Hey, guys. I’m a young Japanese employee who is working in a manufacturing company (One of the Nikkei225) as a sales and marketing. Though I’m Japanese (I was born in Japan and lived in Japan for a long time lol), I think Japanese working system is pretty messed up…
There are a lot of articles which are about working in Japan from foreigner’s perspective. However, I’ve never seen how Japanese people think about Japanese working culture. Today, I’ll explain all of Japanese working culture from Japanese perspective as a person who had some experiences in a foreign country.
Skill is not required to get a job
Japanese recruiting system is totally different from the rest of the world. After Japanese high economic growth era, companies start to hire young generation at the same time because it was difficult to maintain employees. For example,
“Toyota hire 700 people who just graduated a university or a grad school”
(We call them “Shinsotsu”). As well as Toyota, Nintendo, Sony, Panasonic, do the exact same thing. Therefore, you don’t need to have any skills before getting into companies.
A company will assign you to a different department after they decided to hire you. It means even if you wanted to get into a marketing section, you would work in a HR, accounting section. Your willingness does not matter what you’d do in your company. As a result, companies think that they can raise their employees on their own so major or GPA is not important in Japanese companies at all.
You guys might wonder If you don’t need GPA and skill, what the companies would see in a interview…
HR members say that “We want to recruit the students who have a good “Personality” and “Communication skill!”. It sounds really crazy, but this is the truth of Japanese job hunting. They just want to hire a good soldier for a company. That’s one of the reasons why Japanese university students don’t need to study at all, they just go to a part-time job to get small money instead of studying.
Organizing futile drinking parties and playing golf are main jobs
Young workers are always tough to live in the adult world. It’s same as everywhere. However, in the case of Japan, it’s way worse than the rest of the world. What are young workers supposed to do in a company?? It’s “Organizing drinking parties”and “Playing golf”. Everyone likes a party, “Huh what the hell do you mean?” it’s a western perspective. Young workers literally spend so much time to organize drinking parties. Why? Let me explain that.
First of all, your manager assigns you to be a host of a drinking party, and you kindly have to say that “I’m really honored to be a host of the drinking party” to your boss. This is just common in a Japanese society. Then you have to do all of tasks below.
・Sending an email to count the number of participants (It takes long time because it has to be so polite and you need rewrite because if it’s not well written, your boss might complain about it)
・Selecting restaurants: You need to list up restaurants to consider about the conditions of restaurants.
・Calling and checking the restaurant: Once you decide the restaurant, you have to check it by yourself after working hour because it is rude not to check it.
・Asking a favor to the boss who will make a toast speech: Not only a toast master, you also need to ask the other boss to make a final speech at the end of drinking party, otherwise it’s rude
・Decide where members sit while in the party: There is a Japanese culture which is a rule of seats. Look at this website if you want to know the detail.https://bartman905.wordpress.com/2009/05/22/kamiza-and-shimoza/
・Make the seat charts for the party and lead members to the restaurants
・Pay the bill: The host pays all of the fee instead of everyone first. They will pay you back later.↑Young people who earn $1500 per month pay this bill, crazy…
・Make the list for payment list: Since we don’t split the bill, the managers pay more than usual workers. Therefore after the payment, you have to calculate who pays how much.
・Approval for the payment list from boss.
・Getting money back
Do you understand how I feel about a drinking party? Lol I just want to order a
catering service instead of all of this. Oops, I forgot to put the reserve for 2nd party after 1st
one. You have to be with coworkers around 11pm when you go a drinking party… Good
Not only going to a drinking party, but also old people want young generation to go to a golf
together. Getting up around 4:30am and take your boss to a golf yard with your car? And you have to stay with them until 7pm… Are you serious???
“Your evaluation toward your work is discussed while in this drinking party or golf.”
If you don’t attend them at all, you don’t even know why you’re not evaluated well compared to the others.
That’s a Japanese real working condition.
No one wants to make a decision-making.
I already talked about a lot of damn things for young employees. Let’s focus on old generation who is a manager of this corrupt organization. Japanese managers are really good at making an excuse and not decision-making. Japanese organization are really hierarchical system. Once you messed up with your jobs, you basically messed up your entire career.
In addition, even if you take a risk, there’s a small reward for that. Japanese businessman’s salary is High-risk, Low-return. It’s obvious that which is better for our lives. Low-risk, Low-return. That’s why Japanese decision-making is soooo slow. (We also need a lot of approval from managers though).
A lot of people wonder how it’s like to be working in Japan. Since Japanese people treat foreigners as “foreigners”. You know what I mean… They will never treat you as a same member. No one will ask you to go to play golf together because they don’t wanna talk a secret issues with you.
These are the facts that I experienced in a traditional Japanese company. If you want to know more, comment it from below.