Nearly one in four Japanese adults admits to crying in the office restroom: survey

By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

It’s no secret that Japanese culture and society place a tremendous amount of importance on work. But no matter how genuinely committed you are to your job, everyone has an emotional breaking point, and sometimes the pressure to satisfy customers and please your bosses can be all be just too much.

With the start of the Japanese fiscal year kicking off this week, Internet portal My Navi conducted a survey of 405 adult men and women, asking them if they’ve ever hidden themselves in the office restroom and cried during work hours. The response was startling, with nearly one in four, 24.9%, saying that they’ve done so at least once.

Among the things that had gotten respondents’ waterworks going were, predictably, unreasonable bosses. “My supervisor often tells me to do something one way, later says to do it another, and then blames me for making a mistake when it doesn’t come out like he’d actually wanted,” shared one 39-year-old female participant.

However, the tears aren’t always triggered by external stimuli. “I cried because I was so upset at myself for screwing up something simple,” shared a 40-year-old man who works in the automobile industry. Similarly, a 40-year-old woman in the IT field found herself unable to keep from crying not because anyone has yelled at her or expressed displeasure with her work performance, but because she herself so deeply regretted having caused problems for her company and coworkers by making mistakes she couldn’t rectify entirely on her own.

While the proportion of Japanese workers who admitted to crying at work is startling, and by no means something companies should be proud of, it might not be such a damning figure as it might appear to be by foreign standards. While it’s unlikely that so many American workers, for instance, have cried at work, it’s also worth noting that many Japanese go their entire careers without getting into a blatant verbal argument or heated disagreement with a coworker or supervisor. Similarly, petty office vandalism or supply theft, which have long been ways (however deplorable) of blowing off steam overseas, are practically unheard of in Japan, all of which leaves crying as one of the few remaining forms of emotional release.

Additionally, crying doesn’t have quite as negative a stigma in Japan that it does in many other parts of the world. Entertainers and sports stars are almost expected to cry when announcing their retirement, and men being overcome by emotion or vexation enough to shed tears happens often enough that there’s a Japanese word for it, "otoko namida" (literally “man tears”).

TV dramas regularly show characters crying when characters are having a heart-to-heart talk, and multiple survey respondents spoke of crying in the office restroom not because of a rough day at work, but because they’d been moved by the kind words of encouragement spoken by a coworker, or even a customer, during said rough day.

Of course, the sword of customer comments can cut both ways, and more than one survey participant cited harsh or unfair customer complaints as the reason they’d cried in a toilet stall at work. But while there’s a definite catharsis that comes from a good cry, once you’ve dried your tears, remember that another way to deal with unreasonable customer complaints is to simply laugh at them.

Source: Nico Nico News via Jin

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Why deciding whether or not to help a crying girl is complicated in Japan -- Only in Japan: Rent a hot guy to make you cry then wipe your tears away -- Sailor Moon grows up and gets a corporate job in new commercial

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crying is cathartic,,,

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Nearly one in four Japanese adults admits to crying in the office restroom

Doesn't surprise me... some of those restroom designs leave a lot to be desired....

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Probably use the fake flush noise at the same time to hide the sobs.

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After the tears, then the revenge comes in the office kitchen.

Various body solutions poured into tea, coffee or juices; mugs wiped with cloths used to clean the floor; foodstuffs used long past their expiry date; etc.. Japan's workers can be very creative when the need arises...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Surveys like this are publicity stunts and have no validity. The claim that "nearly one in four Japanese adults admits to crying in the office restroom" is statistically absurd. Even today a very large fraction of the adult population (those over 20) does not work in an office environment. An even smaller fraction of the over-65 population will have worked in an office environment.

For the claim made in the headline and article itself to be even remotely close to accurate, the 405 people surveyed (a very small sample for generalizing about the entire adult population of Japan, roughly 102 million) would have had to have the same characteristics as the adult population at large: same gender balance, same age distribution, same occupation distribution, same regional distribution, etc. (In technical jargon - a stratified random sample.)

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Heck, I didn't bother going to the restroom, I cried right at my desk.

“My supervisor often tells me to do something one way, later says to do it another, and then blames me for making a mistake when it doesn’t come out like he’d actually wanted"

She should have told her supervisor to take a hike after the first time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

After being told you are expected to work 10 to 12 hours a day and get paid for 8....I would cry too.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

My old Japanese boss made me cry in the bathroom several times. He was possibly the cruelest person I've ever met in real life, a fact that everybody commented upon. It was at the beginning of my working life and, while it wasn't in the job description, I had to do everything for him. I took his car to get the oil changed, picked up his dry cleaning and once was sent on an errand to pick up several CD's for his wife. He was an awful man who said awful things and was cruel and vile to everyone in the office... and ironically looked exactly like Kim Jong Il. Makes me angry just thinking about it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Considering the survey was done by My Navi, undertakes services to aid people in switching jobs, the 24.9% is probably from a population that hated their job--usually the boss. Which then leads to crying, as stated in the article and several posts above. Hardly a good representation of the total population.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Weird survey. Who instigated it, who participated in it and for what purpose? That said, it is perhaps damning that the opinions expressed from those who cried for the most part lament messing up their job, causing trouble to coworkers etc rather than thinking "this job is shite", what am I doing with my life? I was never meant to be a wage slave, an hour and a half commute in, packed in on a train like cattle amongst miserable looking people like myself, 12 hours at the office where I've always gotta be careful what I say, bow to sempais (even though they are mostly f£&@wits), generally denying my own personality and existence, then the the exact reverse journey home (if I'm not forced out with colleagues who I detest), get home to a dark, silent, cold fan hi, eat a hoka hoka bento, crash out on the sofa, woken up by wifey in what seems like seconds later, and repeat the previous day. And for what? To retire back to wifey who is now a complete stranger, kids who hate my guts for my misogonist ways, spending 3 years watching the TV, wishing I could go back to work (that's how institutionalized I've become), only to then die of a heart attack due to high blood pressure. I really need to quit this wonderland.....

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