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As seen in the Transitions Abroad Webzine August 2008 Issue

Ten Websites That Will Help You Find a Job in Japan

Subway to work in Tokyo, Japan

Japan has it all. The country claims one of the largest cities in the world, automated restaurants alongside small rustic villages, and jaw-dropping vistas. It’s clean. It’s safe. It is very rich in culture and art. These are some of the reasons why so many wish to move to Japan. The cost of living in Japan is high, though, so unless you come with trust fund in hand, you’re going to need a source of income. Even if you don’t speak Japanese, job searching in Japan isn’t as daunting a task as you might think…if you know where to look. These ten websites will help you in your journey toward gainful employment in the "Land of the Rising Sun."

    Let’s face it. The easiest job for English speakers to find and obtain in Japan is that of English teacher. The government requires that English be taught in all public junior high and senior high schools, so job openings are plentiful. Many schools hire English speakers as classroom assistants rather than full-fledged teachers, so even if you don’t have teaching credentials you can still capitalize on your native tongue. This is a job website specifically for those who teach or wish to teach English in Japan.
  2. Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program
    So you have decided to become an English teacher in Japan. What’s next? Where do you live? How do you get there? What documents do you need to enter the country? If organizing your own work visa, travel expenses, and placement seems a bit overwhelming, leave it to the pros. The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program has been sending doe-eyed foreigners to Japanese public schools for over 20 years now. The interview process is extensive, and competition is stiff, but this program is the best way to go about teaching English in Japan. Applications are available online in late September.
  3. Gaijin Pot
    Most gaijin (or foreigners) living in Japan have logged onto Gaijin Pot at one time or another. This website is a cornucopia of useful information ranging from banking and taxes to raising a family. Check out the Featured Jobs in Japan option to look through employment listings. Most companies listed require that you live in Japan before applying, but if you are searching for a job in Japan from overseas, this is the place to go.
  4. Metropolis; Kansai Scene; Japanzine
    The above websites are grouped together because they are all so similar. These websites are the online presence of three major English-language magazines in Japan: Metropolis is based in Tokyo; the Kansai Scene covers the Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto area; Japanzine lords over Nagoya. The website for each magazine offers an employment section where you can scan for jobs in that part of the country. These are great resources when job-hunting because the listings are updated with every new issue of the magazine. You might also want to check out the classified sections of newspapers such as The Japan Times.
    Sure, a huge number of jobs in Japan are teaching jobs. There’s got to be more out there, though, right? Right! lists thousands of jobs ranging from accounting to investment banking. The site is heavy on information technology and finance jobs in particular. You can search by job, by employer, and even by recruiter. Please note that most of the jobs on this site require a high level of Japanese language ability. There is a search function, however, that allows you to narrow your search according to language ability required.
    This website is the self-proclaimed “mother lode of Japan job info.” While some of the previously mentioned sites have far more extensive listings, this one should not be overlooked. In addition to the usual suspects of teaching and IT jobs, this site also provides some more entertaining options. Check out the “Model, Act, Entertain” section if you’ve always dreamed of getting your foreign face on TV or in print. There are also a number of listings calling for hostesses. Hang out at a bar till the wee hours of the morning serving drunk businessmen overpriced cocktails, lighting cigarettes, and just being a flirty little coquette.
  7. Tokyo
    Tokyo Connections acts as a one-stop shop for other Japanese job sites. It provides links to websites where jobs are available along with a review of each. Check out the “Job Listings” and “Job Search Sites” sections for tons of employment options. Also listed on Tokyo Connections are available grants, scholarships, internships, and working holidays. Another useful aspect of the website is the listing of clubs and associations. If your job hunt is not off to a great start, hook up with some like-minded individuals for serious networking opportunities.
  8. Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners
    The website for contains a wealth of job-related information. There you will find info on who is allowed to work in Japan, labor laws, insurance, and where to take free Japanese classes. The center has locations in Tokyo and Osaka. If you are living in Japan while job hunting, consider popping in for a consultation or to browse through their help-wanted ads.
  9. CareerCross
    A job posting site specializing in bi-lingual jobs available in Japan for those with Japanese language skills.
  10. American Embassy in Tokyo
    Before you accept the job you found online and hop on a plane, you might want to make sure your government will allow it. To find your embassy’s website in the "Land of the Rising Sun," try this Google search: <Your Country> Embassy Japan. On your embassy’s site you will find visa and employment information, as well as some useful cultural tips. You might even find a job opening at the embassy itself.

Whether you aspire to be an English teacher, an investment banker, or are just seeking a short-term gig, Japan is sure to have a job that suits you. The resources listed above will get you off and running in the right direction. So, bone up on your Japanese, and, as with any job, be sure to research the position and company thoroughly before moving halfway around the world. Good luck and gambatte!

Related Topics
Living in Japan: Articles and the Best Expatriate Resources
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Teaching English in Japan: Articles and the Best Resources

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