Tamaki Saito

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Tamaki Saito (斎藤 環, Saitō Tamaki) is a Japanese psychologist and critic. He is a fan of Hirohiko Araki and has done multiple interviews with him. He has also provided comments on Araki's works in multiple instances.

He is notable for being the leading expert on the phenomenon of hikikomori and for coining the term.[1]


Saito was born in Kitakami of the Iwate Prefecture. He graduated from Morioka First High School in 1980 and the University of Tsukuba in 1986. In 1990, he completed a doctoral course in medicine under the supervision of Hiroshi Inamura.[2] In his book released in 1998, "Social withdrawal--Adolescence without End,"[a] he defined social withdrawal and explained its development. The book made the public aware of the phenomenon and popularized the term "hikikomori."[3]

Saito specializes in the psychiatry of puberty and adolescence and has written/co-written many books on psychiatry. He's also done interpretations of contemporary culture, such as manga and anime, from a psychoanalytic perspective.[2]

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure

Saito first encountered Araki in 1997 when they had an interview with each other, discussing the current state of manga and Araki's creation process in Eureka Magazine.[4] With this meeting, he has stated that he was elated because he had been a fan for more than 10 years.[3] When they had another interview with each other again in 2007, he said it was nice to meet him again since they hadn't met since their first interview 10 years prior.[5]

In the March 15, 2009 issue of Brutus magazine, Araki and Saito were photographed together by Kishin Shinoyama at Araki's home. The article, titled "Interpersonal relationship" (人間関係), included the photo[b], biographies of the two of them, and comments about each other.[6] In January 2024, he tweeted about the recent passing of Shinoyama and the photo shoot he had with Araki for Brutus. He also mentions that after the camera was set up on a tripod, the shoot was finished in only about 15 minutes.[7]

In early 2012, Araki illustrated the cover of the paperback edition of his book "Lacan for surviving" (生き延びるためのラカン, Ikinobiru tame no Lacan). The book provides commentary on French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan and acts as an introduction to psychoanalysis. The illustration depicts Lacan in a suit with Yoshikage Kira's skull tie.[8]

In October 2012, Saito was amongst the people who reviewed JoJo's Bizarre Adventure in columns that were included in the HIROHIKO ARAKI WORKS 1981-2012 catalog. He was also part of the special feature done on Araki from the monthly art magazine "Bijutsu Techo." In it, he provides an analysis that discusses Michelangelo's influence on Araki and the similarities between them as "soul twins" in the context of art history and their style of expression. He also discussed the nature of Stands in Neoplatonism.[9]

In December 2013, he tweeted his congratulations on Araki winning the Grand Prize in the manga division for JoJolion at the 2013 Japan Media Arts Festival.[10]

In December 2021, he tweeted in a response that Hisao Nakai is the Araki of psychiatry in the sense that he has many fans not only among his peers but also among professionals in other fields. He also mentions that maybe it's the other way around.[11]


Link to this sectionBrutus
I was a little nervous when I first met Dr. Saito since I was expecting to be his next psychoanalysis patient. It's been 12 years since that encounter, and I've learned from him that there are many different ways to interpret any given situation. His neutrality has truly inspired me.
Link to this sectionBrutus
Writers who face challenges with their personal health tend to have short-lived careers. Mr. Araki's works often portray individuals grappling with inner turmoil and strife, manifested through unhealthy conduct. Yet, they continue to persist and flourish thanks to Mr. Araki's own well-being.
—Tamaki Saito
—Tamaki Saito


# Interview Type Media Published
1 Eureka (April 1997)
April 1, 1997
2 Eureka (November 2007)
November 26, 2007
3 Asahi Shimbun (June 2012)
June 3, 2012
4 ALL REVIEWS (December 2017)
December 30, 2017



  1. 社会的ひきこもり――終わらない思春期, Shakaiteki hikikomori--Owaranai Shishunki
  2. The given title of the photo is "Arakirakan" (アラキラカン).


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