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5 characteristics and good/bad points of Japan's work culture! How is it different from overseas?

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  • This article summarizes Japan's work culture. It provides a detailed explanation of the major characteristics of Japan's work culture, as well as its good and bad points.

    If you are thinking about working in Japan or want to deepen your understanding of Japanese work culture, please use this as a reference.

    Characteristics of Japanese work culture

    Characteristics of Japan's work culture include the following:

    • Basically, you are required to value your work.
    • Many companies require overtime
    • There is a retirement allowance system
    • Many companies have a monthly salary system.

    In Japan, there are many companies where employees are praised for prioritizing work over their private lives. In recent years, due to the diversification of work styles, not all companies are like this, but it is still a deeply rooted idea. As a result, overtime is often seen.

    Many people prioritize work, even when it comes to family birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and other events, if there is a ``must-do'' job. Many people don't do it because they want to, but there are many companies where their reputation will be affected if they don't, so they have no choice but to do it in order to get promoted.

    Also, it is probably rare for a company to have a retirement benefit system. For employees who have worked for a certain period of time or more, if they retire amicably, the company will send them a thank you money (congratulatory money). Generally speaking, the longer you have worked for a company, the higher your retirement benefits will be.

    Another characteristic of Japan is that, while there are many companies in other countries that use an annual salary system, a monthly salary system is common in Japan.

    5 positive aspects of Japan's work culture

    Here are five good things about Japan's work culture.

    1. Systems regarding workers are in place.
    2. Many people take their work seriously
    3. Collaborate with others to accomplish work
    4. You can learn a lot while working
    5. polite

    Let's check them one by one.

    Systems regarding workers are in place.

    First of all, one good point is that there are systems in place regarding workers.

    For example, the Labor Standards Act stipulates the hours that workers are allowed to work to prevent them from overworking or forcing them to work too much, and it also stipulates minimum wages to protect workers from unfair salary settings.

    In addition, there are many other guarantee systems that you can join by becoming a working adult, such as employment insurance and social insurance.

    Many people take their work seriously

    Another positive feature is that many people take their work seriously. You could say that this is the Japanese temperament.

    Basically, they are characterized by the fact that most of them carry out their assigned tasks faithfully and sincerely.

    However, Japanese people tend to be easily influenced by those around them, so this may not be the case in workplaces where there are many unscrupulous people.

    Collaborate with others to accomplish work

    Many Japanese people are likely to understand the importance of teamwork and communication through their work, as they are often required to work in collaboration with others.

    By working in Japan, you can expect to learn the importance of teamwork and communication, and the magnitude of what can be accomplished by multiple people.

    You can learn a lot while working

    In addition to the communication that I mentioned, Japanese people's work basically involves ``memorizing things by watching.'' If you have highly skilled seniors while working, you will be able to learn a lot not only about work, but also about communication and etiquette among Japanese people.


    In Japan, many companies are very strict when it comes to etiquette. If you're working, you'll be able to see how polite they are, such as ``bringing gifts when visiting business partners'' and ``sending thank-you emails in various situations.''

    In Japan, where the spirit of hospitality is alive and well, there is also a unique culture regarding business etiquette, rules, and manners.

    5 bad points about Japan's work culture

    The following are the top 5 bad points about Japan's work culture.

    1. No sense of speed
    2. don't like change
    3. Often not clearly stated
    4. Each process takes time
    5. there is peer pressure

    Let's check them one by one.

    No sense of speed

    First of all, the lack of a sense of speed can be said to be a negative aspect of Japanese work culture.

    It's not uncommon for companies to require permission from their superiors to do anything. Although such systems may be in place to ensure the best possible outcome, in many cases they have a negative impact on the creation and realization of new ideas.

    don't like change

    Another disadvantage is that few people like change.

    For example, if you change the attendance system, there will always be opposition. Even if there are many benefits to making the change.

    Many Japanese people have a strong sense of prioritizing ``familiarity'' and ``usedness'' over ``convenience.''

    Often not clearly stated

    In the ``Politeness'' section of the good points, I mentioned that there is a unique culture regarding etiquette, rules, and manners in business.

    This unique culture is often not clearly stated. In other words, you need to remember it as you work.

    In addition to this, there are many other things that are referred to as "tacit consent." This means that there are rules and etiquette that are unknown until the event to which they apply occurs. If you have never had the opportunity to experience this type of thinking, you may be confused.

    Each process takes time

    The fact that they approach their work seriously and carefully is a very good thing, but on the other hand, it can be said that the bad thing is that each process takes time.

    Lack of a sense of speed is also one of the reasons why it takes a lot of time.

    there is peer pressure

    When Japanese people get together, there is often a feeling of peer pressure that says, ``I should do this because everyone else is doing this.'' This also applies to companies and business situations.

    An example would be something like, ``Although it's not stipulated by company regulations, everyone else is wearing suits, so you should avoid wearing anything other than suits.''

    People from other countries with a culture of individualism may be surprised.

    The future of Japanese work culture

    The work culture in Japan that I have talked about so far is gradually changing due to changes in society and the global situation.

    In 2016, the number of public holidays in Japan increased, and the introduction of a "selective three-day work week" system is also being considered. An increasing number of foreign-affiliated companies have a three-day work week.

    The number of companies offering telework and remote work is increasing, so it can be said that companies are gradually adapting to diverse work styles.

    However, due to a work culture that does not have a sense of speed and does not like change, change will take time. In the future, I think we should select and preserve the positive aspects of Japanese work culture, emulate the positive aspects of work culture in other countries, and update it while optimizing it for Japan.

    So far, I have explained Japan's work culture.

    We hope that you will use the content as a reference to deepen your understanding of Japan and use it as a reference when working in Japan.

  • We at "Goandup" will continue our activities to convey the charms of Japan to the world.

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