Enjo Kosai Girls in Hong Kong Identity

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The term “enjo kosai� has appeared prevalently at Hong Kong in around October 2007, after a local newspaper reported that girls dating for compensation and branded product. However, the seriousness of the problem was not addressed until a 16-year-old enjo kosai girl was killed and dismembered by a 24-year-old man who was a drug abuser in July 2009. This incident aroused huge social concern towards this emerging trend which is originated from Japan. What is the situation in Hong Kong? This paper aims to review this problem by pointing out that negative family factors is an antecedents of enjo kosai girls in Hong Kong, as well as analyzing that these girls tend to be in the identity diffusion status. Roles of social workers, dilemma they face and future invention strategies are also discussed.

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Background of Enjo Kosai

“Enjo Kosai�, abbreviated as “enko�, which is translated in English as “Compensated Dating� or “Subsidized Dating�, is a term originated in Japan. “Enjo� means “to assist� and “Kosai� means “dating�. The term was first report in a Japan Newspaper in September, 1994. With the spread of internet and cultural interflow, it was soon being prevalent in South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. At first, the definition meant teenage girls dating an older man for money or gifts, so as to “assist� them from loneliness. Teenage girls regarded it as a part-time job, and for some of the participants, sex became part of the process. With the addition of sex for pay, the meaning of this activity became unclear. Nowadays, enjo kosai has generally turned into teenage sex work.

The major difference between with prostitution is that, prostitution is generally performed in a brothel or by arrangement of a third party, while in enjo kosai, the fact is girls can choose men. If a girl does not like a man when she first sees him, she can leave him. As they are not bounded by any contract, they can conduct enjo kosai only when they need extra money.

Causes of Enjo Kosai

As suggested by Matsumoto (2002), in a survey by Asahi Shimbun in 1998, people where asked what they perceived to be the main contributing factors to this obvious social problem. The most common response was that “parents cannot discipline their children� and “society overemphasizes the desire of goods�. Typically girls commit in enjo kosai spend the money on expensive brand-named goods or on activities with friends.

Although monetary reward underlies each of enjo kosai girls, apparently there are several explanations for the reasons behind. According to a Japanese study as suggested by Wakabayashi (2003), Maruta (2001) analyzed that there are three reasons why girls engage in enjo kosai: 1) efficiency of making money,

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