Why do Japanese work hard?

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How do you see the Japanese? You probably hear the phrase:
“They are very hardworking people”

On 2014, a survey was conducted in 26 countries on men who’s age ranging from 15 to 64 years old to determine the average hours of work per day including holidays. These are the results: Japan ranked first with 6.25 hrs, Korea on 5th with 4.7 hours, United Kingdom on 14th with 4.32 hours, and America on 15th with 4.21 hours. Therefore, japanese men are working more than 6 hours per day.

Why do they work hard? Let’s look at these points:


Work is a virtue

BC advantages promoted at business networking reception in Japan …

Buddist philosophy became widespread among citizens particularly during the Edo Period. It is regarded as a training in every aspects of life as well as their nourishment. Since time memorial, Japanese people has been farming rice. Seeing that they are used to such time consuming task is even in large numbers, it becomes natural for them to work long hours.

Because of this, “Work is a virtue, time consuming work is normal” way of thinking is engraved on them even today. Japan also have the phrase “service overtime” which means, unpaid or free overtime which currently widespread. This is also a virtue of working, that the more work is done, the reputation gets better. On the other hand, if anybody tries to end working hours on time, they get extra work. In addition, the leave acquisition rate in this developed country is generally low, which makes it hard to take a leave in the workplace with such atmosphere.


Seasons are visible in Japan

File:Acer japonicum Red leaves.JPG – Wikimedia Commons

Japan has the most visible change of seasons in the world. During spring, flower blooms; during summer, the abundance of green; during autumn, trees turn red; and during winter, plants wither. In a year the season changes quickly, people needs to adjust to these sesonal changes both in their home and clothing. Taking a single home for instance, from the hot and humid summer, to the north wind breezing cold winter, there is always a need to be comfortable no matter the environment. And so, they plan their home construction carefully like they need to know which material to use and which construction is better. In the visible seasons and clear climate change, how is it possible to easily live comfortably? This thinking was passed on among Japanese people eversince. Those who inherited this thinking in which they need to apply knowledge and effort to life a better life and those who works diligently agrees to this.


They can take pride in their high-level education

File:Tokyo university – Hongo campus – Main Library entrance.JPG …

Japanese education standards is regarded as world-class. According to a 2014 survey conducted by a media conglomerate, Japan ranks next to Korea in 2nd place. In a Japanese educational institution, in addition to normal classes, apprecation to group behavior is taught. Being on time on school assembly, and to form perfect rank are taught in schools since elementary grade. This is why Japanese are said to be wary of the time and are punctual. With this, they are brought up properly from early childhood so that they will be serious at work when they become adults. They go to work on time even if it meant riding jam packed trains, do various tasks properly, and sometimes go home after doing some overtime. This is how most Japanese employees spends their typical day. Aside from having a high-level education, they are also taught the idea of collective importance which probabaly enabled them to work hard in a group called company.


There maybe other reasons why Japanese works hard, but the bottomline is the Japanese are serious at work. Whether for them to have a better life, or to be greatly appreciated, or any other reason/goal, it can be said that they have a trait of earnestly striving to work for such goal. Also, the thought of “those who work more gets better”, which may differ in other countries are spreading among them. This also becomes a reason on why they work hard.

MyTop10Japan Editor

MyTop10Japan Editor


Working at MyTop10Japan.