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Answerman - Is Working To Death Really A Thing In Japan?


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Tuor_of_Gondolin
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Joined: 20 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:33 pm Reply with quote
Strange how this topic came to be addressed by Answerman on the very same day it appeared in the local paper.

While Japan might be nice to visit, you couldn't pay me enough to live there. I could never assimilate into their culture, nor would I ever want to.
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Paiprince



Joined: 21 Dec 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:53 pm Reply with quote
Tuor_of_Gondolin wrote:
While Japan might be nice to visit, you couldn't pay me enough to live there. I could never assimilate into their culture, nor would I ever want to.


Justin does a bang up job overinflating Japan's issues to the point that posts like this become standard. It's so like the reverse weeb to make Japan out as some depressing, third world country mostly just to counter the ones who have even an iota of positive views of the country.

There is going to be sacrifices to productivity and prosperity. Japan would still be among the ranks of Vietnam or Laos catching up with the rest of the big boys in the economic world. Trying to baby your employees like the West leads to a self-serving, egotistic work force (and it bit Europe really hard during the Great Recession). The number of self-important schmucks in the office that I had to deal with because they were taught in life that they were special snowflakes when in truth are just easily replaceable grunts is hilarious at best.


Last edited by Paiprince on Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Greed1914



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:53 pm Reply with quote
Expecting employees to spend more and more time at work also ends up feeding into the labor shortage, and makes the overworking situation worse. If those employees have to be, or at least feel like they have to be, at work all the time, it doesn't leave much opportunity to find someone, get married, and have babies.


I also recall watching a segment on a news program, though I don't remember which one, that talked about there being some younger men choosing to do things like leave when work hours were officially over so they could actually be home at a reasonable time to see their children. Of course, they also acknowledged that they were essentially committing career suicide by not doing the things needed for promotions.
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7jaws7



Joined: 17 Aug 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:02 pm Reply with quote
It certainly isn't just a Japan. The entire Asian workforce is almost criminally harsh.
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Jonny Mendes



Joined: 17 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:23 pm Reply with quote
After read the article i remember what a Japanese friend of mine said to me.
Western people work to live. Asian people live to work.
She said that even when their boss give them a chance to have more vacation days, they refuse them.
Since very young the main focus of their life is their career/job. Everything else came after.

Is one of the main reason for western companies relocate factories to countries like China.
Not only the workforce is very cheap, they work in crazy schedules every day of the week and go even to the point on living in the factories.
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DerekL1963
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:32 pm Reply with quote
Paiprince wrote:
Justin does a bang up job overinflating Japan's issues


Oh? Care to support that claim?
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Kikaioh



Joined: 01 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:39 pm Reply with quote
Having worked in software engineering in the US, I can definitely say overworking is a thing here, but maybe more so if you actually get paid for it. I used to work 120+ hour work weeks, even staying overnight at the office some days, and though it was admittedly very stressful, the overtime made it so that I could basically make 2 years worth of salary in just a year. At other jobs I worked at that didn't have overtime, most everyone would usually be out of the office around the time that work ended (which I think is absolutely fair).
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Tuor_of_Gondolin
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:45 pm Reply with quote
DerekL1963 wrote:
Oh? Care to support that claim?

It's probably simpler to just read the article I linked (it's to the Seattle Times) which provides quotes and numbers that back up (and more) what Justin said.
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MrFox123



Joined: 12 Oct 2016
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:54 pm Reply with quote
Kikaioh wrote:
Having worked in software engineering in the US, I can definitely say overworking is a thing here, but maybe more so if you actually get paid for it. I used to work 120+ hour work weeks, even staying overnight at the office some days, and though it was admittedly very stressful,


depends on the comapny I guess
Im a software developer too and rarely worked overtime Razz
It's a 40hours per week job but there's alot of free time in between that. Maybe half is actually spent working if it's not near the end of the quater Surprised
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DerekL1963
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:06 pm Reply with quote
Tuor_of_Gondolin wrote:
DerekL1963 wrote:
Oh? Care to support that claim?

It's probably simpler to just read the article I linked (it's to the Seattle Times) which provides quotes and numbers that back up (and more) what Justin said.


Oh I know Justin is correct. Problems with Japanese overworking themselves are well documented and have been covered in Western media for decades. I was just curious if the OP actually cared to back up their claim, especially in face of the known facts.

Justin has been known to embroider a little sometimes, but outright misrepresentation? No.
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Blanchimont



Joined: 25 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:49 pm Reply with quote
Paiprince wrote:
Justin does a bang up job overinflating Japan's issues to the point that posts like this become standard. It's so like the reverse weeb to make Japan out as some depressing, third world country mostly just to counter the ones who have even an iota of positive views of the country.

Whether or not Justin's assesment of it is any hyperbole or not, the issue discussed is very real.

Quote:
There is going to be sacrifices to productivity and prosperity. Japan would still be among the ranks of Vietnam or Laos catching up with the rest of the big boys in the economic world.

Pretty sure the folks in Vietnam or Laos work for a lot less for likely also very long hours.

Quote:
Trying to baby your employees like the West leads to a self-serving, egotistic work force (and it bit Europe really hard during the Great Recession). The number of self-important schmucks in the office that I had to deal with because they were taught in life that they were special snowflakes when in truth are just easily replaceable grunts is hilarious at best.

Respecting basic working conditions is in any any way, shape, or form self-serving or egotistic how? And your quote is amusingly ironic considering the multitude of your replies on the other thread where you clearly showed your opposition to immigration and multiculturalism in the case of Japan. Eventually it'll reach a point there will be no more grunts left or the situation reaches a breaking point, because the current situation is simply unsustainable...
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Fronzel



Joined: 11 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:51 pm Reply with quote
Episode 9 of Hataraki Man deals with karoshi. The magazine-editor protagonist is going to interview a man famous in his field who suddenly drops dead at the age of 40. At the funeral people whisper it was overwork and mention what a good marriage he had and later we see a photograph showing he had a young daughter, expressing the suffering his death leaves behind. At the same time, the protagonist's doctor friend tells her she's ruining her own health with overwork.

Surprisingly, the rest of the episode is about her doing an almost-solo work marathon (while sick!) and she's inspired by the dead man's accomplishments to do so. In the anime version it's presented as a straightforward triumph but that might be the problem of an unimaginative adaptation.

The first episode is somewhat related; the protagonist hates a young worker in her office because he doesn't work hard enough. At the end of the episode he addresses the camera to explain his mentality and says that he doesn't want to die knowing all he did was work. Then the workaholic protagonist has her turn and says she's happy to work hard because she wants to accomplish things.

There's some humor in the series but I wouldn't call it a comedy, making it the only workplace drama anime that I know of.


Last edited by Fronzel on Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Lemonchest



Joined: 18 Mar 2015
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:52 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
It's easy for a Westerner to look at this and think it's nuts. But without this mindset, it might be impossible for a tiny country like Japan to afford to produce the anime we love. The "Japanese work ethic" as it came to be known was absolutely the reason the country rose to such prominence. When you expect a lot of yourself, it's very often possible you can actually do what you're trying to do, after all. With so many people working so hard and with such high personal standards, it's no wonder that the country became as productive as it did.


That's a bit misleading. Japan may be relatively small geographically, but it has the 10th highest population in the world, while productivity (in terms of GDP per hours worked, at least) historically has been low for a developed economy. Which really just makes the issue even worse, since the statistics suggest they're being worked to death for nothing.

Even when it comes to animation, productivity per worker has gone down over the years. I forget where I saw the numbers, but because of outsourcing & the large growth in the number of independent workers, particularly at the entry level (key frames & the like), the amount of work per person, & thus pay, has gone down over the years, while technology hasn't been a great boost to productivity because of the concurrent rise in expectations of quality negates any time saved.
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NearEasternerJ1



Joined: 29 Sep 2015
Posts: 363
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:58 pm Reply with quote
The economic model of Japan is too much like the Anglo-model of neoliberalism. "Hard work" means shit if you're not getting good wages don't have a high quality of life. Japan, the USA and Britain should adopt a social-democratic system with a living wage, free education, less work hours and investment in public services.
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BadNewsBlues



Joined: 21 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:15 pm Reply with quote
Paiprince wrote:
Justin does a bang up job overinflating Japan's issues to the point that posts like this become standard. It's so like the reverse weeb to make Japan out as some depressing, third world country mostly just to counter the ones who have even an iota of positive views of the country.


The problem with your logic is that you seem to be making out like a weeaboo complaining about other people complaining for daring to have an opinion on some of the problematic if not outright stupid things Glorious Japan does.

Paiprince wrote:
There is going to be sacrifices to productivity and prosperity.


Those sacrifices shouldn't lead to people unnecessarily denigrating or literally killing themselves. Or being shamed for doing things they shouldn't be shamed for.

Paiprince wrote:
Trying to baby your employees like the West leads to a self-serving, egotistic work force.


I don't know how Europe does it but what so called babying you're talking about doesn't lead to what you think it does.

Paiprince wrote:
The number of self-important schmucks in the office that I had to deal with because they were taught in life that they were special snowflakes when in truth are just easily replaceable grunts is hilarious at best.


Your disturbing and cringe inducing mindset is decidedly not.
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