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lifestyle

Japanese clothing chain offers an answer to job-hunting suit conundrum

7 Comments
By Katy Kelly, SoraNews24

Shukatsu, short for shushoku katsudo (“job seeking activities”), is a rite of passage for most young adults in Japan. Many begin their job hunt during their college years, securing employment for after they graduate — companies even reserve employment slots in advance for new graduates, though there has been discussion about changing this practice due to the limiting factor of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Not only is the shukatsu process itself often exhausting, but prospective candidates are heavily encouraged to strip away all their individuality and dress in a strict, formal business-suit style. So to job hunt in Japan, you’ll need a suit.

What’s more, for Japanese job-hunters, not just any suit will do. Traditional business etiquette says they need a “recruit suit,” an incredibly plain solid black suit without any sort of dramatic cuts or tapers. Another headache is that while it’s generally acceptable to continue wearing your recruit suit after landing and job and starting work, that grace period only lasts for about a year. After that, white-collar professionals are usually expected to retire their recruit suit and replace it with a new suit that’s just a little less plain.

There’s a small relief in that recruit suits are usually less expensive than other types, but even still, a recruit suit with a jacket and sharply creased trousers or skirt, doesn’t come cheap. The very cheapest recruit suits still cost about 10,000 yen, and that’s if consumers can resist the pressure to spend more to make a good impression on potential recruiters. What’s more, in 2020 more companies are using online communication to meet potential hires– understandable, when those hires are less willing to go through the arduous work of traveling to each company due to the pandemic.

Yofuku no Aoyama, a retailer of Western-style suits in Japan that sells both recruit and standard suits, has announced that it will allow students to rent their wares at a reduced cost for the job-seeking period. The service is already in action at the brand’s store in Namba, Osaka, and permits students to get measured for the suit before paying to rent it.

Since the pandemic has limited college students’ access to part-time jobs and in many cases is impacting the salaries of their parents, this lower-cost rental option could aid students who are unwilling to shell out for a formal outfit they’d only be using for a relatively short period of time, and before they even have a full salary.

Some commenters online weren’t impressed and condemned the move as a marketing gimmick to combat low sales, though many blamed workplaces requiring suits in the first place. Others pointed out that the rental suit will have to be cleaned before returning, adding to the price. Others still wondered how cheap a rental would really be compared to buying a suit since applicants are expected to interview at many companies over the job-hunting period. However, one commenter summed up the advantage of such a service:

“A rental suit is perfectly acceptable for job hunting. You can make a better impression in a more expensive suit, and this allows you to wear one above your ordinary budget.”

Source: Kyodo News via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Foreigners in Japan sound off on the top four quirks of the Japanese job-hunting system

-- Japanese ministers call for reform of company hiring practices that focus on new graduates

-- Pantene ad asks why people in Japan are forced to look the same when job hunting

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

7 Comments
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I hate wearing suits. Fortunately I only need to wear one so infrequently (once or twice a year) I can just pull out the one I bought for my wedding 11 years ago.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

One of my uncles served in the Orient during the Korean war era (1950 - 1953). He went to a tailor shop in Tokyo and got a good suit right in the shop and it was inexpensive. The quality is so good he can still wear it today.

How very relevant

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Abdul MuizzToday  11:46 am JST

When I did shukatsu years ago, I bought suit from a second hand shop. Might take time to find the ideal size but you can buy them for around 1000-2000 yen. Just dont get the high brand one.

One of my uncles served in the Orient during the Korean war era (1950 - 1953). He went to a tailor shop in Tokyo and got a good suit right in the shop and it was inexpensive. The quality is so good he can still wear it today.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

When I did shukatsu years ago, I bought suit from a second hand shop. Might take time to find the ideal size but you can buy them for around 1000-2000 yen. Just dont get the high brand one.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Mickelicious,

Aoyama is actually trying to survive. Their holding is also into Karaoke. They have deep pockets but will suffer.

It has not been thought trough as a marketing concept. Rent a suit in times of pandemic ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

10000 yen for a suit is reasonable-what’s the problem?

When the economy has contracted, that ¥10,000 might be needed for utilities.

Aoyama is simply building a loyal new customer base, who'll spend far in excess of ¥10,000 over a lifetime of shopping with them.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

10000 yen for a suit is reasonable-what’s the problem?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

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