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
|Jobs in Japan||https://jobsinjapan.com|
International job boards you can use in Japan
Japanese services you can use for finding part-time jobs in Japan
What a Japanese resume looks like
A Japanese resume starts with the following basic information:
- Date (preferably the day you submit your resume)
- Your name
- Photo (the photo should be glued to the top right corner of the resume, see below)
- Date of birth
- Phone number
Next you’ll need to add:
8. Education history (gakureki, 学歴)
Fill it out like this:
- 2015年 9月 GaijinPot大学外国語学部入学
- 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:
- 2012年 9月 株式会社GaiKokujinPot マーケティング部 入社
- 2015年 6月 株式会社GaiKokujinPot マーケティング部 退社
- 2018年 9月 株式会社GaijinPot 営業部 入社
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
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
|募集する||to recruit, to hire|
|必須||what is mandatory|
|日払い||pay is given on a daily basis, by cash|
|Holidays and benefits|
What should you wear for a Japanese interview
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
- 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
- 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)
- 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:
- The period of the labor contract
- Renewal process in case of a fixed-term employment contract
- Working place and duties
- Overtime work
- Working hours or shift hours and change, including breaks, days off and leave
- 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)|
|+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|
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.
Under Japanese law you are entitled to:
- A workplace free of discrimination against foreign nationals, gender or age.
- Clear written indication of working conditions, such as a contract that specifies your wages and working hours.
- Freedom from forced labor, through blackmail or coercion.
- Be able to give notice of departure without paying a penalty fee.
- 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.
- Thirty (30) days notice of dismissal.
- Payment of wages (the pay must be at least the hourly minimum wage for your prefecture).
- Working hours totalling no more than 44 hours a week, with at least four days off per month.
- Extra pay for overtime, holiday work and work after midnight.
- Annual paid leave of 10 working days (consecutive or spread) after being employed for six months.
- Return of outstanding wages and other property after leaving a company.
- 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
- 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.
- An employer cannot offset your salary payment against advances of credit as a work condition.
- 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.
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:
|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/|
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:
|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|
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.
|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:
|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.
|所定就労日||Fixed work day||21.00|
|出勤日数||Actual worked day||20.00|
|休日出勤日数||Day off day||0.00|
|欠勤日数||Leave day taken||0.00|
|所定労働時間||Fixed working hours||168:00|
|実働時間||Actual worked hours||174:46|
|遅刻早退回数||Lateness or early leave time||0:00|
|遅刻早退時間||Lateness or early issued
|普通残業時間||Regular overtime hours||20:05|
|深夜残業時間||Midnight shift overtime hours||2:10|
|休日勤務時間||Holiday overtime hours||0:00|
|有休日数||Paid leave used||2.00|
|有休残日数||Paid leave balance||26.00|
|税額表甲欄||Payer (if your company)|
|扶養人数||Number of dependents|
|皆勤手当||Perfect attendance allowance||5,000|
|普通残業手当||Regular overwork allowance||49,907|
|深夜残業手当||Midnight shift overwork allowance||5,815|
|休日勤務手当||Holiday overwork allowance||0|
|非課税通勤費||Non-taxable commuting allowance||4,500|
|遅刻早退控除||Lateness or early leave penalty/deduction||771|
|健康保険料||Health insurance fee||16,810|
|介護保険料||Nursing Care insurance||2,562|
|厚生年金保険料||Welfare Pension insurance||29,290|
|前回端数預り||Previous salary deduction from rounding up sum||614|
|今回端数預り||This salary deduction from rounding up sum||178|
|現金支給額||Actual cash payments|
|現物支給額||Goods or non-cash payments value|
|課税支給累計||Total taxable income (yearly)||744,951|
|社会保険累計||Total accumulated social insurance||102,343|
|所得税累計||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|
|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|
|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)
|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|
|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|
|Services (not elsewhere classified)||44.7||9.1||¥306,000||40.7||6.4||¥238,000|