Welcome to the N.H.K. (N・H・Kにようこそ!, NHK ni Yōkoso!) is a Japanese novel written by Tatsuhiko Takimoto, with a cover illustration by Yoshitoshi ABe, and was published by Kadokawa Shoten in Japan on January 28, 2002. The novel was first published in English by Tokyopop on October 9, 2007. The story centers around a twenty-two-year-old hikikomori who gets aid from a strange girl who seems to know a lot about him, despite never meeting him before. A common theme throughout the story deals with the hardships of life and how people must deal with them in their own way.
Welcome to the N.H.K. was adapted into a manga series, also written by Takimoto, with art by Kendi Oiwa. The manga was serialized between June 2004 and June 2007 in Kadokawa Shoten's manga magazine Shōnen Ace. The manga's forty chapters have been collected into eight bound volumes released in Japan and overseas. The English edition of the manga is published by Tokyopop, and the first volume was released in October 2006. It is one of the first manga published by Tokyopop to be rated M, for an eighteen or older audience. The novel was also adapted into a twenty-four-episode anime television series by Gonzo which aired in Japan between July and December 2006. ADV Films announced at Anime Central that they acquired the English rights to the anime, and they released DVD volume one in October 2007 with volume two released in December 2007.
In Japan, "NHK" refers to the TV channel and broadcasting corporation Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai, but within the series, the main character believes it stands for Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai (日本引きこもり協会, Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai "The Japanese Hikikomori Association"), which is a reference to the protagonist's claim of a subversive conspiracy led by NHK (the real-life broadcasting corporation) to create hikikomori. While it mainly deals with the reclusive phenomenon of hikikomori, the plot also explores many other Japanese subcultures—for example: otaku, lolicon, and internet suicide. Despite the show's name, Welcome to the N.H.K. was not broadcast exclusively on the NHK television network, but it was syndicated throughout Japan.
24 June, 2008