Is the Problem of Hikikomori Unique to Japan?

By February 24, 2016Latest Features

The Japanese concept of Hikikomori receives regular media attention, usually in terms of the densely packed cities of Japan such as Tokyo and Osaka. As Brown Political Review recently pointed out, discussion of Hikikomori tends to be “uniquely Japanese”, but there is increasingly evidence to suggest that the problem is more global. The CSRP has recently investigated to what extent Hong Kong is also afflicted.

Hikikomori, a phenomenon that is characterised by severe social withdrawal originated from Japan. Individuals with Hikikomori meet several criteria: (1) spending most of the day and nearly every day confined to home, (2) persistently avoiding social situations and social relationships, (3) duration of at least 6 months, and (4) self-perceived problematic (Teo & Gaw, 2010). This phenomenon is typically exhibited by adolescents and young adults.

In Hong Kong, Hikikomori is becoming a growing concern as the problem is getting more and more popular. Funded by Excel3, Prof Paul Yip, Dr. Michael Chau, and Prof. Cecilia Cheng along with the research team from the CSRP conducted a cross-sectional telephone-based survey to explore the phenomenon of Hikikomori in Hong Kong.”

A summary of the CSRP’s research is available here.

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