Hikikomori is the Japanese term for “pulling inward” - more specifically, it refers to the Japanese cultural phenomenon of men who sequester themselves away in their bedrooms for long periods of time, withdrawing and choosing a life as a modern-day hermit of sorts, due usually to profound social fears or psychological torment. It requires total withdrawal from society, seeking extreme degrees of social isolation and confinement (and here y’all thought lockdown was bad). Hikikomori refers to both the phenomenon in general and the recluses themselves.
SWANE’s “Hikikomori in Love” looks at this phenomenon in light of the pandemic and provides a relatable comparison between the two, all through the lens of a light psychedelic bedroom pop track with a slightly retro edge. Hikikomori began to consume millions of lives not just in Japan but globally, long before the pandemic hit. And then, once COVID came along, the taxing social isolation suddenly felt somewhat understandable. In a press statement, SWANES explain:
“Living through social isolation due to the pandemic, we were inspired and fascinated by the story of Hikikomori, and felt it was an experience that so many people could relate to because of the time.”
Lyrically, “Hikikomori in Love” encapsulates the mood of 2020 perfectly:
"C’mon outside, let’s crack a smile
You’ve been cooped up for a while
A step is a mile
Go dirty your clothes
Everyone needs to love someone"