Parents attending job seminars on behalf of their children


At a job fair in Aichi Prefecture in September, 700 attendees were expected but 1,000 showed up. Organizers hastily improvised. A second venue was set up for the overflow crowd, video monitors were installed, and everyone got to participate.

What’s the point of this story? The numbers? The prompt and effective response? Neither. What interests Shukan Shincho (Nov 6) is who the event was arranged for – not, as you would expect, for students entering the job market but for their parents.

Why them? What have parents got to do with it? Shouldn’t parents at this stage of their children’s lives be easing themselves into the background?

Neither they nor the universities seem to think so. Nor, for that matter, do prospective employers.

“Universities have been organizing parent-oriented job seminars for the past five years,” consultant Yohei Tsunemi tells Shukan Shincho. So engaged, he says, are parents in the job-hunting process that “even parents of first- and second-year students attend” – of students, that is, who should be years away from employment worries. More predictably, parents of fourth-year students are active participants, but their role is sometimes peculiar. Some of their offspring are lucky enough to have already secured job offers. Success itself, it seems, breeds suspicion. “The parents come to ask, ‘Is the company that is about to hire my son/ daughter a black company?”

The suspicion, to do it justice, is not unfounded. "Black companies,” those that relentlessly overwork and underpay their employees, have been much in the news lately, and are reportedly proliferating.

“Actually,” observes journalist Ryoji Ishiwata, “companies go to a great deal of trouble to impress the parents (of prospective employees). They understand that when it comes down to the final choice, parents have more to say about it than the candidate.”

Those of us who look back on our first faltering steps into adulthood as a time of exhilarating, sometimes wrenching independence from the support-cum-stranglehold of our parents may find this a bit bewildering. To the extent that it’s thinkable at all, young adults, we feel, should be ashamed of clinging so publicly to their parents’ apron-strings (or neckties, as the case may be). Evidently they are not. “Some companies are even known to have received phone calls from parents: ‘Kindly excuse my son/ daughter for refusing your job offer; please permit him/ her to accept a job offer from another company.”

If it sounds rather like a communication to an elementary school teacher explaining a child’s absence from class, it’s because the spirit, says Ishiwata, is essentially the same.

“More and more children nowadays feel no embarrassment at all at this sort of thing,” he says. “I’ve had university people tell me they get calls from students’ mothers: ‘Please excuse my daughter/ son for not showing up for your seminar today…”

“Once upon a time, young people shook off this kind of dependence at puberty,” Shukan Shincho declares.

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“Black companies,” those that relentlessly overwork and underpay their employees, have been much in the news lately, and are reportedly proliferating.

Yep. And the government knows about and all they do is threatening to release companies names to the public if they don't start doing things the legal way. Again words but no actions.

More and more children nowadays feel no embarrassment at all at this sort of thing

So I guess we could say children graduating universities?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

These will be the leaders of Japan someday. I can see it now. The PM has an important announcement to make about War, or an economic collapse or something, and his mom does it for him.

This place truly is never-never land.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Nothing to do with any of the comments above - if the companies get the parents involved, it will increase pressure against the employee resigning and moving to better situations, as HR has a direct line to the parents - a very intelligent move by these J-Companies.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I just think that the shains just like part time workers like me who want to maximize their earnings want to work longer, hence the word relentlessly overwork has a positive tinge to me. Being underpaid is a personal option. I know of a company which has a higher per hour rate but the nature of the job is the same hence I preferred to stay till I find something to my liking. The problem is with the new graduates and Jdescendants who were mesmerized with stories of working in factories with robots who think that all they have to do is to push buttons and manage those robots or just to wear their cool Japan uniforms and input data into computers. i just think that in a capitalistic world there are only two kinds of people, the one with capital and the one who have not. Both have to work their asses out esp if the company is just starting up. Not unless, one has the beauty that can launch a thousand ships. Besides, working longer and somewhat underpaid is what made Japan click decades ago. Besides the blame shld not be directed to the so called blk companies, some senior company officials of even good name companies shld get the blame too esp if they are eyeing somebody who doesn't dance to their music.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Fear of failure in their children, they don't pity the children, they just want to make sure the children don't fail to shame the parents. If your children never learned the importance of standing back up after a fall when they were growing up, then don't expect them to stand back up when they fall as adults.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The sad thing.. this is happening only in Japan but it seems it is a world wide tendency of over protective parents and useless children.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Cut the apron strings. Maybe the son or daughter is too busy on their cell phone or partying with their friends to make their own visit.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Absolutely pathetic!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Parent interviews for their son/daughter thank you for the job, Employee goes to work comes home early mother goes to employer why is my son/daughter home so early? Employer YOU ARE FIRED!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

//Please excuse my son/daughter for invading your country

Been kind of done elsewhere "Gomen nasai, I am sorry my rifle is so noisy" in a reworking of the Battle of Singapore.

Actually I think this is kind of sneaky, want to know what the kid is really like, look at the parents...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“Black companies,” those that relentlessly overwork and underpay their employees, have been much in the news lately, and are reportedly proliferating.

This sounds EXACTLY like the workplaces of the public school system's elementary and junior high schools.

Oh but those aren't "companies", it's the government, so I guess then it's "ok"........

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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