Exhaustive Work Culture of Japan

Japan’s Work Force Deprived of Happiness?

After the explosion of the atomic bomb in the Hiroshima, and Nagasaki cities of Japan, the country suffered a huge loss, due to the second world war.

The country realized that it has to overwork to overcome the loss. The work culture of the country might bring chills to those who avoid spending a minute extra in their workplace. People in Japan believe in extreme dedication toward the work. The country is known for its hard work.

Japanese employees are the next-significant vacation-deprived workers. As per the article published in The Japan Times, one in four companies admitted that employees contribute 80 to 100 extra work hours per month as overtime. The extra work hours are not paid.


There is a specific term, karoshi in Japan for death caused by overwork and exhaustion. The major factors behind growing incidences of Karoshi are the country’s desire to remain on the front edge, and compete with Western counterparts, along with a collective mindset and access to convenient services.

The growing labor requirement in the country for transforming it into a modern industrialized country. As the country outnumbered numerous Western countries and turned out to be the second largest economy in the world post World War II, the workforce developed a habit of working extra hours than their official work hours.

Moreover, the collectivist culture in the country is so prevalent; and it expects workers to prioritize the organization more than themselves. In numerous cases, it has provided the power to corporations to neglect the rights of employees. The labor unions of the country remained too weak to demand any policy reforms that favor employees.

Another major factor for mass adoption of the overworking habit is the cultural expectation in the country for convenience. The 24/7 functional retail and delivery services might be beneficial for customers, but it makes employees work graveyard shifts.

The strong dedication toward work, sometimes the rigid dedication with stringent work ethic deeply embedded in the minds of Japanese people is the major reason behind tragic cases of Karoshi.


The term ‘nomikais’ is meant for drinking parties organized in a company. These parties are compulsory to attend. It is also a major reason for extreme stress in the workforce. Due to overwork, people already get tired and want to reach home to rest. But they are stopped to attend the drinking party organized by the boss. It is not considered a good gesture to decline the invitation. It is often mandatory in practice, to refuse the request of a senior employee in the work culture of Japan.

Numerous workers avoid resting after hours of overwork, as they are required to attend nomikais to keep good ties with their fellow employees. Apart from work duties, several workers have other after-work activities that make them avoid relaxing, trying new hobbies, meeting friends and families, or experiencing leisure travel.

What if…Still, Has to Work in Japan? 

Despite, all such issues, numerous companies are operating in Japan and offer a good work culture. Yes, these are modern start-ups that do not share similarities to their older or legacy firms. Numerous foreign companies have their branches in Japan. All such companies offer a good work environment, unlike the exhaustive work culture offered by legacy firms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *