When Clive Tanaka finally found his voice, he ended a family tradition of silence that stretched back half a century. For 11 years, Clive almost never left his room in his family’s home outside of Sapporo on Hokkaido, Japan’s huge northern island. “I was hikikomori,” Clive explains, one of almost a million boys and young men in Japan who shut themselves away and withdraw from society. In Clive’s case, he stopped going to school and retreated to his room after sustained episodes of vicious hazing and harassment by older students, a chronic problem in Japanese public schools.
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