Impact of Online Workshop for Youth Empowerment: Applying C-BED to Hikikomori Support in Japan

Education Quarterly Reviews

ISSN 2621-5799

Published: 30 December 2019

Impact of Online Workshop for Youth Empowerment: Applying C-BED to Hikikomori Support in Japan

Taizo Yokoyama, Akira Kawasaki, Tomoe Mitsumiya, Cong Xu

St. Andrew University (Japan), The George Washington University (U.S), Clinical Psychologist (Japan), Kyoto University (Japan)

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10.31014/aior.1993.02.04.112

Pages: 857-865

Keywords: Youth Empowerment, Online Education, Hikikomori, E-learning

Abstract

Hikikomori has been recognized as a significant social issue in Japan. It is a Japanese term that refers to young people (aged 18-39 years) who have been in an asocial state of social withdrawal and social isolation for over six months. The Cabinet Office of Japan suggests that the number of hikikomori youth has reached approximately 700,000 and is still growing. In addition, recent surveys suggest that hikikomori has a prolonged influence, such that more than 610,000 middle-aged people (aged 40-65 years) have remained in a hikikomori state which began at a younger age. The major challenge of this issue facing experts is that Hikikomori individuals usually repulse external support or interventions, either consciously or unconsciously. Hence, psychological therapies reliant on external interventions have inevitable limitations in curing hikikomori. Our methodology of C-BED (Community-Based Enterprise Development), on the other hand, has proven effective in overcoming this challenge, based on the results of our pilot study supported by Japanese NGO and TOYOTA Foundation. C-BED is a peer-to-peer learning process in which hikikomori share their thoughts with peers in similar situations through online dialogues. In developing the original program, we adopted the Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT) to the C-BED and produced 10 online modules for participants to interact by using online SNS group chat. The results of the online workshops (online C-BED) for five Hikikomori youth suggested that their psychological anxiety has been decreased and their willingness to participate socially has been strengthened after attending a 3-course module. In addition, C-BED has incomparable advantages in approaching hikikomori in remote areas at a meager cost, and in bringing positive changes to those who are struggling with psychological problems, no matter their cultural or economic backgrounds.

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