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Jobs and Employment

From taking the right resume photo to exchanging business cards.

Applying for jobs

In order to work in Japan, you need to have one of the below visas:

  • Spouse visa
  • Permanent visa
  • Work visa

You need a special authorization to work for the following visa:

  • Student visa (only part-time jobs)
  • Designated activities visa

If you don’t have one of these visas you have to apply for one. Check the Visa and Status of Residence section of the 101 for more information.

English job boards in Japan

International job boards you can use in Japan

Japanese services you can use for finding part-time jobs in Japan

Name Website
TownWork https://townwork.net/
Baitoru https://www.baitoru.com/
MyNavi Baito https://baito.mynavi.jp/


What a Japanese resume looks like

What a Japanese resume looks like

A Japanese resume starts with the following basic information:

Japanese resume

  1. Date (preferably the day you submit your resume)
  2. Your name
  3. Sex
  4. Photo (the photo should be glued to the top right corner of the resume, see below)
  5. Date of birth
  6. Address
  7. Phone number

Next you’ll need to add:

8. Education history (gakureki, 学歴)

Fill it out like this:

  1. 2015年 9月 GaijinPot大学外国語学部入学
  2. 2018年 6月 GaijinPot大学外国語学部 日英語学科 卒業

9. Work history (shokureki, 職歴)

Fill it out like this:

  1. 2012年 9月 株式会社GaiKokujinPot マーケティング部 入社
  2. 2015年 6月 株式会社GaiKokujinPot マーケティング部 退社
  3. 2018年 9月 株式会社GaijinPot 営業部 入社
  4. 以上

You don’t need to go into the detail of your education background or work experience. In Japan, all of this will be covered in the interview and on a separate document which functions as your work experience resume (shokumu rirekisho, 職務履歴書).

In fact, you just need to write your starting (nyugaku/nyusha, 入学・入社) and leaving (sotsugyou/taigaku/taisha, 卒業・退学・退社) date along with the position name you had or the department where you study.

Plus some more information:

10. License and certificates (menkyo/shikaku, 免許・資格)

Write any accomplishments that you have achieved over the years such as licenses or certificates (JLPT, TOEIC score, etc.). This even includes a driver’s license.

11. The reason why you’re applying for this job

12. Your average commute time for the job and the closest station

13. Number of dependents (excluding your spouse)

14. Marital status

15. Whether your spouse is dependent on you

16. Your ideal salary, department, working hours, etc.

17. Information about your legal guardian (if you have one)

Important note: When you write a Japanese resume you must stick with either the Gregorian calendar or the Japanese calendar all the way.

Japanese resume photo

Photo on a Japanese resume

Your resume photo should follow basic rules:

  • A plain solid color background
  • A clear photo of head and the top of your shoulders
  • A professional appearance: a black, dark grey or navy business suits
  • Solid eye contact and look directly into the camera

And avoid the following points:

  • Showing visible tattoos
  • Too many earrings and other jewelry
  • Messy hair or hair covering the face
  • No jacket (shirt only) or colorful patterns
  • Heavy makeup

Jobs Kanji cheat sheet

求人きゅうじん job offer
応募おうぼする to apply
募集ぼしゅうする to recruit, to hire
条件じょうけん requirements
資格しかく qualifications
必須ひっす what is mandatory
未経験みけいけん  inexperienced


雇用こよう形態けいたい contract type
正社員せいしゃいん regular employee
契約社員けいやくしゃいん contract employee
派遣社員はけんしゃいん temporary employee
季節きせつ雇用こよう seasonal employee
勤務地きんむち work location
職務内容しょくむないよう work details


給与きゅうよ salary
時給じきゅう hourly salary
月給げっきゅう月収げっしゅう monthly salary
ねんきゅう年収ねんしゅう annual salary
賞与しょうよ bonus
ばら pay is given on a daily basis, by cash
勤務時間きんむじかん working hours


Holidays and benefits
休日きゅうじつ holiday
休暇きゅうか paid holidays
待遇たいぐう  benefit
福利厚生ふくりこうせい welfare program
交通費こうつうひ travel fare


What should you wear for a Japanese interview

For men


  • Messy hair
  • Scruff or stubble beard
  • T-shirt
  • Unironed Jacket/Shirt/Pants
  • All-buttoned jacket
  • Dirty shoes
  • Shoulder bag
  • Clean hair
  • Clean shaved
  • White shirt and necktie
  • Ironed suit (navy/dark grey/black)
  • One-buttoned jacket
  • Brushed/waxed/clean shoes
  • Briefcase type business bag

For women

  • Heavy makeup
  • Loose hair
  • No jacket
  • Small or colorful bag
  • Non-neutral color jacket, skirt or pants
  • White or dark stocking
  • Sneakers, sandals, very high heels, colorful shoes
  • Natural or nude makeup
  • Tied hair
  • White shirt with a collar
  • Dark colored business bag A4 size, can stand on the floor
  • Neutral color jacket, skirt or pants (navy, dark grey, black)
  • Neutral stocking
  • Dark shoes (dark brown, black)

Tip: If you are a fresh graduate your suit should be black.

How to navigate a Japanese interview

A standard interview at a Japanese company is a mysterious dance of cultural cues and codes that involves a lot of bowing. As a foreigner you are not expected to know every single rule but it’s always good to know the most basic.

Beginning the interview

  • Lightly knock 3 times
  • Wait for an answer, usually どうぞ = douzo
  • Say 失礼します = shitsureishimasu
  • Open the door
  • Bow
  • Close the door
  • Place yourself next to the chair in front of the interviewer
  • Introduce yourself in Japanese : [Last name, first name]と申します = to moushimasu. 本日はよろしくお願いします = honjitsu wa yoroshiku onegaishimasu
  • Wait for an invitation to sit down, usually お座りください = osuwari kudasai
  • Sit down while carefully put your bag and belongings on one side (see example below)

Ending the interview

  • After making sure that the interview is over, while still sitting, say 本日はお忙しい中、お時間をいただき、誠にありがとうございました = honjitsu wa ohisogashii naka, ojikan wo itadaki, makotoni arigatougozaimashita
  • Bow while sitting
  • Stand up to side of the chair
  • Say 失礼します = shitsureishimasu
  • Bow
  • Head towards the door
  • While facing the interviewer, say one last time 失礼します = shitsureishimasu
  • Leave the room, quietly close the door and silently scream (just kidding on that last one)

Top tips

  • Try not to speak while bowing, always finish your sentence before bowing.
  • Don’t put anything on the table, including your arms.


A proper labor contract should have the following points written down:

  1. The period of the labor contract
  2. Renewal process in case of a fixed-term employment contract
  3. Working place and duties
  4. Overtime work
  5. Working hours or shift hours and change, including breaks, days off and leave
  6. Salary
  7. Reasons for dismissal, retirement or non-renewal

You may ask for clarification or translation if you cannot understand some parts of your contract.

Granted leave days by weekly working time

Years of employment (consecutive)
0.5 1.5 2.5 3.5 4.5 5.5 6.5+
+30hrs, 5d or more 10 11 12 14 16 18 20
-30hrs / 4d 7 8 9 10 12 13 15
-30hrs / 3d 5 6 6 8 9 10 11
2 days 3 4 4 5 6 6 7
1 day 1 2 2 2 3 3 3

Working hours

Make sure to ask about your working hours and if this includes meetings, briefings and ceremonies. Any time your job requires you to be on location should be paid — it is illegal to schedule you to do something without pay, even if it is just being in the office. Ask for an example schedule before committing to anything.

Be sure to check the legal minimum hourly wage set by region by the Ministry of Health, Education and Welfare of Japan.

Workers rights

Under Japanese law you are entitled to:

  1. A workplace free of discrimination against foreign nationals, gender or age.
  2. Clear written indication of working conditions, such as a contract that specifies your wages and working hours.
  3. Freedom from forced labor, through blackmail or coercion.
  4. Be able to give notice of departure without paying a penalty fee.
  5. Protection from being fired:
    • For being sick, unless you are absent from your job for thirty (30) days due to the illness
    • For being married, pregnant or requesting maternity leave
    • For organizing a labor union
    • For whistle blowing.
  6. Thirty (30) days notice of dismissal.
  7. Payment of wages (the pay must be at least the hourly minimum wage for your prefecture).
  8. Working hours totalling no more than 44 hours a week, with at least four days off per month.
  9. Extra pay for overtime, holiday work and work after midnight.
  10. Annual paid leave of 10 working days (consecutive or spread) after being employed for six months.
  11. Return of outstanding wages and other property after leaving a company.
  12. Compliance with all health and safety regulations, including the right to the employment insurance (except for employee already covered by any overseas employment insurance), health insurance and employee pension insurance system enrollment.

Illegal contract practice

  1. An employer cannot make a contract which specifies in advance a sum payable to the employer for either:
    • Breach of contract (resignation, dismissal or contract expiration)
    • Company material property damages.
  2. An employer cannot offset your salary payment against advances of credit as a work condition.
  3. An employer cannot hire an employee for less than the legal minimum hourly wage set by region by the Ministry of Health, Education and Welfare of Japan.

What are Black Companies?

Things to look out for in the early days of a new job if you think you’ve been hired by a black company (burakku kigyou, ブラック企業):

  • Not getting a visa straight away

Yes, it can take time to process a visa, but your company should send off the paper work as soon as possible. It is important to note your visa will be linked to your place of employment but that does not mean your boss can revoke it. Only the immigration bureau can revoke your visa —and only if you break the law. If you are fired, it is still not revoked, you are allowed three months to find a new job before that happens. Threatening to take visas away from foreign workers upon being fired is not within a company’s power.

  • Being paid under the table

This is done to avoid taxes but can cause problems for you later on when you have to pay your residency tax. If the numbers of your bank account and your pay stubs don’t add up you could be accused of tax evasion.

  • Creating a new bank account in your name for you

Following on from the previous point, some bosses have managed to convince workers to create a new bank account in their name that the company then controls. This is definitely not legal and a terrible abuse of workers. No bank accounts, apartment leases or property of any kind property should be registered in your name by another party. This is done to shift the tax burden from them to you. You could end up paying tax for earnings you never see, or worse have your name be used to accumulate debts you didn’t know about. It is much better to handle your own finances, no matter what anyone at your work might say.

  • Experiencing work harassment (pawahara, パワーハラ)

One of the most common abuses that people have to deal with at work is harassment, including physical abuse, mental abuse, segregation, invasion of privacy and too much or too little demand. Power harassment is using your superior position to force employers to work beyond their contracts — or do anything not spelled out in your job description (or worse). This is basically bullying. Your boss controls your employment, but they don’t control your life. An employer should not be making you do anything other than contracted work.

  • Experiencing sexual harassment (sekuhara, セクハラ)

The hardest thing to complain about, but the most serious. Sexual predators are the same, no matter the country or language. You should not have to deal with any behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable in any way. There are not many resources to help with these situations here, but there is a counseling service available from the Ministry of Justice. Often, the best course of action is to report the perpetrator and leave these jobs, never looking back.

Labor unions

You have the right to organize, use and contact a labor union for matters of improving or protecting your work conditions.

Labor unions you can join or contact in Japan:

Name Website
General Union http://www.generalunion.org/index.php
Japan Teachers Union https://www.jtu-net.or.jp/english/
The National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu http://nugwnambu.org/
The University Teachers Union (NUGW branch) http://nugw.org/utu/1-Home.shtml
Japanese Trade Union Confederation http://www.jtuc-rengo.org/

Consultation services

If you have any concerns about labor contract or conditions, paid holiday, working hours, dismissal, compensation or general labor union law, you can contact the following institutions:

Name Website
Labor Consultation of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (English and Chinese) http://www.hataraku.metro.tokyo.jp/sodan/sodan/foreign.html
Labor Standards (Offices inside the PDF files) https://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/policy/employ-labour/labour-standards/index.html
Public Employment Security Offices for Foreigners (PDF) https://www.mhlw.go.jp/file/06-Seisakujouhou-11650000-Shokugyouanteikyokuhakenyukiroudoutaisakubu/300525.pdf
Labour Bureaus with a Foreign Workers Consultation (PDF) https://www.mhlw.go.jp/bunya/koyou/gaikokujin12/pdf/english_0010.pdf

Work culture

Business card exchange

The exchange of business cards, called meishi koukan (名刺交換), is a formal self introduction with the aim of remembering the other person’s name and role to aid future correspondence. Especially in Japan, it demands more care and attention to the process than is usually found in western countries.

The most important points to remember:

  • The highest ranking people exchange cards first
  • Give and receive cards using both hands
  • Ensure the card is turned towards the receiver
  • Keep received cards on display for the duration of the meeting in receiving order
  • Treat the cards you receive with respect (no writing, no folding)

For perfectionists, here are the full steps for exchanging business card in Japan like a pro:

  • Prepare the number of cards you will need to exchange
  • Place your business cards on top of your business card holder
  • Make sure your cards are facing towards the receiver so that they can read the text
  • If you have a bilingual card, ensure the correct language of the receiver is facing up
  • Use your right hand to offer your card, holding it by the top corner
  • Ensure no names or logos are covered up when you offer your card
  • Hold the business card holder in your left hand

What to say when you exchange

When you give you card you should introduce yourself as you offer your card with a phrase like the one below. Be sure to mention your company and your name.

Japanese  Romaji English
はじめまして。「GaijinPot」の Johnと申します。よろしくお願いします。 Hajimemashite. Gaijinpot no John to moshimasu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu. Hello. I’m John from GaijinPot. Nice to meet you.

When receiving the other person’s card, it’s common practice to confirm their name and say thank you for the card, as below:

Japanese  Romaji English
頂戴いたします。田中さんですね。よろしくお願いします。 Choudai itashimasu. Tanaka-san desu ne. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu. Thank you for your card. Your name is Mr. Tanaka, I see. It’s nice to meet you.

In a meeting

Arrange cards on top of the card holder or on the table in the seating order.

The standard practice is to keep the card on display for the duration of the meeting (or until a suitable time comes up), usually by placing it on top of the card holder on the table.

In the case of receiving several cards, you should arrange them left to right in the order of seating, as seen from your own point of view. The purpose of this is to learn the names of the people you are speaking to and to show respect. After all, the business card is the face of the other person!

After-hours drinking parties

In Japan, drinking after work is considered part of the job for Japanese salaryman. These parties can be a blast and are often good team-building affairs. It is advised to go especially if you’re a new employee.

However, in most cases, your coworkers will be totally fine with you not drinking, by politely declining each time, and you have nothing to worry about.

How to read a Japanese payslip

You should receive a paper or an electronic wage slip from your monthly salary payment by your company. Your net salary will consist on your Earnings – Deductions. Wage slips may differ from one company to another but here is a kanji cheat sheet to decode your salary in Japan.

1. 勤怠きんたい
Work attendance
所定しょてい就労しゅうろう Fixed work day 21.00
出勤しゅっきんすう Actual worked day 20.00
休日きゅうじつ出勤しゅっきん日数ひすう Day off day 0.00
欠勤けっきん日数ひすう Leave day taken 0.00
所定しょてい労働ろうどう時間じかん Fixed working hours 168:00
実働じつどう時間じかん Actual worked hours 174:46
遅刻ちこく早退そうたい回数かいすう Lateness or early leave time 0:00
遅刻ちこく早退そうたい時間じかん Lateness or early issued
普通ふつう残業ざんぎょう時間じかん Regular overtime hours 20:05
深夜しんや残業ざんぎょう時間じかん Midnight shift overtime hours 2:10
休日きゅうじつ勤務きんむ時間じかん Holiday overtime hours 0:00
有休ゆうきゅう日数ひすう Paid leave used 2.00
有休ゆうきゅうざん日数ひすう Paid leave balance 26.00
税額表ぜいがくひょう かぶとらん Payer (if your company)
扶養ふよう人数にんすう Number of dependents

3. 支給しきゅう
基本給きほんきゅう Base salary 320,000
役付やくつき手当てあて Position allowance 10,000
家族かぞく手当てあて Family allowance 10,000
皆勤かいきん手当てあて Perfect attendance allowance 5,000
普通ふつう残業ざんぎょう手当てあて Regular overwork allowance 49,907
深夜しんや残業ざんぎょう手当てあて Midnight shift overwork allowance 5,815
休日きゅうじつ勤務きんむ手当てあて Holiday overwork allowance 0
非課税ひかぜい通勤費つうきんひ Non-taxable commuting allowance 4,500
遅刻ちこく早退そうたい控除こうじょ Lateness or early leave penalty/deduction 771
合計ごうけい Sum 404,451

4. 控除こうじょ
健康保険けんこうほけんりょう Health insurance fee 16,810
介護かいご保険料ほけんりょう Nursing Care insurance 2,562
厚生年金こうせいねんきん保険料ほけんりょう Welfare Pension insurance 29,290
雇用こよう保険料ほけんりょう Unemployment insurance 3,235
所得税しょとくぜい Income tax 12,490
住民税じゅうみんぜい Inhabitant tax 7,500
財形貯蓄ざいけいちょちく Employee’s savings 20,000
合計ごうけい Sum 93,887

5. そのほか
前回ぜんかい端数はすう Previous salary deduction from rounding up sum 614
今回こんかい端数はすう This salary deduction from rounding up sum 178
合計ごうけい Sum 436

差引さしひき支給額しきゅうがく Net payments 311,000

7. 振込ふりこみ支給額しきゅうがく
Amount transferred
振込ふりこみ支給しきゅう Amount transferred 311,000
合計ごうけい Sum 311,000

現金げんきん支給額しきゅうがく Actual cash payments

現物支給げんぶつしきゅうひたい Goods or non-cash payments value

課税かぜい支給しきゅう累計るいけい Total taxable income (yearly) 744,951
社会保険しゃかいほけん累計るいけい Total accumulated social insurance 102,343
所得税しょとくぜい累計るいけい Total accumulated income tax 20,180

Average salaries in Japan

Average yearly salary in Japan by industry (2016 data from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication)

Industry Average monthly net salary
On average (all) ¥315,590
Mining and quarrying of stone and gravel ¥322,133
Construction ¥386,049
Manufacturing ¥378,447
Electricity, gas, heat supply and water ¥557,079
Information and communications ¥487,441
Transport and postal activities ¥340,132
Wholesale and retail trade ¥272,488
Finance and insurance ¥466,011
Real estate and goods rental and leasing ¥367,048
Scientific research, professional and technical services ¥459,143
Accommodations, eating and drinking services ¥126,652
Living-related and personal services and amusement services ¥203,755
Education, learning support ¥383,465
Medical, health care and welfare ¥294,986
Compound services ¥385,771
Services(not elsewhere classified) ¥258,579

Average monthly salary in Japan by industry, average age, year of service, male/female (2016 data from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication)

Male Female
Industry Average age Average length of service in year Average monthly net salary Average age Average length of service in year Average monthly net salary
Mining and quarrying of stone and gravel 46.6 13.5 ¥367,000 44.1 11.3 ¥260,000
Construction 44.6 13.8 ¥380,000 41.4 10.6 ¥262,000
Manufacturing 42.2 15.2 ¥363,000 42.4 11.8 ¥235,000
Electricity, gas, heat supply and water 42.7 19.5 ¥480,000 40.3 16.0 ¥364,000
Information and communications 40.4 13.5 ¥427,000 36.4 9.2 ¥327,000
Transport and postal activities 46.8 12.1 ¥338,000 42.0 9.5 ¥249,000
Wholesale and retail trade 42.3 14.3 ¥368,000 39.2 9.6 ¥247,000
Finance and insurance 43.2 16.1 ¥504,000 40.6 11.5 ¥298,000
Real estate and goods rental and leasing 43.7 10.6 ¥386,000 39.4 8.1 ¥270,000
Scientific research, professional and technical services 43.1 13.5 ¥431,000 38.5 9.2 ¥312,000
Accommodations, eating and drinking services 42.0 9.5 ¥299,000 39.7 7.2 ¥214,000
Living-related and personal services and amusement services 40.8 10.2 ¥308,000 38.1 7.8 ¥226,000
Education, learning support 46.2 13.1 ¥449,000 39.2 9.4 ¥314,000
Medical, health care and welfare 40.5 8.4 ¥370,000 41.3 8.3 ¥273,000
Compound services 42.6 15.5 ¥340,000 40.3 11.1 ¥234,000
Services (not elsewhere classified) 44.7 9.1 ¥306,000 40.7 6.4 ¥238,000


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