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  • Writer's pictureAnqi Teng

Sample Module C Imaginative Writing

Stimulus (Baulkham Hills 2019 Paper 2):

We must reject the idea that every time a law is broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the precept that each individual is accountable for his actions. – Ronald Reagan

Use this statement as a stimulus for a piece of imaginative writing that examines the question of taking personal responsibility for one’s behaviour.

You are not expected to construct a complete narrative. You may choose to craft the opening, ending, a fragment or a particular point of tension. (12 marks)

Response: The Hikikomori

Tadano is 27 and lives in a small apartment in Shibuya, Tokyo. He has not left his house in 578 days.

On this particular morning, rather than starting his game programming work, which he is able to do from home, Tadano was reading a letter over and over. His father wrote to him with the usual disappointed voice – why can’t you get a real job, you’re breaking your mothers heart. And it was his mother’s 60th birthday on the 14th of November – that was today.

Today was his mother's 60th birthday.

Tadano pondered considered sending an email. His parents, both living in the countryside, had little idea of how to use a computer, so that was not a good option. He decided to write type something to be sent through the post. Fortunately, his rental sister Kiko was going to visit him at noon, so he can ask her to send it for him.

Kiko was originally his real sister's idea. His real sister was too busy travelling to make sure Tadano was ok, so she contacted a rental sister agency. Kiko came twice a week to chat with Tadano through the door. Tadano didn't say anything at first - he just tentatively peered through the mail slot to see a plump woman in her mid-30s, dressed in creams and browns. She had a honey sweet voice which Tadano became used to on her fifth visit, and by the tenth he had introduced himself properly. It was nice to speak to another person with his voice rather than through online chat, and she didn't seem like the type of person who would hurt him the way he was before.

Tadano typed a few lines: "How are you", "thanks for the mandarins you sent over" and "Happy Birthday". He wanted to show it to Kiko – she must be proud of him for doing it. He could have chosen not to.

At twelve o’ clock, a knock came at the door.

"Tadano-san, are you in?"

Kiko was always polite and checked if Tadano was at home, even though Tadano was sure his sister has told Kiko he has been a shut in for almost two years.

Tadano knocked back in response.

"Ahh, Tadano-san hello, how are you today?"


"That's really very good to hear. What are your plans today?"


"Of course – Tadano-san is very hard working. I hope your most recent game release has been going well."

"It has."

Kiko proceeded to chatter about her day. Tadano clutched the letter tight to his face.

"I have a favour to ask,” Tadano said, interrupting her.

"A favour?" Kiko sounded surprised - Tadano has never requested anything of her before. "Of course - what can I do for you?"

"I have a letter - please read it."

Kiko received the letter Tadano slipped through the mail slot. Some silence. Then a gasp.

"Is it your mother's 60th birthday? That's a very important day for her."

Tadano waited for her to say more.

"I think...I think this letter is nice, but it might not be enough - why don't you give her a call or set up a video call?"

Tadano frowned. He waited for her to say more.

"I think she must hope you could visit her..." Kiko trailed off.


"Tadano - san, I - "

"I knew it. I knew you didn't understand. Here you are again telling me what to do and how to do it. Just like everyone else did. That's it isn't it - this world - just likes to tell me what to do."

Tadano had never spoken so much to Kiko before, but it was not how they imagined it would happen.

"i'm sorry Tadano-san."

Tadano peered through the mail slot - Kiko was gone.

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