If you were given a choice to live and work in Japan or China, which would you choose?

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This is a no challenge question. Maybe add a perk for the China choice like work half the hours for quadruple pay for example. I'd still chose Japan.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

I wonder how many people we're going to get who answer without having lived in both. And how many who answer without having lived in either.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

I've never lived in China, but I've spent a significant amount of time there, both for business and for pleasure. I think China would be fun to live in for a few years, in one of the big cities, but I would go crazy after a few years. There is no way I could live there as long as I have lived in Japan.

I wonder how many people we're going to get who answer without having lived in both. And how many who answer without having lived in either.

As the question didn't specify only people who have lived in both, why should their opinions be discounted? Or if you were not suggesting that their responses were not valid, can you explain the relevance of your statement?

7 ( +13 / -6 )

China is just too polluted, the air is terrible, food is ALL suspect & would you want to drink the tap water...........

Those alone make China a place I will never live in.

jt time for a better question me thinks!

16 ( +18 / -2 )

I studied Mandarin while working on my Bachelors. I originally wanted to do International Business type stuff in China. I still haven't even visited, and have forgotten most of the language. I came to Japan because of the military.....and stayed here because I love it (now at 4 years here). Why did I stay here instead of moving to China?

1: China's major cities are terribly polluted. I'm not a big fan of getting lung cancer just because I walked outside, or drinking run-off water from a leaky chemical plant upriver.

2: China maybe car-friendly, but it's definitely not "old, used sports cars owned by foreigners" friendly. Definitely a deal-breaker for any gearhead.

3: Racism is an even bigger problem in China than in Japan. At least the Japanese are largely polite in their discrimination. Being black, even if I'm American, seems like a sub-par experience in China.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

If I were a woman, then China. Much more likely to be taken seriously.

-3 ( +15 / -18 )

China would be fun to live and work in for a short experience -- say, two to three years. I think it would be crazy to want to live there for life unless you were born and raised there, and even then maybe still. If you were uber-rich, though, I think either would be fine.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

In my previous position at the company I work for I spent over a year in China all in all and enjoyed my time there. It's a fascinating country and I regret not improving my Mandarin to a level where I could have had better conversations with many of the friendly people I met. I'll return home to work soon after enjoying my long stay in Japan and experiencing China and I can see myself returning for visits in the future.

However, to be brutally honest, I can think of quite a few better places to live and work as a foreigner than Japan or China.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Strangerland JUN. 29, 2015 - 11:08AM JST As the question didn't specify only people who have lived in both, why should their opinions be discounted?

I didn't say they should be discounted, did I. But I don't think uninformed opinions are very insightful. We still have JT readers unaware that China isn't a Marxist economy. I've encountered people even recently who think everyone in China wears blue Mao suits and brutally oppressed by government authoritarians daily. I've encountered people who think every day in Japan is a stroll down streets paved with sushi surrounded by cute girls cosplaying as your favorite anime characters who want to date you because of your very high Dance Dance Revolution score, where people throw money at any foreigner who can say "Ohayo". I've met people post 3/11 who literally believe the entire country of Japan is a radiation-soaked post-apocalyptic hellscape where only the damned and the mutated survive. The opinions of uninformed people aren't helpful. Some portion of the people voting on this poll are going to be similarly uninformed, so what is the point of getting their vote?

Other than drumming up page views for banner ads, I mean.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

The opinions of uninformed people aren't helpful. Some portion of the people voting on this poll are going to be similarly uninformed, so what is the point of getting their vote?

Because the question is 'given the choice, where would you live', not 'for those who have spent time researching both, and know a lot about both countries, which one would you choose to live in'.

It's an opinion poll. People who have lived in neither can have an opinion, same as people who have lived in both.

-1 ( +11 / -11 )

It's like asking if you'd rather live and work in South or North Korea.

I've spent a good amount of time in China and I can say, without a doubt, it may have shortened my life. The water, drinking or otherwise, the air, inside buildings or the "fresh air", the living conditions for the average person, it is really foul.

But the people were fine. Sure they're more aggressive but that's how they have to be to survive in China, can't blame them for growing up where they were born.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Considering the nature of this newspaper we should expect that most people are going to vote to live in Japan.

Regarding Katsu78's post. You have an interesting point. The experience in living in a country is different from a perception. However, the perception still mattes. Most people make a choice based on a perception. There may be a few people who plan to live one year in China then a year in Japan and then choose. But most people hear about a foreign nation research it and then move there if they want to. The image of a country is very important.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Even though Japan's court and legal system is far from perfect, compared to China's it's probably a dream. Can you imagine what it would be like to be falsely accused and locked up for something by the authorities in China? In Japan it would be bad enough, but in a country like China, which is basically a dictatorship under military rule, it would be worse.

Living in China would also require being more mindful of saying anything which could be interpreted / mistaken as being anti-communist or anti-China. For example, if you were living in China and expressing negative viewpoints about what the Chinese government was doing in the South China Sea or that the Chinese should butt out of the Senkaku Islands here like we're doing now quite casually, would you feel completely relaxed about it? I know I wouldn't.

Still, it's always beneficial to spend some time living with the natives of a particular area of the world to get some idea as to what makes them tick, be it China, the U.S., the Middle East, wherever.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Hahahaha! .....Oh, you're serious? JAPAN!, hands down!

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Japan is a good place to work in many ways. Never been to China, but some people I know enjoyed their time there. It's a huge country, though, so I imagine it depends on where you go, what kind of job you have, and so on.

5 ( +5 / -0 )


Yep. China's big. It's not all Beijing or Shanghai>

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If given the choice between orange juice or apple juice, which would you drink? The preference of one does not indicate the deference of the other. Unfortunately, a good number of people don't think like that.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

To simply answer the Question. I'd choose Japan because I'm more familiar with it but I'm sure China would have its merits also.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Only people who've never been to China would choose China.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

I've been living and working in Japan for 8 months already. I would never think to change to live and work in China because I believe the quality of life would be vastly lower compared to Japan.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Based on some of the responses... it appears there are 1.5 Billion, very unhappy Chinese people.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Because of Sofa, and all the major US Bases, there's always a piece of home here so us armed forces never really get too homesick. + the US Embassy throws kick-*ss 4th of July parties this time of year. Japan all the way-

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Nationalism.lol But, at the moment Japan is still a better choice as it holds a better quality and standard of living.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I would live in Japan, but working? Not my thing, and worse still ast i'm an aspiring political scientist, and an activist.

Sure do love to change the attitudes, but not while the current government is under. To do that, you'd have to get two thirds of the population (as in...either millions or a billion, which if i added billions... awesome!) protesting against LDP... or at least have a favourable attitude of what's really going on in their lives.

But onto business...

Against my morals, i'd still find China a more competitive, more growing... more insane (in a cool way) to do business and such. It depends on the location though. Myself being Chinese/Malaysian... is well....should've kept learning it at a young age. The language is, if i may say.... tough in pronounciation, differs to english where it doesn't have much of that past/present tense structure, etc. (for me)

In short,


-Good place to live if you're in the countryside (if you can blend in and adapt... i guess), and are able to get a chance to live in the countryside, away from the noise...if we were that idealistic... but ideals do come true though, and some fall short. -Bad place to live if you're living in the bad areas...literally. -If you can stand the social segregation, loneliness, other dysfunctional parts of society but strive to move on to build your goal for yourself and Japan... then well, you're a revolutionist! (Just like Danny Choo!)


-Awesome if you go to Hong Kong for a business, tourism, exchange program.


And I don't have an opinion on myself, seeing now as i have a motto "Don't have an opinion, if you haven't been there yourself. But if you do, try to at least look at an optimistic point"...but here are some links...

http://amandas175.blogspot.co.nz/2012/09/pros-and-cons-of-living-in-china.html http://www.quora.com/What-are-pro-and-cons-on-living-working-in-China

All in all... i just think... you'd have to focus and work to build something better... if you wanna also improve the social aspects of a culture. But mostly now... China's just as Japan... they both have something in common. "Materialism"

(and no, the western world is just as worse...)

2 ( +4 / -2 )

ebisen JUN. 30, 2015 - 07:29AM JST Only people who've never been to China would choose China.

Actually I know several people who did indeed choose China, even after having been to both countries. I've lived in both myself, and though I would choose Japan (I am on the Internet too much to put up with the Great Firewall), China isn't really that far behind. When it comes to things I value (social life, access to a variety of good cuisines), I would say when and where I lived in China was a strong rival to Japan and possibly was even superior.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Japan 1,000%.

I've lived in both - there is absolutely NO comparison.

For those that say they have either lived in or been to (merely been to really doesn't count though) both, and that they are not all that different, I'm sure that is because they stayed in their own gaijin bubble and never really, truly experienced both counties - i.e. culture, food, daily life, daily interaction with locals. I have. (And hanging out at Mahoolagins or The Red, White, and B-B-Q every night doesn't count.)

Japan 1,000%.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

I've lived in both, and it's a tough call. To break the deadlock, I'll pick Taiwan, which has the best of both countries, without China's pollution or food sanitation problems. Great food and friendly, bright people too. Just wish the summers there weren't so damn hot.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

The problem with questions like this is the outcome is going to be ridiculous.

This site is primarily targeted towards those living in/interested in/in some way connected to Japan...therefore you should expect most to pick Japan.

Furthermore, should anyone pick China, even for the most logical of reasons, they very likely will get thumbs down'd due to the someone feeling slighted that Japan was not chosen. Whenever asked to choose between X and Japan/Japanese things, whenever I give any reason for X i t is almost always met with, at best, blank stares.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Why ask this here, of all places?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Oh my goodness, this poll reminds me of the......

"Japan is a nice place to live, isn't it? How does it compare to other countries?" "Do you like Japanese food? Yes? How does it compare to other cuisines?" "You're fond of Jpop? So you must like it better than Kpop, right? "Can you put a rating or a rank of Japan in comparison to other countries?"

.......you know, that type of stuff.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

I research things before I make an opinion about them.

This is almost like asking, "Do you prefer whale meat over seal meat?"

How can someone have an opinion when they have no references to relate to?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

If I were a woman, then China. Much more likely to be taken seriously.

Mainland China?

Assuming you weren't aborted, had an education, and were well connected enough to get a job that didn't involve menial labour... yeah, good luck with that.

Because China stands out as a beacon of gender equality! Japanese women are tripping over themselves to move there in the hopes of a better life, right?

Hong Kong or Macau? Yeah, I'd consider a quick trip if my wife insisted. Live there? No thanks, unless I got a really good job offer. Even then, I'd move back here once finished.

Mainland China? Been there on business. I'd pick Greenland first.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Because China stands out as a beacon of gender equality! Japanese women are tripping over themselves to move there in the hopes of a better life, right?

I don't have hard facts or figures, but it does seem to be easier for women in companies in China than it does in Japan. I'd be curious to find out some actual numbers.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Japan has approximately 40 percent temp worker (75 percent for women) with no rights and no change in sight. However, In China labor law, it ensure that workers hired through contracting agents are offered the same conditions as full employees, a move meant to tighten a loophole used by many employers to maintain flexible staffing. Employers must pay workers' health insurance and social security benefits and makes firing very difficult. Japan is many years behind in temp workers rights. Japan government doesn't care about temp workers. Let them rot.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

If I were a woman, then China. Much more likely to be taken seriously.

That's so cute.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Alibaba, China's e-commerce giant, has women for 34% of its senior management. I realize it's just one example but show me a MAJOR Japanese company with even close to that. Here's some articles from 2014 with data on the gender breakdowns in management of both China and Japan.

Between 2012 and 2013, China doubled the number of senior management roles held by women from 25 per cent >to 51 per cent. http://time.com/2861431/female-executives-gender-quotas/

Currently, women hold just 1.6 percent of executive roles at Japanese public companies, and only 15 percent of its >companies meet the requirement of having at least one female executive. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/01/02/3111731/japan-women-boards-goal/

2 ( +3 / -1 )

reformed basher:

An apt name. Many have given valid reasons for preferring Japan, like air quality. All I get from you is the typical rants with the usual hatred towards anything Chinese (I bet your comments have a very low delete rate).

As for women, you really should do a bit more research. Chinese women don't appreciate pouring tea or coffee for men in the office if they have a college degree. There are also quite a lot of Japanese women who have gone to work in HK because of the lack of opportunities in Japan (and I don't mean working as the typical OL). I've met and know some.

Mainland China? Been there on business. I'd pick Greenland first.

Sure you have. And I've bet you've been to Greenland too.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Reading all these negative comments about living China only articulates the fact that the "elite ones", "prosperous ones" are much happier in the US.

As for the rest of Chinese, they might want to emigrate china once they realize sooner or later their economic risings might burst the thresholds of communism.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I wonder how many people we're going to get who answer without having lived in both. And how many who answer without having lived in either.

The question doesn't require that a respondent have lived in either country. It only asks if you were given the CHOICE to live and work in one of the countries. Had they wished to limit the responses to only those who have actually lived in one or both of the places, they would have framed the question in that manner. That said, I think a better question for posing on a Japanese News site would have been:

If you were given a choice to live and work in South Korea or China, which would you choose?

Asking "Japan or China" doesn't really reveal much, seeing as probably 90% of the people who frequent JT already live in Japan. Of COURSE Japan will win by a landslide! This is a poll where the question already determined the outcome.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Only lived and worked in Japan, had a Honeymoon in Hong Kong(still under British rule) and often been to China to visit the village where my Tai Chi style originated and short trips.

As for the bic Cities pretty much the same as all over the world. Worked a lot with Chinese living in China and overseas.

Currently living in Japan but can't see myself moving anywhere till my son has settled after starting a job, by that time another destination might be better suited.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hong Kong technically counts as a part of China right? then China hands down. Shenzhen wasn't bad either.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

China definitely to make some decent money.....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Good grief. What possible purpose does this serve other than bias confirmation ?

Yes, yes Japan you are much better than that naughty China. Go and buy an Ice Cream.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If given the choice, I would proceed with Japan. This is not to say that I would not want to visit China if I resided in Japan. Japan and China are interesting countries with a unique culture and offer something to suit diverse tastes. Both have excellent world class cities such as Tokyo and Beijing, small towns/villages for those who prefer a rural environment and do not like large cities, mountains, beaches, warm weather areas, cold weather areas, restaurants, world heritage sites, arts and culture and other forms of entertainment.

How about this:

What if they built a special international train that connected Tokyo and Beijing like they do with London and Paris?! Flying is not bad however being that Japan and China are heavy rail users, why not connect them to one-another by rail?. It would likely benefit both economies, allow competitive pricing on the rails and flights and provide another way of seeing both countries. The train ride itself would also be a cool adventure!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't see what's the point of this poll is, other then trying to validate Japan is still superior and still loved by foreigners. Pathetic poll really, if you consider this is enough to smooth over Japan's insecurities.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I spent a year in China after I graduated from uni and it was a crazy experience (mostly in a good way). A year was enough though due to the complete lack of creature comforts more than anything. Sure, I had booze and cigarettes, but that was about it. I think nowadays if you live in one of the big cities you can probably have a fairly comfortable life if you can put up with the pollution and getting over-charged for almost everything because you're a foreigner.Travelling anywhere is so stressful and getting to grips with the language is pretty tough too unless you've had some background in it. One year in China and 17 and counting in Japan - says it all really.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As a long term resident of Japan and a frequent visitor to China, I would say there is little doubt there.

Japan all the way.

If I was given an expat package, I probably could handle Shanghai for a year. But thats about it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Lived and worked in both countries. My last year in China, I had a massive ocean view apartment with private tennis courts, a driver and a personal assistant. And I remember thinking I'd rather just be a nobody in Japan in a little 1K mansion. And I have several friends who have lived and worked in both countries - they feel the same.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Tokyo is getting a bost because young talent (especially with kids) won't go to China because of the polution. So foreign companies that scaled down Tokyo operations to expand into China are now ramping up Tokyo operations again to attract that young talent. It has been very good for Tokyo real estate.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

That would be like choosing between a 5 star meal of your favourite food or a McDonalds..

Japan all the way!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


It has been very good for Tokyo real estate.

Yeah, real good, considering the mainland Chinese are the only ones who can afford it!


I don't see what's the point of this poll is, other then trying to validate Japan is still superior and still loved by foreigners. Pathetic poll really, if you consider this is enough to smooth over Japan's insecurities.

Of course most here would choose Japan, but then considering this website is under a certain new management, I'm not surprised they had to resort to these sort of 'feel-good-factor' polls. What next, do you like natto?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )


0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've only been to Hong Kong and if I was a younger, single guy I could quite happily live and work there for a bit. To live there with a family, no way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

absolutely I choose the Japan. I'm Chinese.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I lived in Japan for a year and China for 2. I would say I personally would say China (but that is just my opinion, with my experiences in both countries and my preferences). China for me, is much more exciting and it has more opportunities at the moment. However, if you have kids and soon to retire, then I would not know to be fair, maybe Japan as it is more stable.

I do love Japan as well, but it makes me sad how the society is there at the moment. Kids not seeing their father and getting super stressed about their jobs. Working really long hours without a main reason to do so. China also has this but not as much as Japan (again, just my opinion and experiences with Japanese people).

If you don't mind working long hours (unless you are lucky and have a "westernized" job) and not having a super exciting social live, then Japan would be good :)

In my eyes:

China: Opportunities to do whatever you want, you take more risk but get better rewarded Japan: Less opportunities to develop within the society but stable, a proper developed country.

In both you should learn the languages, food are amazing and people are kind. China as a previous extreme poor country still needs to get better on manners, but I think its is developing. They care a lot about the family and friends, they enjoy more life.

Japanese are super polite and have sharp manners, but they should improve on making people stress less about work and enjoy more about life, which it seems its not as bad as before but still need to improve a lot.

Nevertheless... I would say something... asking this question in a Japanese magazine can be really bias......

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There is no simple answer to this question but I guess it depends on your situation. I have worked and lived in Japan as a salary woman and have recently taken up a job in Beijing. Both cities have there advantages and disadvantages, but Tokyo is an easier place to live, because it has a large urban, well-educated population, mature institutions and infrastructure, it is very pleasant and easy to fit in. Beijing is under transformation, and there is a huge rural population which has been settling into the city in the past decade and it clashes with the previous city dwellers, so everyday life is very chaotic. But there are more changes going on, and opportunities to take I suppose.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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