How to Work for a Japanese Company

How to Work for a Japanese Company Japan

There are many people who are interested in Japanese culture and companies but feel that their Japanese language skills are not good enough to overcome the hurdles. 

In this article, we will introduce how international students and foreigners who are not very good at Japanese can work in Japanese companies.

Positions that do not require much Japanese language skills

Technical jobs

Technical jobs

For technical positions such as engineers and designers, even if you are not confident in your language skills, your chances of being hired will increase if your technical level is high. 

As for designers, they tend to focus on whether they have a sense of design and use of colors in a foreign style that is different from Japanese, and as for programmers, they tend to focus on whether they have high skills that are not easily found in Japan.

In particular, if you don’t have high Japanese language skills, they tend to focus on skills to cover that. However, some companies place importance on harmony with the current employees, so if you show too much individuality, it may not be acceptable, so you should change your PR content according to the company you wish to work for. You need to understand what kind of people the company is looking for, so you must gather information well.

Highly specialized jobs

Highly specialized jobs

Some high-level professional positions such as legal, finance, and accounting also require a lot of communication in English, so Japanese language skills may not be required in some cases. 

Especially in large companies with global operations, English is often more important than Japanese.

Overseas branches and local corporations

Even if you are employed by a Japanese company, there is also an option of working at an overseas branch or local subsidiary of that company. 

These days, global companies have many local offices around the world. 

Many of the larger local offices dispatch specialists from Japan, including management, finance, sales, procurement, sales engineers, and production engineers. 

If you join a Japanese company and are dispatched to a local overseas office, you will be able to play an active role, especially if you are from that country.

Experience in hiring foreign nationals

It is very important to know if the company has a history of hiring foreigners. 

If the company has hired foreigners before, the chances are high that they have a good track record. 

They are accustomed to properly evaluating the abilities and experience of foreigners and determining which department and job they can best perform. 

Companies that already have a large number of foreign nationals working for them can rest assured that their employment contracts, work rules, and internal notices are all in English. 

Different countries have different customs, ways of thinking, and values, and it is important to respect these differences, which increases the likelihood that the company shares the spirit of diversity.

English Proficiency

Overseas branches and local corporations

If you are from a non-English speaking country, you will have no trouble in your work if you have great English skills even though you are not good enough at speaking Japanese. 

These days, email and chat are used for internal communication. 

Japanese employees may not be good at listening and speaking English, but many of them can read and write. 

There is no need for complicated English, so it is a good idea to learn simple and accurate English. 

You can use English in emails and chats to smoothen your internal communication.

Japanese Language Proficiency Test

Since Japanese language proficiency is difficult to show off without going on to an interview, one way to do so is to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLP = Japanese Language Proficiency Test).

This test is held twice a year for non-native Japanese language learners and can be taken in 80 countries/regions and 239 cities as well as in Japan.

The test level can be selected according to individual skills, and all answers are on a mark-sheet system. There are five levels of the JLPT, from N1 to N5, “The N1 level is the most difficult and the passing rate is about 30%. You will need to have business-level language skills.

Many companies require N1 or N2 level Japanese language skills from the application stage, so if you are confident, it is a good idea to take on the challenge and obtain it.