Princess sickness

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Princess sickness, alternatively known as princess complex, princess syndrome or princess disease (Vietnamese: bệnh công chúa; Chinese: 公主病; pinyin: gōng zhǔ bìng; Cantonese Yale: gūng jyú behng; Korean: 공주병; Revised Romanization: gong ju byeong), is a neologism used colloquially in East and Southeast Asia to describe a condition of narcissism and materialism in women, or "princess" behaviour.[1][2] Conversely but less commonly, men with a similar outlook may be described as having "prince" sickness.[3]

It is speculated that the term originated with the rise of the Four Asian Tigers across Asia, in which rapid economic growth may have contributed to a corresponding rise in consumerist or materialistic attitudes and upper classes investing heavily in their children, who might subsequently become accustomed to material wealth and domestic help.[3][4]


In Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, low birth rates have meant that families often have only children that are the sole focus of their parents' energies.[5] In Mainland China, the resultant phenomenon, often attributed to the former one-child policy, is known as the 'Little Emperor Syndrome'. A combination of helicopter parenting and presence of domestic workers, allowing middle-class parents to work, can contribute to their children being spoilt.[6] A widening income gap in Hong Kong, along with concerns over democracy and social inequality, also reflects the perceived attitudes of the 'elite' classes.[7][8]

Furthermore, social mobility in East Asia is primarily based on personal and academic achievement.[9] For that reason, parents may place a great deal of academic pressure on both children and their teachers, micro-managing their child's academic career to achieve higher grades.[10][11] Some suggest that this results in dependence or a lack of responsibility.

In popular culture[edit]

  • "Princess Syndrome" (Gōng Zhǔ Bìng 公主病) – a song by Taiwanese singer Jay Chou in the album Exclamation Mark.[12]
  • "Disease Princess" – a song by Japanese musician Masa.
  • "Princess Disease" – a song by British Power Electronics group Whitehouse on their album "Cruise".
  • "World is Mine" – a song by software voicebank Hatsune Miku.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "HK princesses rattle local hikikomori". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2016-05-04.
  2. ^ myhongkonghusband, Lina (12 October 2013). "公主病 – on princess syndrome and tough relationships". My Hong Kong Husband. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  4. ^ Empiricism and analytical tools for 21 Century applied linguistics: selected papers from the XXIX International Conference of the Spanish Association of Applied Linguistics (AESLA). Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca. 2012. p. 451. ISBN 9788490121542.
  5. ^ Speed, Barbara (30 September 2014). "Hong Kong's low birth rate blamed on women's "sexual problems"". CityMetric Horizons. CityMetric. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  6. ^ Wong, Bill. "Monster/Helicopter Parents and Their Children's Independence". Archived from the original on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  7. ^ Carroll, Toby (28 July 2014). "Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement is about inequality. The elite knows it". the Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  8. ^ Hu, Fox; Yun, Michelle (30 September 2013). "Hong Kong Poverty Line Shows Wealth Gap With One in Five Poor". Bloomberg. Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  9. ^ "2009–2010 Hong Kong Policy Address". Hong Kong SAR Government. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  10. ^ Tomohiro, Osaki (27 January 2011). "Exasperated teacher takes on Japan's 'monster parents'". CNN Travel. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  11. ^ Chua, Amy (2011-01-08). "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2016-05-04.
  12. ^ "Introduction of Jay Chou's music album". Archived from the original on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 29 March 2013.

External links[edit]