Hidden youth services : What Hong Kong can learn from Japan

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

31 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-126
Journal / PublicationChildren and Youth Services Review
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


The problem of and services provided to hikikomori in Japan has quite a long history. This study aimed to review the prevalence and perception of the hidden youth phenomenon around the globe, and analyze the relevant youth services in Japan and Hong Kong. By means of Internet search, the present study adopted textual analysis to examine the content of the services. Results showed that the phenomenon of hidden youth was perceived differently in different countries, thus leading to the development of different intervention and treatment programs for this group of young people. In particular, the services in Japan and Hong Kong were reviewed and compared, with the purpose to explore what Hong Kong can learn from Japan. It was found that the services for hikikomori in Japan are very comprehensive. Some Japanese programs are suggested to be beneficial for hidden youth in Hong Kong. For instance, the Free Space and New Start in Japan can be adopted in Hong Kong, in order to enhance the diversity of the services and promote the positive development of the hidden youth. Furthermore, more therapeutic elements can be incorporated in the individual work with the youth and their families. It is also suggested that online counseling services can be offered, as the services can fit into the unique lifestyle and characteristics of hidden youth. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Research Area(s)

  • Different countries, Hidden youth, Review, Services, Social withdrawal