Welcome to the N.H.K.
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Welcome to the N.H.K. (Welcome to the NHK)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  652 ratings  ·  45 reviews
The novel that inspired the manga and anime!Twenty-two-year-old Satou, a college dropout and aficionado of anime porn, knows a little secret--or at least he thinks he does! Believe it or not, he has stumbled upon an incredible conspiracy created by the Japanese Broadcasting Company, N.H.K. But despite fighting the good fight, Satou has become an unemployed hikikomori--a sh...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published October 31st 2007 by Tokyopop Press Inc (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,193)
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Jacobmartin
I really liked how this book led me on a journey through the main character Satou's despair, and his absolute wreck of a life inspired me to change my own. It's like... more subversive than Chuck Palahniuk, but less offensive than Mein Kampf, if you get what I mean. This book is pretty heavy stuff to deal with if you're ALREADY depressed, but it may help you realise there are good and VERY BAD ways to deal with one's melancholy and bleak circumstances.

I have a more philosophical treatment of the...more
Sean O'Hara
The collapse of the Japanese economy in the early '90s altered the employment situation in the country, particularly for young people trying to enter the workforce. In the wake of this, several related social phenomenon grew up -- freeters (people stuck in a permanent state of, usually itinerant, underemployment), NEETs (those Not in Employment, Education or Training), and the hikikomori (a more extreme form of NEETs who lock themselves in rooms and eschew human contact). As you can see, this is...more
Beth Chandler
First off, yes, this is a Japanese *novel,* not a manga, despite the manga-style cover. There is a manga version of the story also.

I classified this as a "teen" book despite the main character being an adult, because it has many elements that will appeal to older teens. Our (anti-) hero is a 22-year-old "hikkikomori," a person who has pretty much withdrawn from life--dropped out of school, no job, no social life. The book deals in an understated yet realistic way with the phenomenon, as well as...more
Jessica Severs
So what makes a college student drop out and shut himself away from the rest of society? According to Satou, it’s because of a conspiracy perpetrated by the Japanese TV broadcast company N.H.K.
Satou becomes one of the growing number of hikikomori — agoraphobes — after his persecution complex kicks into high gear. He sits alone in his tiny one-room apartment, rarely venturing into the outside world. He really does want to overcome his status as a worthless, noncontributing member of society, but...more
Josh
Oct 17, 2008 Josh rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: older teen/college age
Shelves: light-novel
I have trouble thinking of the right way to express how I feel about this book. I definitely enjoyed it, which is apparent by the fact that I read it pretty fast. But it's not something I would go back and make an effort to read again.

This book is also another example of why TokyoPop's Light Novel line didn't succeed. They slap a manga-style image on the front and shelve it with other manga titles. Not only that, but the synopsis on the back of the book doesn't even come close to mentioning wha...more
Christian
While truly quite funny at times this book totally bummed me out. I simply see too much of myself in Satou. I've been somewhat of a hikikomori since I graduated college last May and there are indeed times when I feel as though fate is conspiring to marginalize me. I say this only to attest to the accuracy of Satou's feelings throughout the novel. It made me sadder still to read the afterwords of this book, which make it apparent that Satou's struggle is very much the author's struggle as well, a...more
Mizujin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Isaac Cooper
For a second, she raised her parasol and looked directly into my face. She was smiling brightly. It was an adorable, mocking smile. And I wanted to die.

In this world, conspiracies exist.

The most powerful one, concocted by the NHK, drives ordinary people to shut themselves off from society, destined to live in six-mat, one room apartments forever.

Having initially watched and thoroughly enjoyed the anime, I knew what I was getting into when I started reading Welcome to the NHK. I wondered to my...more
Kairi
Mar 03, 2014 Kairi rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: japan
"We're people, so it's painful."

The subjects of this book weren’t really joyful, still I wouldn’t say the atmosphere was gloomy, so it wasn’t one of those books you shouldn’t be reading if you’re depressed because it could make you even more depressed. In fact, it could even give you some insight on your situation (or rather, on life in general).

"Who in the world are we, anyway? If I could answer that question, maybe our destination would change."

I don’t think the characters really come to t...more
Myk123
Another book in my 'One of theeeeee best I have ever read'! I read it quite a while back and I also saw the anime series, and one day I was browsing the internet when suddenly the name comes before me and I begin reminiscing... And I get it and read it again... One of the quickest reads because of the stupendous and really interesting way the character is set up and the whole story plays out.... A classic for me.. I know that I will be going back and reading it in the future a few times again at...more
Filippo
Decisamente una bella lettura.
Ho iniziato questa light novel prima ancora di portare a termine la visione della serie animata e, devo ammetterlo, il fascino esercitato dalla carta stampata è stato di gran lunga più alto. La storia è ben sviluppata, introspettiva quando serve, ma divertente e comica allo stesso tempo, pur mantenendosi comunque riflessiva. L'autore, raccontando una storia tutto sommato autobiografica, affronta un tema delicato come quello degli hikikomori, ossia i giovani disoccup...more
Dave Lefevre
This anime, story, and Manga are close to my heart. Being someone who has lived with social anxiety disorder my entire adult life I identify with the main character closely. The characters are people with sadness trying to get along, and it's very sad, touching, and great piece of work.
Radu
I see this book as a story about the human need to constantly deal with factors which oppose us. Whether we are talking about the bear we are fighting in the wilderness or protesting against some government reform, every human being need a clear nemesis. But nowadays many of the enemies we are fighting are impossible to detect and often come from inside us rather than from the world around us. It's a book about isolation, drugs and alcohol and parasites of society that eventually learn to accept...more
Chibixio
Apr 28, 2014 Chibixio rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Socially awkward people, or people who want to understand the hikkikomori phenomenon
Shelves: novel, young-adult
I had already read the manga adaptation and loved it, but I loved the novel even more. It does a much better work in giving you an insight into Satou's mind. I could relate so much to him it was scary. Actually, I think my timing for reading this was perfect, because the story touched several points that relate to my current situation and feelings. The thing is: when I started reading the book, I was becoming sort of an almost-hikkikomori (still enrolled in university, though). But now that I fi...more
Simone
Since I loved watching the japanese anime tv-series "Welcome to the NHK", I was eager to read the novel that inspired it.

"Welcome to the NHK" tells the story of Satou Tatsuhiro, a japanese hikikomori, a misfit who avoids any contact with society by staying always confined at home.
I can relate to the hikikomori phenomenon, and to the japanese culture in general, and I'm interested in learning more about it.

I had great expectations from this book, but I got quite disappointed.
Some parts of the boo...more
Krystl Louwagie
2009 review:

This book was on a much deeper level, although it is still a marketed as a comedy in many ways. It's written first person (and hardly fiction as far as I've heard and read about the author and by the 2 after wards he wrote). The man telling the story is in his early 20's, a drop out of college who does not have a job or life outside of his apartment because even though there's nothing technically wrong with him, he can't bring himself to function in society. He goes through some stru...more
Graziano
"Non preoccuparti, Yamazaki. Devi sapere che, in quanto a hikikomori, io sono un professionista. Finche' starai con me la tua situazione non potra' peggiorare piu' di cosi'!" (p. 54)

"Be', e va bene, lasciamo perdere. Allora mettiamola cosi': tu quali capacita' hai?"
"In che senso capacita'?"
"Sai disegnare, comporre musica, oppure usare qualche formidabile programma informatico? Qualcosa?"
"Io... non so fare niente. A volerne proprio trovare una, so stare per un anno intero senza vedere nessuno..."...more
Theatlantafriedcritic
This book is an unsung masterpiece of fiction, in my opinion. It changed my life, and in some ways, helped me become a better person. Anybody interested in the human condition should read it.
Necho
This story deals with loneliness. With detachment from society, and the resulting embarrassment felt by an individual not able to conform. Prompted by this feeling of guilt and embarrassment, Satou chooses the reclusive lifestyle, soon to realize a vicious cycle was set in motion. A conspiracy, one might call it. An evil plot. Through escapism, he tries to shun reality, becoming absorbed with fictional characters and permanent, perfect worlds. As much as it is a moving story, Welcome to the NHK...more
Jan Chrást
book full of losers with such deapth, even some philosophical works by acknowledged authors should stand aside.
Spluffen
I was very moved by this book, especially, I must say, by the author's comments at the end. I was first intimidated by the manga-style cover art but after having read the actual content I learned that classic phrase about not judging... Anyway, the writing got the point across and at times I actually thought it really shined. I won't spoil any content to the readers but it should be noted that this book is filled with some very sad and sometimes frightening sentences as well as some pretty contr...more
Armando Gil
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Richard
Just finished. Fantastic! As soon as I finished it I read it a second time! It's about a "hikikomori" Someone in Japanese society who has shut themselves off from society for at least 6 months or more. Satou, the main charter, has done this for about 4 years. The story is about his chance encouter with a teenage girl who wants to enroll him in her "project". Fantastic interaction, at times funny; at times sad. The ending brings everything full circle, with the "projects" true goal revealed.
Owen Murphy
A dark, humorous, and brutally realistic portrayal of social anxiety, depression, and paranoia. As a sufferer of more than one of these symptoms, I found the protagonist, Tatsuhiro Satou's plight more relatable than I would have liked. The translation may not be perfect, but the character study and examination of human ailments makes it worth the read.

Features some pretty heavy stuff, like child pornography, drug abuse, suicide, and other fun things.
Krystle
Much more focused -- gosh, anime-only characters do tend to mess up the flow of things, don't they -- and less romance-driven than the anime adaptation.

Gotta love how our main characters would all be genuinely unlikable people in real life. But at the same time, aren't annoying to read about. I certainly never found myself rooting against them. (But that could be due to some of what's happening hitting a bit too close to home.)
Cdrueallen
A wild and delightful account of the life of a young Japanese man who has withdrawn from society and become a dreaded hikikomori. No fancy metaphors, no poetic language, nothing but the heartbreakingly real description of the life of someone who can't bear modern life. Like William Burroughs writing without his layers of obfuscation. Funny, tender, honest, wonderful.
Paulo Corte
Just like the catcher in the rye, in an attempt to offset the often heavy mood, it combines (dark) humour with the depressing events and thoughts of the main characters. It explores the character's mind and despair really well and has a subtle and open conclusion. The last moments are really interesting and it's well written.
Big Shell
Reviewing this book is difficult, because I did not like it. Not the slightest. It is the single most honest book I've ever read about depression and the hopelessness of being caught in all of it.

I did not like it in the same way as I do not like my illness. But this book deserves five stars, for the same reason.
Mihai Criveti
An interesting take on the Japanese hikikomori phenomenon, legal drug usage, depression, suicide as well as other neurotic disorders.

Some parts of the novel remind me of Norwegian Wood, some just piss me off . It's quite difficut to sympathize with the protagonist for most of the novel.
Vanessa
Mar 29, 2012 Vanessa marked it as to-read
Shelves: reviewed
I would like to read this, but...

Amazon UK says a brand new copy would be £527, and used copies go from £130 upwards.

Darn you books with your extremely low print runs!!
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Welcome to the N.H.K., Volume 1 Welcome to the N.H.K. Volume 2 Welcome to the N.H.K. Volume 3 Welcome to the N.H.K., Volume 8 (v. 8) Welcome to the NHK Volume 4: v. 4

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“Being alone is best. I mean, it's true, isn't it? In the end you'll be absolutely alone; therefore, being alone is natural. If you accept that, nothing bad can happen. That's why I shut myself away in my six-mat one-room apartment.” 12 likes
“No human beings, regardless of who they might be, want to look directly at their own shortcomings.” 9 likes
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