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Job-hunting season begins for Japanese university students

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Look at those pictures. This is Japan's future. Japan is doomed....

14 ( +25 / -11 )

Its Job Hunting season again... so I guess that means, once again this year, a lot of young men will be staring up cheerleader's skirts.

34 ( +37 / -3 )

By the look of that first photo they are hunting more than jobs.

25 ( +27 / -2 )

Oh my god...

I am so glad I am a hafu right now.

If that was my only option and way forward...to join the identical looking hoard’s mass march toward mediocrity...

These kidz have spent so much time studying, but unfortunately most will just become a company drone.

28 ( +33 / -5 )

A man's life has its ups and downs. Maybe jobs are the same.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Judging by the picture it would appear that those young men are DETERMINED to HUNT very HARD until they get a JOB.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Look at those pictures. This is Japan's future. Japan is doomed....

I agree - an utterly depressing pair of photos.

17 ( +23 / -6 )

Good luck to the Jon hunters! May you find a good fit.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

What I would give if just once - JUST ONCE - one of  these wee automatons would show up for his first day at work in a lavender coloured suit. How happy that would make me....

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Japan's largest business lobby has embargoed interviewing for new hires until June and actual hiring until October to ensure fairness and give students time to prepare. Smaller firms and foreign companies that are not members of the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, are not subject to the embargo and can hire freely.

Pretty funny use of the word "embargo" as I see these corporations and the JBF and Keidanren view these new recruits as "goods" instead of people!

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Geoff GillespieToday  06:58 am JST

Look at those pictures. This is Japan's future. Japan is doomed....

The same comment gets posted here nearly every year. I wonder, what exactly are we supposed to see in the pictures to believe that Japan's future is doomed?

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Japanese college student years are three not four. They do not have time to study when they become a senior busy hunting jobs. What can they learn in three years when a sophomore and a junior are repeating subjects they learned at senior highs?

15 ( +16 / -1 )

I swear this same set of pictures was used last year.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Look at those pictures. This is Japan's future. Japan is doomed....

We don't need these pictures to tell us that.

I agree - an utterly depressing pair of photos

I didn't get depressed looking at the cheerleader's legs..

Also have a thing for RS.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

What can they learn in three years when a sophomore and a junior are repeating subjects they learned at senior highs?

I guess you missed the report anout japanese employers wanting ‘empty shells’ not educated youngsters. I know many younger people who graduated foreign universities in Australia, the US, England, etc. and they have a very difficult time getting a job in their return due to their ‘education’.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Japan's largest business lobby has embargoed interviewing for new hires until June and actual hiring until October to ensure fairness and give students time to prepare.

Should not it be like that company hires people when they actually have a vacancy? Regardless if it s March, June or October?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@ katsu78

The same comment gets posted here nearly every year. I wonder, what exactly are we supposed to see in the pictures to believe that Japan's future is doomed?

True. It may be me doing the posting. I suppose it could be wishful thinking on my part. This is one of the least appealing aspects of Japanese society to me and I suspect many others, it's all so mind-numbingly depressing watching these young nobodies begin their journeys toward becoming older nobodies...

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I'd give a job to the only one wearing a tie that isn't blue. Clearly demonstrates individuality.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

You know what would be better for their morale?

Not going to ridiculous events like this.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Scary! One picture of a bunch of guys staring up a cheerleader's skirt and the other .... well the first thing that popped into my mind at first glance was 'Hail Hitler'. Definitely a wrong choice of pictures for grads hitting the job market.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Its Job Hunting season again... so I guess that means, once again this year, a lot of young men will be staring up cheerleader's skirts.

Exactly!...?

Can we not have some work-safe images JT? (Jokes aside) Not sure what miniskirts have to do with job seekers...

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Can I unsee this? Should I?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I still can't fathom whats good about this system...

Go to cram schools so you can get into the university that will more likely be accepted into some choice of job or company brand you made when you weren't old enough to know what you actually wanted to do, where unless you are in a very technical industry every single thing you have ever learnt will be more or less useless and will start again at zero and more often than not your personality traits and natural skill areas will be ignored.

Why spend so much time at school if businesses expect you to show up more or less as a blank canvas?

For all the time kids spend in school here I can't say I feel its reflected in the result, people don't seem any better educated or knowledgable.

The identical suits, the identically resumes.. then if you are lucky you might get accepted into a company where you then often sit at a desk for 10hrs a day, expected to know how to do things particular to a company which no-one has ever trained you in, long hours, long meetings, always "busy" but not achieving much.. find a partner, get married in a fake church, bust out a few kids, take up smoking and go to horrible binge drinking parties till the last train parties so you can talk to your manager so you might have some hope of progressing when someone finally moves on, more hours, more sitting, wife and kids get more and more distant... by this time the system has got you and you start to believe simply age or someones time at a company is actually important, not how good they are at their job and the young women in that photo more than likely have made barely a position change and are still expected to make tea and coffees for other peoples meetings...

And once this might have made even ~some sense~ if you really did have a job forever and would get enough of a raise each year one day you would probably be ok, but we are seeing large Japanese companies laying people off, and using contract employees instead of permanent staff and lower or no salary increases.

My reply may seem a little harsh or like I want to simply "bash" Japan but that isn't the case, I just think there has to be a better way, having seen so many young creative bright enthusiastic people become just another sleep deprived drone in a nearly silent office in my several years at a very traditional company in Japan broke my heart, these kids should be the light of the future.

Truly and honestly best of luck kids.

27 ( +28 / -1 )

The same comment gets posted here nearly every year. I wonder, what exactly are we supposed to see in the pictures to believe that Japan's future is doomed?

No number of warm bodies will save Japan's future.

Respect to those J-guys and gals who somehow hung on to their spirit and freedom of thought, but unfortunately education in Japan is about indoctrination, not education.

True education empowers, emboldens - it's an enlightening experience. Japanese 'education' does the opposite of that; it teaches young people to keep their head down, and don't challenge the status-quo (who caused the massive problems on the horizon for Japan) - just do as your told and don't overthink it.

Now, after several generations of this, and due to an inability or refusal to adjust to realities, you have the blind leading the blind in Japan. So there is not much hope.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

@NZ2011 - I am a foreigner and business owner in Japan and have been running my business 2 decades. I really like Japan and intend to stay.

That said; your comment is spot on. I do not see you as trying to "bash Japan", rather I see you calling it the way it is. I have a fairly large team of highly technically skilled Japanese engineers. I have hired none of them using this type of process (they probably would not give me a 2nd look anyway). A couple of the engineers I have worked at very large prestigious Japanese companies before....and they are probably the least productive and technically skilled of my group (or I would say group of misfits if they are expected to be conformists).

Good comment!

13 ( +15 / -2 )

@AgentX - education in Japan is about indoctrination, not education

I would have said, “incarceration not education,” but that’s close enough.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Don't fit in jobseekers but stand out. Good luck!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If the Japanese government seriously thinks we have to change the working system, Japan has to change this old fashioned hiring system first. This is a ceremony. Companies already have hopeful candidates before they hold exams and interviews. They have strong relationship with professors of famous colleges. There, students do not have to running around hunting jobs. Professors introduce jobs to students when they become senior students and they are promised jobs at the companies the professors recommend. This trend is clear at big national universities. This is ridiculous happening at national colleges to which huge tax money is used.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Good luck and will see some of these new recruits in the coming months

4 ( +5 / -1 )

To add to my previous comment...this system worked well during the Showa bubble; when Japan was mass manufacturing industrial, commercial, and simple products. The system actually helped Japan during that time as the students exited with a reasonably good basic, fundamental education and were trained to conform, follow processes, and rules. This suits mass manufacturing of simple products well.

All those old jobs have gone off to Korea, China, SE Asia, and other parts. The world has changed and the Japanese education system has not changed with it. This is an evolving problem which will certainly cause unintended (and probably unexpected) issues. I say unexpected because the very old LDP types who have been enjoying their government jobs and passing the amakudari to their friends are probably not fully aware of how big of a deal this is.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

@Tokyo-Engr

I really like Japan too! and intend to stay, Im invested in its future and want the best for Japan's success, which is why I care so much, as well as wanting great futures for these kids.

I'm now the manager of a team in APAC based in the Tokyo office of an overseas company. (which is far from perfect things being so quarter centric and stock changes leads to hasty changes in direction and sometimes layoffs). While I made some moves in the previous company by being out spoken and being prepared to take responsibility for decisions it was still so frustrating and bad for business in an industry where we had to be extremely quick to react, not to mention the power harassment, long hours and meaningless meetings.

I still interact with many Japanese customers and large Japanese organizations where I see "system" in full action regularly.

However in my new company here I see people that didn't follow the "path" maybe traveled overseas for some time after school or because of the very specific industry I'm in tried some different things who have a far more balanced view of work and with a little nudging can be independent and creative thinkers.

I hope and wish to be in the position to employ some people both in my position now and perhaps in my own company in the future too!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Well, good luck to all then ! That's a part of my life I surely don't miss !

6 ( +6 / -0 )

cringy photos think im gonna vomit!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

A testament to how poor the education system must be in university if they spend their whole final year illegally looking for job "promises" instead of being in school, studying. In most countries you can't do that. At least not until the final semester, and then never get any contracts, "unofficial" or otherwise.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Look at those pictures. This is Japan's future. Japan is doomed....

Right... cheerleaders at a pep rally are gonna spell the end for Japan....

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@katsu 78

Alot of people come to Japan, can’t do anything besides English, can’t go home, so they start hating, saying Japan is doomed etc.

I’d be willing to compare their nation and here and try to exactly how we are “doomed” and their way is so much better.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

Japan's unemployment rate is now the lowest in 25 years at 2.4%. They have bright future. The haters gonna hate.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

@thepersoniamnow

Very true.

NZ2011, on the other hand, makes some very good points.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The months-long recruitment process can make or break careers in a society where lifetime employment is still common.

This is the fundamental problem. The thinking that a single test, a single interview, a single job offer, will make or break your life. Very destructive thinking, catastrophizing everything.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

and in America and Europe. Guns and dope. LOL

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Agree with other posters here, this is so silly it's beyond words. Everyone dressed up in a suit like a robot, and they aren't even at work yet! Unbelievable.. What a waste of time as well

In other countries in the West, no one needs to wear suits anymore and employers actually take care of their employees unlike in Japan. So far behind the times it's ridiculous..

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Some reactions are a bit over the top here. It’s a bit of a farce in some ways but if I was their age, I’d have gone just to see if I could pick up.

Give the kids a break and wish them luck.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Alot of people come to Japan, can’t do anything besides English, can’t go home, so they start hating, saying Japan is doomed etc.

Oh right! Because all the demographic, economic, population, welfare, labor problems that come up in the Japanese media are false aren't they. But sure, maybe Japan is not 'doomed' as you say. The party is certainly over, though.

Most foreigners living in Japan have skills that are not in education - but that and IT are usually the only jobs that society here will allow them to do - because that's why foreigners are here, right? I speak enough Japanese to get by, but be damned if I can get a job doing what I'm actually good at. But sure, blame the victim.

I’d be willing to compare their nation and here and try to exactly how we are “doomed” and their way is so much better.

And I would be quite happy to have that conversation. Come to think of it, that's what most of us do here everyday.

Taking into account the experiences and knowledge of foreigners has bode Japan very well in the past. Foreigners helped Japan to modernize, for one. If taken seriously, the opinions of foreigners who know Japan well, here and now, may help to give some valuable perspective if taken on board.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

AgentX

Best post today so far.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

@THEPERSONIAMNOW 

Could go home, or a few other countries, if I wanted, speak Japanese, never taught English, but have first hand experience in not only with colleagues but my partners younger siblings going through this process and at one point went through several suit wearing Japanese format resume job interviews myself.

Never said there aren’t issues elsewhere.. there are of course, but well whatabout-ism and the idea that any critical comment is hateful makes it hard for things to get better.

I would not say doomed, but it’s an area that needs serious attention to combat not only the coming economic issues as industries change but the population decline. Any comments are not because I hate Japan but because I love my adopted home and want to stay here and for it to be successful.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

That is fine and dandy for Japanese grads but how about the futures of the students at Japan's only N Korean University, what have they got to look forward to? In recent years more have gone to Japanese Univ's and have gotten jobs at Japanese companies but many didn't have that chance. This troubled me so as a recruiter for many years I volunteered to help them find jobs at multinationals. I learned some of these kids become doctors and dentists so they can open their own clinics. It wasn't their fault they were born here under stressful conditions.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I don't really understand all the criticism around this...

It's done a little differently than in other countries, so what ?

I've been through the process, it's not so bad !

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Cheerleaders and nazi-looking salutes. Here we go again

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Readers, please note that is not a Nazi salute.

The photo of the cheerleader's legs is gratuitous and irrelevant to the story. I doubt the girl in the photo would expect to be photographed in this way.

As for the story, it's one huge exercise in conformity. Japan is not the only country with a rat race, but the level of cookie-cutter conformity required to join Japan's is still something else. Job security is falling here, but if anything, I think this means people are only more desperate to fit in and join the shrinking group of companies that can seemingly provide it.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I doubt the girl in the photo would expect to be photographed in this way.

Must be why she chose to be a cheerleader.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@econstats

There’s no need to get so defensive here. Why do some people react so badly to criticism of their culture? As I posted above, I think some people are being unnecessarily harsh about this but they are entitled to an opinion, and it doesn’t matter what job they do, what salary they earn or how well they read or write Japanese.

Incidentally, I’m a lazy, fortysomething rank-and-filer in a manufacturing company coasting along with decent Japanese skills.

Am I allowed an opinion?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

it's all so mind-numbingly depressing watching these young nobodies begin their journeys toward becoming older nobodies...

And you’re a big shot “somebody?”

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Hey I agree with most points.

The foreign community has been invaluable to Japan as well. My comment was based on the comments that seem to just bash for the sake of bashing.

A lot of posters dislike things because its not their way. But a lot of Asia is like this. You have to fit the mold and while I dont think its all good and certainly not for me, its a bit unfair to say they all totally clueless and stupid.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The way the youth fall into line so easily with their dark suits, standard haircuts, those daft looking briefcases and rehearsed standard answers is just sad. The biological imperative of youth  is to stir up the old guard in their 20s and then find a happy medium of progress and compromise in their 30s . Neither happens here. Collectivism vs individualism. I'm glad I was born in a country of the latter. As ridiculous as my version of the world was in my 20s at least I had one.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This system leads to a nation that does not understand rest of the world and would not mind going to war one day if leaders say so.

Not being knowledgeable of the heil Hitler sign tells it all.

Otherwise, it is a system that works very efficiently.

Just happy to be able to have a free speech, mind free and job search free somewhere else !

Just my opinion as some says. OUR experience speaks.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

As others have mention the university and associated job hunting phenomenon is a left over from the industrialization era after the war. This "Showa" system is credited for getting Japan back on its feet from the war, but the government and some in society do understand system is outdated and must change. In Japan changes need to come from the bottom in small steps unfortunately.

The elementry education system is changing from a philosophy of "knowledge transfer" to one of collaborative life long learning. As these students progress through the system, other elements such as university entrance exams and recruiting will change to adapt to the way the generation came. Meanwhile those who cannot wait are being advised to get their education outside of Japan........

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ive just found my next business opportunity, a shop that sells suits for men and ladies, ill sell pinstripe, grey, dark blue, may be a dark purple suit with a matching liner, wow I am going to make a killing because there must be no other shop in town selling them!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Geoff GillespieToday  08:01 am JST

This is one of the least appealing aspects of Japanese society to me and I suspect many others,

Why? Young people typically get jobs after graduating. Why should we demand Japan be any different?

it's all so mind-numbingly depressing watching these young nobodies begin their journeys toward becoming older nobodies...

How do you know they are "nobodies" and how do you know they will become "nobodies"? Do you just automatically assume all people who go through the Japanese educational system must be "nobodies"?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Most foreigners living in Japan have skills that are not in education"

Yeah right that is why there are in Japan making 250,000 Yen teaching English. If they had marketable skills they would take those skills back their own country and make more money. The sad truth is that most of the foreigners in Japan are -sad to say- losers.

"I speak enough Japanese to get by, but be damned if I can get a job doing what I'm actually good at. But sure, blame the victim."

But can you read and write Japanese at a native level? if your Japanese co worker asked you to write a business plan in Japanese. Could you do it? I don't think you could. Moreover is "just getting by" enough?

Blame Japan for your problems. Typical.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

True education empowers, emboldens - 

yeah right. That is why America and the West are at the bottom all the test scores.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I agree with econstats. I can speak, and read pretty well, but I sure butcher writing. But those you are calling losers, might very be so in their home countries, but here they are stars, and looked upon with awe, and all knowledgeable about what happens in the world. Look at David Spector for example. College dropout in America, but here he is a God. He found a niche and has done well.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@NZ2011, what a great post! I'm the product of the system you describe: a loyal salaryman of nearly two decades' service, at a "black company" with little prospect of finding employment anywhere else. Marketable skills? I don't even know what those are, much less how to acquire them. I have the skills my company wanted me to acquire, plus some useless ones I got outside of work. I have zero self-confidence and self-worth and cannot find any joy in life, though of course I have no right to feel miserable as I live in a first-world country with a roof over my head and food on my plate, things that billions of people in the world would do anything to have. No idea how to solve this paradox except to take things one day at a time and try to find happiness where it can be found.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is more about population decline....gotta keep the testosterone levels up!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Alt Rustom:

The salute is similar to the one Americans used to use for their pledge of allegiance (bellamy salute). It became unpopular in the 1940s and was replaced by the hand over the heart.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't really get the negativity in these comments. Sure, this might seem strange, but in many ways this Japanese system is benefical, since it helps secure college students, no matter their level, a fine job (not a great one, but a fine one), once they graduate. The model in Western countries is that students are kicked out on their own in their final year, possibly with no marketable skills, possibly with a bottomless debt, and completely on their own with possible unemployment or underemployment for years. Is that reall preferable to this? I don't really see it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Those pictures just scream "We commit ourselves to completely submitting ourselves to any and all rules, to always do what we're told, and to never think outside of the box for the good of Japanese society!"

Unfortunately for people of that mentality, ours is a world of constant and ever more radical disruptions that can take a powerhouse business model and flush it down the toilet within a handful of years. Blind obedience and groupthink will get Japan nowhere fast in the world as it exists now and especially moving forward.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This ceremony seems kind of odd, so they're not adults yet? Tweeners?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I swear it looks like a kid's pair of legs.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well, sorry that Japanese college girls don’t have chemically enhanced legs like Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson or cholesterol enhanced legs like the sequoia redwoods that dominate the west.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I just think there has to be a better way, having seen so many young creative bright enthusiastic people become just another sleep deprived drone in a nearly silent office in my several years at a very traditional company in Japan broke my heart, these kids should be the light of the future.

It's a lot like that in America too. The early 1990s was the start of a dehumanization of America as well. This is alienating and a very sad sight to witness. People aren't people anymore.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In answer to the question... who wants to a career as a Cheerleader... two volunteers immediately signaled their desire to be next to wear the red and white short skirt.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@econstats - so what do you do ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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