Once loathed by society, now hikikomori might save society.

Hikikomori are Japanese shut-ins, people who don’t leave their house under any circumstances. They live their lives in their rooms on their computers, ordering all of their necessities online, and typically subsisting off their parents.

While not strictly a Japanese phenomenon, hikikomori quite often make the news here when their lifestyle results in weeks of them living with their mother’s dead corpseor years of them living with their mother’s dead corpse.

But that extreme dedication hikikomori have to staying indoors at all costs is exactly what Japan, and the rest of the world, needs right now with the spread of the coronavirus. Which is why the Japanese government recently announced that they’ve appointed a hikikomori as the head of the special emergency council on “self-quarantine strategies.”

▼ The council is part of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism,
and its official title is The Organization of Solitary and Celibate Study.

Dakura Maki, the thirty-four-year-old Tokyo-native hikikomori who was appointed to the council, has spent the last sixteen years of his life inside his parents’ home in Nerima Ward.

He was chosen specifically for this position after an extensive interview process with over a thousand potential hikikomori candidates. The list was whittled down after seeing which hikikomori would reply first to e-mails, then text messages, then a final phone call. Dakura was the only candidate who picked up the phone call from the government organization, though he reportedly only spoke in moist, heavy breaths.

Due to his high social skills for a hikikomori, his years of hands-on experience, and the urgency of the situation, he was immediately given the position.

▼ A bedroom was built into the government office for him to feel at home at work,
though he reportedly spent the first day lying hidden underneath the mattress frame.

Compared to the rest of the world, Japanese people spend longer times outside of the house at their workplaces, at bars with coworkers, and even having flower-viewing picnics. Thankfully, Dakura was able to suggest some strategies to help his fellow citizens overcome their social compulsions.

Son Nawakenai, the vice-chairman of the council, had this to say about working with the hikikomori:

“His suggestion to shift focus from face mask production to huggy-pillow production was surprising at first, but made sense. If people have 2-D waifus and husbandos to cuddle, that will discourage them from physical contact with their 3-D partners. Heck, even I can’t wait to get home to my Miku-chan. Now if only the hikikomori would learn to breathe though his nose when talking….”

Another one of Dakura’s suggestions currently being enacted is the development of a new dating simulator that will be mandatory for all Japanese citizens to download, play, and complete before they are allowed back outside. Police officers will be briefed on the “best girl routes,” and they will interrogate anyone caught outside to see if they finished the “Sparkling Venus” ending. Fines of up to 50,000 yen (US$448) will be given to those who refused to pat Momoko-chan on the head when she confessed her love to you.

▼ The official statement to be used by officers in the interrogation is:
“UwU are you some kind of b-b-baka, Protagonist-kun?”

So far the only point of contention between Dakura and the council came when he was questioned on what to do for the economic side of self-quarantine. Dakura’s insistence that everyone “just gets money from their parents” was met with confusion.

When he was told that wouldn’t be feasible for the entire population, he began to visibly sweat through his stained plaid shirt and sweat pants, and started posting angry messages on Japanese message boards and social media.

“We were looking for the Holy Grail of the hikikomori spirit, and we found it: angry posts online,” vice-chairman Son said. “From here on, we’ll be spending all day and night posting terrible, ridiculous things online, to keep everyone busy at home replying to us with angry messages. Me and Miku-chan, we’ve got a post about how English anime dubs are better than the Japanese originals. That’ll save hundreds of lives just by itself!”

▼ Maybe the real self-quarantining was the flame wars we made along the way.

So what do you think? Will the hikikomori “self-quarantine” council be as successful as Marie Kondo’s “spark joy” police taser campaign last year? Or the Breeding Visa program the year before?

Let us know in the comments and remember to have a happy April Fools’ Day!

Source: April Fool’s!
Top image: Pakutaso (1, 2)
Insert images: Pakutaso (1, 2, 3, 4)
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