lifestyle

8 side jobs for foreigners to make extra money in Japan

15 Comments
By Erika Van 't Veld

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s work style reform policy has been causing a stir in the Japanese labor market for the last few months. In his effort to curb dangerously long work hours and remove unequal pay gaps, he is also promoting labor flexibility by encouraging workers to take secondary jobs.

In 2015, 5.3 million Japanese worked two jobs. In 2018, this number swelled to 7.4 million, or about 11% of the total workforce, according to Lancers Inc, one of Japan’s largest online freelancer job platforms.

Guidelines and models for companies to help them embrace a gig-style economy were put in place earlier this year, along with the removal of a labor ministry rule banning second jobs without the employer’s permission. Now, employees only have to inform their bosses before taking on another gig.

While Japanese companies have traditionally demanded 100% loyalty and monogamous commitment from their employees, more and more are changing their outlook in order to help current staff broaden their skillset, as well as attract new workers amid a labor shortage.

With the government actively encouraging people to have second jobs or work multiple part-time jobs, if you’re open to finding a side hustle in Japan now is the time to start looking.

Here are some of the most common, accessible and flexible side jobs for foreigners in Japan.

1. English Instructor

This may be one of the most popular side-jobs taken by foreigners living in Japan. English instructor or tutor positions are often flexible and may allow you to work from home, after regular work/school hours, or on weekends. Instructor job requirements may range from English play-time with nursery-school age children, to teaching primary or secondary school children, up to teaching business-level courses.

There’s also the private English lessons route where you teach as an independent freelancer via platforms like Hello Sensei or Eigo Pass. An Eikaiwa Cafe is another option, where English speakers will usually sit at a table at a designated café, then be joined by locals who engage in different interesting topics of conversation. Examples in Tokyo include Easy Eikaiwa or LeafCup English Café.

Potential earnings: ¥1,000 – ¥6,000 per hour

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© GaijinPot

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

15 Comments
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Can you also become a travel guide, or do you still need a license for that?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As far as I know you need a license..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I wouldn't get out of bed for most of those wage rates.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

800 yen an hour? Sheesh, how low can you go?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I wouldn't get out of bed for most of those wage rates.

You would if you were starving and didn't have any money to buy food being as how hunting, foraging and fishing for your own food can be difficult.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I find it interesting that the more Japanese you need to know, the lower your wage becomes.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

I find it interesting that the more Japanese you need to know, the lower your wage becomes.

It's an interesting paradox to be sure, but it is only true up to a point.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I did the game testing a little bit over a year ago and it wasn't bad ...

not the best wage but I could play games before they got released and hat nice coworkers and even the team leaders were super nice.

Also tried the english teacher route but it was hard, especially as I had no training in beeing a Teacher at all, still was a nice time with the kids ^^

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tour guides need a local license.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

SerranoToday 09:39 am JSTI wouldn't get out of bed for most of those wage rates.

You would if you were starving and didn't have any money to buy food being as how hunting, foraging and fishing for your own food can be difficult.

Listen up Serrano.  In my younger days, I have been on the bones of my arse. Raising two children I had power cut off for none payment of the bill while I was bed stricken with a killer flu.  I stole apples of a tree to soften them up with sugar to feed the kids.  So don't preach me in that area of things. 

I now, after working myself up over many years, earn medium to top dollar (depending on where you live).  An hours minimum wage in JP will buy me a Tokyo lunch.    A days wage now will fly me to Korea and back with a three course meal thrown in and enough left for a taxi and beers on the way home.  Not boasting, just telling it as it is. 

And if someone lives in Tokyo just where would they go foraging, hunting and fishing?  I suspect Serrano, you may possibly be speaking of circumstances you have not yet faced.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Back when I was still starting my family, and working for a Japanese company, before heading out on my own, I started freelance programming in the evenings. At the start, I had to do a bunch of nearly free or extremely cheap, to build my my portfolio and reputation. But after it got rolling, it turned into a significant amount of money on the side (I was charging 6000yen/hour to clients, on top of my full-time regular salary), to the point that I eventually realized I had more potential by starting my own company and going it alone.

Which isn't really the point of the story actually. The point was that programming is another route where foreigners can make money, and due to the modern age of the internet, we can work in English for people in other countries, or sometimes for people who need English programmers in Japan. Or bilingual programmers. It's a bit of work to get it rolling, but once it is, it's a nice way to make some comfortable side cash.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sometimes my wife and/or I take people on tours but we are not guides and don't have a license. Just a private arrangement. You can still do it without a license like being an interpreter rather than a guide.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I did the freelance translator job when I was a student. I am fluent in some minor languages, I sent my CV to a few companies, and job offers started to come. After a trial period, I did actually earn quite well.

Another option is to sign up with a talento agency, they are looking for foreigners as extras on TV, for dramas or small movies, etc. The pay is not great, but the job is easy and fun. And after a while, if you are serious and do your part well, some lucrative offers also come.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Guidelines and models for companies to help them embrace a gig-style economy were put in place earlier this year, along with the removal of a labor ministry rule banning second jobs without the employer’s permission."

:D Huzzah! Japan finally joins the world of modern, liberally-minded nations.

"Now, employees only have to inform their bosses before taking on another gig."

:( And...with one additional sentence we're back to the way things work normally here.

Very typical Japanese, quote-unquote reform. Like seriously, how many people are going to find their traditional working Japanese workplace happily say, "Sure. Thanks for informing us that you're going to take a second job. Ganbare!"

It it would have been so easy to just change the law to say you don't need to inform your employer of your second job (in any normal country that is, but then again any normal country wouldn't have such a restrictive law in the first place).

But instead, they dangle the idea of reform without actually reforming anything.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I respect the posters above that started their own business. I work in a JP company and feel harassed daily. I think the first step is most difficult.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

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