re: Working in Japan: Myths, Realities, Compensation, Culture (By A Software Engineer) VIEW POST


Thank you so much for taking the time to write this! I'm currently planning to start searching for tech jobs in Japan roughly a year from now, and this elucidated a lot for me. There are a few things I'm curious about, however, and hoping you might have insight on them!

  1. Like a few others here in this comment section, I am also registered to take the N2 this December. I'm confident with kanji, somewhat confident in vocabulary, but very behind in grammar. I just got back from a two week trip to Japan, and found that while I could read most signs, and idle conversation was doable, conversation was awkward at times and I made a few dumb mistakes (e.g., not knowing 話しかける so working my way around by saying 話すことを始める). I know this is part of the language learning process, but should I be concerned? On the path to speaking better with practice, are people in the workforce (assuming that yes, I generally know my way around with keigo) more likely to be understanding, or irritated to no end?

  2. In the game development world, typically my experience in the US is that conflict of interest is a really big deal, so I write my own games in my spare time, but work in tech fields other than game development. Is this a pattern I should continue in Japan? Or, are conflicts of interest really not a big deal, and I can freely apply for game development companies while also working on my own games?

  3. Being a foreigner seeking a tech job surely poses struggles on its own. I'm curious, did you know any women from other countries seeking jobs in tech in Japan? I don't have a lot of hope in that department.

  4. You mention a lot of places to more or less avoid - Bizreach, Wantedly, Gaijinpot. What are places that are worth looking for jobs in? I'm not afraid of using Japanese sites but once that I found from a google search seemed to have zero information about things like whether they would be willing to sponsor a visa. Assuming they would even reply to me, this doesn't give me the impression they would be very patient with me stumbling around when speaking the language, either.

  5. Also, in particular, I'm interested in working in cities outside of Tokyo, such as Osaka or Fukuoka. Is that going to be exceedingly difficult, especially in the hunt for my first job?

I instantly created an account just to ask this and follow you, once again, thank you so much for this post, and thank you for reading this!


I think there was a problem with Dev.to's notification system. I kept seeing notifications for my articles, but couldn't actually read their contents for months. I am sorry for the delay in responding.

I'm not sure if this will help you because it's coming months after you asked for it, but here we go:

1) How did you do?! I hope you did well, I'm always happy to hear about people pushing themselves to do better. Grammar, btw, - (GOD I WISH I WAS AN AMAZON AFFILIATE) 完全マスター・文法、N2
Absolutely awesome for learning grammar. Do the whole thing and review religiously. N1 Book was good, too

No, by the way. Don't be concerned at all. A few days ago I mixed up "Formal" and "Funeral" and said "I don't want a wedding that feels too funeral-like, you know?" before realizing and laughing with everyone. People in the workforce are super, super chill with you not knowing things. Don't worry about it as long as you actually try and learn the words. I don't imagine a lot of frustration for you being a learner, but I do image a lot of frustration if they have to teach you the same words often.

Also, Keigo is super, super overrated in most situations. Be polite and read the room, and you'll do fine (*this advice may not apply to Japanese or asian-looking people).

2) Ask the individual companies, but it will likely go something like this:
"What's the game?"
"x concept."
"Oh, that's not a clone of our game. Cool, have fun."

Of course, that isn't a guarantee and every company is different, but in general bring it up early at the interviews and you should be fine making that part of your contract.

3) Honestly, not that I can recall. I wish I could be more help here, but the Japanese women that I've seen apply for jobs didn't have a problem getting hired.

4) I would love to list sites, but I can't. I strongly encourage you to search in Japanese (I imagine your search was in Japanese, of course, but just checking). As for visa sponsorship - most companies won't say anything about it at all, really. The idea of hiring a non-Japanese probably hasn't even crossed their minds when they wrote it, so you'd have to approach them with the idea. Just ask when you apply.

If you have trouble speaking Japanese with confidence, that's going to be an issue to a degree. This is because you won't be able to say what you want, how you want. It's not so much "patience for stumbling" as "can we easily understand each other?"

Fukuoka - absolutely 0 idea.
Osaka - nah, there's a ton of jobs in Osaka. I've seen a lot of older companies, older tech, game companies, etc., but it for sure exists. Just filter the region on job search sites.

Please let me know if this helped you or if I missed anything.

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