Daily Work Of The Japanese

940 words | 4 page(s)

Japan’s traditional work system is unique and even for the local population, it is hard to be an integral part of it. The Japanese are not without reason considered to be a very hardworking nation and are practically live in the workplace. Such an overstrain of physical and mental forces has detrimental effects on the health of the Japanese workers. In Japan, salary is paid for the work hours and this is why almost all Japanese take overtime tasks. On the other hand, it often results in the fact that the employees work even on a simple task for long hours, days or even weeks. The deadlines set by the company also do not always correspond to the level of complexity of the work. Some Japanese have the habit to slow down the workflow. This is considered one of the main reasons why their economy is not in the best condition nowadays.

Standard working day starts at 9 am and lasts till 7 pm. Still, most importantly, even if it is officially stated that the working day is from nine, the employees are expected to come from 30 minutes up to one hour before the working day starts. At the same time, the end of the official working day does not mean that workers can go home at seven sharp because it is not a good idea to leave prior to one’s boss. If s/he stays at the office for a few hours more, the employees are likely to stay too. According to the rules, in the workplace it is not allowed to talk about family, problems and other topics, because it is considered distracting for the employees.

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In Japan, it is not acceptable to demonstrate one’s difference or superiority. Even calling co-workers by their first name at work is unheard of in Japan. As Merchant adds, “while Americans generally have to be self-motivated, the Japanese embrace a group mentality.”1
1. YS Merchant “5 Major Differences Between Japanese and American Workplaces.” Bsinessinsider.com. Last modified April 5, 2018. https://www.businessinsider.com/differences-between-japanese-and-american-work-culture-2018-3

The Japanese try not to show their uniqueness since all employees must be on the same level.
Unlike Americans, the Japanese find it necessary to ask their superiors for approval before they make important decisions. In the classic Japanese companies, workers build their career for a long time. Career growth depends on age, but not on merit. That is why even a very talented young specialist usually holds a minor position and works a lot low wages.
Officially, the salary in Japan is high. However, after the deduction of all taxes, they receive an average of a little more than a thousand dollars. Younger people get even less than o. According to resources.realestate.co.jp, “there is a significant gender gap across age groups: the average salary for a 20-something man is ¥3,740,000 ($34,000), while the average salary for a 20-something woman is ¥500,000 less, at ¥3,240,000 ($29,455).2 The same source reports that there are no vacations in Japan like in other countries of the world. Weekends are only Saturday or Sunday. Depending on the company, the employees are entitled to several additional days off per year.

When it comes to the dress code, the failure to follow its rules has serious consequences for the employee, up to instant dismissal. In a traditional Japanese company, workers wear a black suit, regardless of the weather, even if it is very hot outside. Recently, a new law was issued allowing for the wearing of shirts with short sleeves. This is also due to the forced energy savings, in which even in extreme heat, air conditioners are not always used in offices. According to Merchant, “Most businessmen, called “salarymen” in Japan, wear gray, navy, or
2. “What is the Average Salary in Japan by Occupation and Age?”. Last modified July 5, 2017. https://resources.realestate.co.jp/living/average-salary-japan-occupation-age/

black suits and are almost always wearing ties, even in the summer.”3

In some companies, women are forbidden to wear fitted suits because it is allowed to wear absolutely straight clothes. Skirt must cover the knees. Female accessories are also prohibited. Makeup should be almost invisible: “It’s also important to be tidy from head to toe. Japanese men keep their hair short and neatly styled, while women in business don’t wear heavy makeup nor a lot of perfume.”4 The reason is that at work, women should be as less attractive to men as possible. Men cannot have long hair, beard and mustache. This is an unspoken rule that everyone knows. In some state-owned companies, the female employees who have by nature light hair color, are forced to change its color to black not to look different.

Overall, Japanese workplaces are focused not on individuals, but on groups. In order to exist normally in society, the Japanese are forced to hide their differences and distinctive personal qualities from everyone, especially from their colleagues. At work, everyone should be the same and no different from each other. With this system of payment per hour the workers design their work not for quality, but for the number of hours spent in the office. It is also true that in Japan, it is not uncommon for an employee to die from an overstrain in the workplace or commit suicide due to stress.

  • “Dress Code in Japan: A Guide to Appropriate Japanese Attire.” Last modified 1 May 2018. https://www.realestate-tokyo.com/living-in-tokyo/japanese-culture/japans-dress-code/
  • Merchant, YS. “5 Major Differences Between Japanese and American Workplaces.” Last modified April 5, 2018. https://www.businessinsider.com/differences-between-japanese-and-american-work-culture-2018-3
  • “What is the Average Salary in Japan by Occupation and Age?”. Last modified July 5, 2017. https://resources.realestate.co.jp/living/average-salary-japan-occupation-age/

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