ID jobs in Japan? Any experiences out there to share?

Please do share any experiences working or finding work IN Japan (not just for a Japanese company in the USA or going there for a 3 week project). I have read many books on the Japanese work environment and have had much experience working with Chinese in China and from the USA; I have visited Japan a couple of times.

I look forward to hearing any stories on finding the job, going through the interview process and any recommendations you may have. Thank you very much for your time.

Best regards,

To share all my experience I would have to prepare a lecture or perhaps write a good book on the subject.

I appreciate your interest with finding work in Japan. There’s perks to working here but then again there’s a the downside to it as well. I was recruited in nyc by a large Japanese company a few years back. Looking back, it took a bit of luck and my eagerness to learn a new culture that landed my first ID job. With a fluid sketching style and knowledge of software that’s standard in the industry it made a good first impression at the interview. What drew me to work in Japan was it’s advanced way of life, as I was going in a very distinct design field.

There are a few things to ponder before moving and working in the land of the rising sun; try your best to learn basic Japanese…along with the language, comes it’s culture and etiquette(business+personal). Athough English may be the global language, in Japan, not everyone speaks it. You’ll impress your coworkers as well as your clients. With working in any foreign country, getting a grasp of living there takes time, it’s taken me 3yrs but I still learn new things about Japan. Do your homework and research the area you’ll be relocating to, I’m fortunately enough to live close to the beach and not too far from Tokyo.

Working styles are very different, what you’ve read about the Japanese workplace is all true. It’s very precise…they perfected this style, remember the scene from the movie Gung Ho, you get the idea. The talent pool is there, and for a foreign designer, like any designer(Japanese, too) here you have to earn your way up…seniority is still practiced. It’s like a Japanese proverb I once heard, the fruit is not ready to be picked until it’s ripened, there comes a season. So be patient.

I was told by a friend while visiting Japan for the first time, this place is like 10yrs ahead(nyc comparison)…it’s true to some extent. We don’t drive flying cars yet but how about ones that parallel park themself!

Check out Japan Design Net, they have info on recruiting as well as design related articles. Some pages are in Japanese.

Good luck!

Thank you for your input. Perhaps you should write a book. Or perhaps begin your blog.

I did have some interviews with Matsushita last year but end the end, I was not selected. I have also started graduate school at Georgia Tech for an Industrial Design Masters. I am now considering trying to obtain an “Internship” in Tokyo after I graduate. I am hoping this would be a way to get me in the door and yet they do not have to make a long term decision/investment. Once I get in the door and develop relationships then the decision would be easer for them and for myself.

If you have any internships or know of any one hiring interns in Tokyo, please drop me an email:

Thanks again.

Best regards,

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My experience working over there was quite a bit different than idEZign’s, so I would suggest you not form too many preconceptions about what you’ll find there. You may find yourself as surprised as I was.

If you like Japanese culture and the people, you’ll find it a rewarding experience. I had a blast.

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