Historically, Japan is home to the ancient animist religion Shinto, beautiful temples, and luscious gardens. Japan is also known for its ruling class of warriors - the samurai. Similarly, Japan has been blossoming in the modern era. It is a leader in technology, patents, and innovation, and has one of the world’s best public transportation systems. Furthermore, GDP per capita growth from 2000-2010 in Japan surpassed that in Europe and the United States.
In Japan, the past meets the present. The legacy of historical Japanese culture spans many millennia, but it is also one of today’s leading global powers, economically, socially, and politically.
Japan has a diverse and buzzing economy, providing many different internship opportunities.
- Banking: Japan is a great place for interns to gain valuable experience in the financial sector. Many banks in Japan are looking to foster and create an international environment of cultural exchange. Your time working in some of the largest banks in the world will impress prospective employers when you get back home. You will gain skills relating to finance, accounting, and customer service at many of the financial internships offered in Japan. Interns can expect projects such as banking services, strategies, office support, accounting-related projects, and basic customer service.
- Marketing: Those interested in marketing will find unique and interesting internships in Japan. Since Japan is on the cutting-edge of so many different sectors, marketing has quickly developed to keep up. In Japan, marketing as a career is expanding rapidly and interns from abroad can take advantage of the many internships available. As an intern, you will likely have tasks such as writing, creating graphics, conducting research, and many other projects. You will need to have an intermediate level of Japanese to land a marketing internship.
- Media: Whether you’re interested in broadcast journalism, online journalism, newspapers, radio, or movies, Japan can be the place for you to get started. Even though the media industry is struggling all over the world, it stills play a large role in the daily lives of many Japanese citizens. There are both Japanese and all-English media outlets throughout the country. Japanese media outlets are always looking for more of an international perspective. All-English media outlets need support from native English speakers. Your tasks could include writing, editing, planning, and reporting.
- Nonprofits: While in Japan, you can also make contributions to Japanese communities by interning at nonprofit organizations. In Japan, there are many different types of nonprofits including: relief efforts, orphanages, museums, libraries, zoos, health clinics, and religious institutions.
When and Where to Look for an Internship:
If you are looking to intern in Japan, you will have no trouble finding opportunities any time of the year. Because Japan’s economy is robust and active in the global economy, there are always openings in many fields for interns. Most internships are located in major cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama. However, you can also find internships in smaller and more rural towns depending on your field.
Cost of Living in Japan:
The cost of living in Japan can be fairly high, but it also depends on where you decide to live. On average, rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is about ¥100,000. On the other hand, living outside of the city center, in the suburbs can be about ¥50,000. You can decide where you want to live depending on where you internship is located. For more information and specifics visit Numbeo.
Work Culture in Japan:
- Etiquette: Harmony and interdependence are key values in Japanese society. Because of this, the Japanese often rely on facial expressions, tones in voice, and posture to understand how you feel. Non-verbal communication is so important in Japan, that there are many books written on the subject for foreigners. In general, meetings in Japanese business are quite formal and ritualized. Even though the traditional form of greeting is bowing, foreigners are expected to shake hands since they are not expected to understand all the subtleties of bowing.
- Language: Over 99% of Japan’s population speaks Japanese fluently. Although many Japanese understand English, it will be better for job opportunities and communication if you have a solid understanding and ability to speak Japanese.
- Networking: Business in Japan is based around personal relationships, so it is important to network with most of the people you meet. Greetings/seasonal cards are used quite often in Japan. For more information and specifics, read this article about networking as a foreigner in Japan.
Work and Labor Laws in Japan
If you are planning on interning in Japan for longer than 90 days, then you must register as an alien. You must carry your Alien Registration card at all times. This application can be found at the municipal office of the city, ward, town, or village in which you are living.