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10 Things I Hate about Job-Hunting in Japan

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Waseda chapter.


Job-hunting, shukatsu, abbreviation of shushoku katsudou in Japanese, is really stressful for many students. It has been criticized because there are too many tacit rules we should follow. Here is a list of things I hate about job-hunting in Japan, as written by a student who just started job-hunting and likes the movie 10 Things I Hate about You. This list is based on the famous heroine’s speech in the movie:

“I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair. I hate the way you drive my car, I hate it when you stare. I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind. I hate you so much it makes me sick; It even makes me rhyme. I hate the way you’re always right. I hate it when you lie. I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry. I hate it that you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t call. But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you; Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.” 

I hope this helps cheer people who are doing or will do job-hunting in Japan.

I hate the way I must wear and cut my hair.

In Japan, university students always have to wear suits for information sessions, intern orientations, and interviews. This recruitment suit must be black or navy, and tight skirts are preferable. With decided styles such as tight skirts, it is uneasy to walk and unpleasant. Moreover, there are decided hair styles you should do. When you tie back your hair, it is better to show ears and eyebrows.

This decided style for job hunting has been criticized. In September, Pantene, the popular American haircare bland in Japan, started the campaign hoping all students can be true to their selves during job hunting. Some companies told students that they can wear more relaxed clothes, but such companies are not many.


Photo by Dick Thomas Johnson via flickr

I hate the way you handle my schedule.  

Most students start their job hunting from the summer vacation in their third year and continue it until the fourth year. Many meetings and interns are scheduled on weekdays, but we all have lectures. Should I sacrifice lectures I want to go to that are important for my degree, and instead attend so many career events?

I hate it when you stare and judge me by my appearance.

Some companies judge us by our appearance. Especially, in Japan, there are two types of job; one is regular full-time position and the other is general office work with limited possibilities for promotion and a wage increase. The latter one has been targeted at women who are going to marry and quit the job when they are young. Thus, these women should be beautiful.

Even for regular position, being good-looking is an advantage and it is an unspoken rule. For women, there is a certain makeup recommended for job hunting and there are magazines or websites that introduce how to do this proper makeup application. Gender stereotype is still strong in Japanese society and feminine makeup is needed to fulfill employers’ image.

I hate the tight dumb pumps I should wear.

It is said that appropriate pumps for job-hunting are black, not shiny, and have heels but not too high; they should be 3 to 5cm and thick. These shoes that I am not used to give me blisters and it is so annoying while I am walking. Plus, nude colored stockings are essential.



And the way you read my mind.

I hate it so much it makes me sick.

During the interview, you may read my mind and ask many tough questions.

I hate the way you’re always right.

Since I want job offers, I probably need to say you’re always right.

I hate it when you lie.

In the explanation of internship or career events on the web, companies always write a note something like this: This event has nothing to do with the employment selection.

However, it is actually part of the selection and they picked up good students earlier.

This is the consequence of an agreement among Japanese companies to not prematurely recruit college graduates. For this agreement, foreign companies are included, so that Japanese companies feared that good students are taken by them and use career events as a selection.



I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry.

During interviews or internships, I need to keep smiling to give companies good impression and it is tiring. According to the Japanese police statistics, job hunting is the reason for suicide in 188 cases in 2017. Job hunting is stressful, and it is killing me.

But I hate it when you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t call.

Many people wear suits in the university, because they went events or interns before their lecture or going to go afterwards. It sometimes made me scared, because I feel like I do not devote myself enough to job hunting. When my schedule book is not full of career events and they are not around me, I suffer from anxiety.

Also, many companies use phone calls to notice whether you pass or fail. I am just longing for your call, seriously.

But mostly, I hate the way I can get rid of it. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.

Yes, it is inevitable. I must work and make some money. I cannot hate you.



As for me and companies, I am curious about how our relationship is going to go. Many people are looking for the one that they can work in happily, though not all of them can and sometimes end up in divorce. I hope there will be a happy ending between us like in the movie.


Final year student at SILS, Waseda University. Previously an editor of art& photo section and the best educational writer of 2018 at The Bubble, Durham University student online magazine.