YouTube channel, taught himself game development and is launching his first original game, Pull Stay, thanks to a successful Kickstarter.
“I became a hikikomori with the objective of living every day doing only things that are worthwhile, so for me, the past 10 years have been far more pleasant than working outside,” Souji told Kyodo News.
Souji hopes the revenue from the game will help him become self-sufficient and enter a new chapter of his life.
“In the last 10 years, I was able to create whatever I wanted to create, so even if there were struggles, I enjoyed it,” Souji told Kyodo News.