6 mysterious Japanese business customs

Japan is known as a country full of diligent people. That economic power is still something that should be paid attention to. These are some of the mysterious business customs that Japanese business people use to energize Japan's economy!


Japanese Culture


Ryuta Ishimoto/Flickr

1. Overtime is expected?

While many Japanese people may embrace the image that everyone is diligent, the way of working for Japanese company employees is strange.
Arriving at work at 8 am and getting home at midnight is commonplace.
The strange phrase "unpaid overtime" is mysterious but often heard.



While pictures of the morning rush are seen often, the rush for the last train (around 11pm-1am) are often full enough to rival the worst of the morning.

2. Companies offer physical examinations

People should regularly get physical examinations in order to understand the condition of their bodies.
Though it's something that should be private, many companies hold physical examinations for their employees.
Though it seems like it's to protect the health of their employees, don't some people feel uneasy about it?

For business people who normally employ blue-collar workers, generally they are required to take a full general medical examination (sputum exam aside).


Blue collar workers are required to undergo a medical examination once a year in a fixed period by their employers.


3. Everyone takes their vacations at the same time!

Japanese vacations are generally the same every year. There's the New Year's holiday, then the holidays in May that together become what is called "Golden Week," and in the summer is Obon, the Festival of the Dead when people go home to honor their ancestors.

So you could say that there are 3 major vacation times.

Sine they're all short, about one week, all resort areas around the country become rather congested. Airplane tickets also get expensive for that time period .And yet, Japanese employees continue to take their vacations together!


During those vacation periods, the highways become full of traffic jams and people buy 200% more bullet train tickets.

4. There is a tendency to avoid saying "no" or "I don't understand"!

In Japanese business meetings, it often takes a long time to reach a conclusion. Also, Japanese people often don't like to say "no" or "I don't understand," you must pay attention to people who are only pretending to follow the conversation!

5. When you make your New Year's greetings to a customer, you include a small present

In Japan, it's expected that you make the rounds doing New Year's greetings to all the customers that have supported you.
To go with the meaning of "I hope to do business with you again this year," along with the New Year's card, a small gift may be included.

New Year's present from a local radio station

From time immemorial, there has been the custom of deifying the god of the new year (Toshigami-sama), it's said that the custom of visiting people on the new year to give greetings was to present offerings to Toshigami-sama on others' household altars. Somewhere along the line it became giving people gifts.


In terms of who to send it to, generally people discriminate who to send presents to by judging those who help keep them afloat throughout the year. 


6. A speech at a meeting first thing in the morning?!

Depending on the company, the first thing done in the morning may be a simple meeting that might have the custom where people take turns doing speeches of about one minute.
Usually the theme of the speech can be decided by the one making it. For businessmen who have trouble thinking of what to talk about during their morning greetings, there are plenty of books sold with speech ideas.

Hideyuki KAMON/Flickr

Usually the morning greetings are done standing up.

There are a great number of websites that have gathered the contents of morning speeches.

Morning speech 1

There are ways to create opportunities

Morning speech 2

The old, broken briefcase

Morning speech 3

Stealing the art of conversation from a marriage fraudster

Morning speech 4

Bokuden Tsukahara, a friend of the sword

Morning speech 5

Words and phrases in memos to watch out for

Morning speech 6

A discussion about complexes and weaknesses


During these meetings, the managers speak in front of the employees.
It seems difficult to listen while standing there the whole time...

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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