5.2 💼 Careers

3 min read•november 16, 2020

Katelyn Lien

Katelyn Lien

AP Japanese  🇯🇵

28 resources
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💼 Careers

Japan's unemployment rate is one of the lowest among developed countries. When hiring, employers look at the university the candidate attended and their school of study, called gakubu (学部). Unlike Western employers who value specialization and unique skills, Japanese employers value the level of education of their candidates and how reputable their college is.
Many Japanese companies provide a lengthy training period for all new college graduates. These graduates are expected to learn the skill sets required for the company's work during the training period, so previous experience or personal skills do not hold much value when hiring people who have just graduated from university.
Since larger companies have a longer training period than smaller Japanese companies who need skilled workers right away, newly graduated students are more likely to get hired by big Japanese companies. The young workers also prefer to be hired by larger companies because they offer more stability. It's a win-win situation! 🎉

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Here are some large Japanese companies:
  • Sony
  • Mitsubishi
  • Toyota
  • Meiji
Some of the largest cities in Japan with an abundance of job opportunities include:
  • Tokyo - Japan's capital
  • Osaka - third largest city in country, increasing tourist rates
  • Yokohama - second largest city in country, near Tokyo
Older workers and people who have been working at one company for numerous years are highly respected. They are the most knowledgeable and also serve as mentors for young and newly hired workers.
When young Japanese people join a company, they join a second family. They can go to their older co-workers for help or advice. Relationships outside of the work setting are important, so groups of workers often eat out for lunch every day, or occasionally go out for a drink after a long day.
Strong relationships and unity are important in Japanese workplaces, so many events are held to foster this kind of positive setting. One large event is the annual bōnenkai (忘年会), which is a large party that is held among co-workers at the end of the year. It is a time when friends and co-workers can reflect on the past year and look forward to another successful work year.

Image Courtesy of Flickr

Japan's career structure allows for a strong sense of loyalty among co-workers. They are all committed to their company, as many people stick to one company for their entire career. Although Japan's workforce is being increasingly transformed by Western influences, it continues to provide a safe environment for young adults to start their life-long careers.

💥 Strive for a Five Vocabulary

  • Gakko (学校): school
  • Kyōiku (教育): education
  • Seito, Gakusei (生徒、学生): student
  • Kōritsu (公立): public
  • Shiritsu (私立): private
  • TsÅ«gaku (通学): to attend school
  • TsÅ«kin (通勤): to go to work
  • Shokuin-shitsu (職員室): staff room
  • Ukaru (受かる): to pass (a test)
  • Shigoto (仕事): work
  • Shokuba (職場): workplace
  • ShÅ«shoku (就職): employment
  • Shokugyō (職業): profession
  • Benkyō (勉強): studies
  • Sotsugyō (卒業): to graduate
  • Gakki (学期): school term
Browse Study Guides By Unit
👨‍👩‍👧Unit 1 – Families in Japan
🗣Unit 2 – Language & Culture in Japan
🎨Unit 3 – Beauty & Art in Japan
🔬Unit 4 – Science & Technology in Japan
🏠Unit 5 – Quality of Life in Japan
💸Unit 6 – Challenges in Japan
✍️Exam Skills - FRQ/MCQ

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