Loneliness and Social Isolation in Japan: Background information when reading All the Lovers in the Night

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All the Lovers in the Night

by Mieko Kawakami

All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami X
All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami
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  • First Published:
    May 2022, 224 pages

    May 23, 2023, 224 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Rachel Hullett
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About this Book

Loneliness and Social Isolation in Japan

This article relates to All the Lovers in the Night

People walking in an alley in Tokyo, Japan at night Loneliness is one of many themes deftly explored by Mieko Kawakami in her novel All the Lovers in the Night, which follows a freelance proofreader living in Tokyo who has withdrawn from society.

A 2022 study conducted by the American Psychological Association concluded that global rates of loneliness have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Japan, this increase has added to an existing phenomenon: The country has long been known for its high rates of loneliness. There are at least half a million people in Japan who live as "hikikomori," a term coined by psychologist Tamaki Saitō in 1998. Hikikomori are essentially people who live in complete physical and social isolation, and they officially comprise 1.57% of the Japanese population, with experts thinking the real number is probably higher. Researchers have cited social media as a potential contributing factor to growing rates of hikikomori.

While hikikomori is a Japanese term and Japan has specific ...

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