The Impact of a Lack of Ibasho on Mental Health

What role does ibasho play in the context of mental health?

In this video, Professor Haruhiko Tanaka explains how the loss of ibasho, a place of belonging, can lead to mental health issues.

Ibasho and mental health

Nick: My other memory is mental health issues, that's another space. I think Japan's a bit slow to counter. In Australia, we have many initiatives for mental health. So we have many organizations and lots of advertising, lots of awareness for mental health. So if you have mental health, you can call someone, you can go to a website, you're encouraged to talk about your mental health.

But my understanding in Japan, it's still a bit backward or a bit slow, that talking about your mental health problems is almost considered troublesome or meiwaku, you're causing trouble. So I guess, people with mental health issues maybe also lack ibasho, whether that's in Australia or in Japan.

What do you think of mental health issues in relation to ibasho or what's happening in Japan?

Haruhiko: The people with hikikomori loses place of recognition. 15 years ago, the Japanese society has many jobs for them. They can work from nine o'clock until five without speaking, talking to everyone, just doing the same thing. Same work, very simple work.

But they are evaluated, and they got a salary before. But these kind of jobs have been gone from Japan to other countries. So the hikikomori type of people cannot survive this globalised Japanese situation.

Nick: I see. So they've lost. I mean, Japan used to have guaranteed life employment with one company.

Haruhiko: So this is not a psychological problem, hikikomoro. It is a social problem.