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   Behind the curtain : Hong Kong's hidden youth

Soriano, Jianne Morny Sarmiento
Department of Journalism

17 Min
806 View


Young people who hide themselves from society are called "Hikikomori" (or hidden youths). This name came from Japan in 1998. In 2004, this phenomenon began to appear in Hong Kong as well. Research in 2006 found that hidden youths in Hong Kong almost reached 20,000. In 2014, follow-up research discovered that the number has doubled but corresponding counseling services did not increase accordingly. | Prof Wong Cheong-wing said hidden youths are afraid to step out of their comfort zone and this is a serious problem. They often end up suffering alone. | Dr. Paul Wong, a clinical psychologist, estimates that 2% of young people in Hong Kong are hidden youths. He also explains the ways of categorization. | Ah So, a social worker, feels that the society puts too much emphasis on academic excellence. As a result, hidden youths feel that they don't belong to the society. | Man, Ting and Hoi are once hidden youths. They talk about the reasons why they used to hide from society. | Prof Paul Wong Wai Ching points out that there are different reasons why young men and women choose to be "hidden". Being bullied is one of the most common reasons. | Prof Wong further points out that young people often hide at home to escape from bullying... Hoi and Ting share their motivations to get back to society. | The Chinese Evangelical Zion Church Social Service Division is one of the NGOs that provides services for hidden youths. Fanny Leung explains their services, including their Animal Assisted Intervention for HK's "Hikikomori" programme, which could help these young people break free from their cocoons…


Soriano, Jianne Morny Sarmiento. (2018). Behind the curtain : Hong Kong's hidden youth. Retrieved from HKBU Heritage:

Soriano, Jianne Morny Sarmiento. "Behind the curtain : Hong Kong's hidden youth". HKBU Heritage. HKBU Library, 2018. Web. 14 Dec. 2019.

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