The Complete Guide To Internships in Japan

Internships In Japan

The Complete Guide To Internships in Japan

You’ve probably heard that internships are important tools for career development – but not just any internship will do. Japan, a country blending age-old tradition with cutting-edge technology, is teeming with opportunities, no matter your major.

But stepping into the Land of the Rising Sun for an internship isn’t like any other international move – it’s a colorful, challenging, and incredibly rewarding experience. 

Grab your notepad and prepare to learn how to make the most out of Japan’s internship landscape.

Why Choose Japan for an Internship

Interning in Japan isn’t just about exoticism; it’s a strategic career move. 

You’re stepping into a place where high-level industry insights meet rich cultural traditions – exactly what makes employers sit up and take notice. From the electronica glitter of Tokyo’s skyscrapers to the serene humbleness of Kyoto’s geishas, Japan’s eclectic mix has something for everyone.

In Japan, a hyper-modern business world coexists with time-honored social rituals. You’ll develop adaptability and strong cross-cultural skills.  In the race to land that perfect job, these two characteristics might just be your ace in the hole.

Not only that, but Japan’s well-established reputation for quality products and services means you have the potential to work with some of the best in your chosen field.

Imagine exploring a place where the economy is buzzing thanks to standout fields like technology and engineering – and of course, finance. That’s exactly what awaits you in Japan. 

If you’re talking money matters, marketing, or breakthroughs in technology, Tokyo is where it’s at. Or you can take a trip down to Osaka or Nagoya – they’ve got thriving businesses worth checking out there, too!

What to Expect When Interning in Japan

Internship In Japan

Before you pack your bags, you need to understand Japan’s unique work culture, which differs substantially from Western norms. Here are a few crucial differences you’ll encounter:

Hierarchical Structures and Formalities

Japanese businesses often have a strict hierarchy, and respect is key. Titles and seniority are highly regarded, and you should expect to use honorifics when addressing those above you.

Long Hours and Dedication

The concept of “salaryman” is deeply ingrained in Japanese work ethic, with employees often working overtime to demonstrate their dedication. The practice of ‘salarymen’ often translates to interns, so be prepared for a full schedule.

Group Focus and Collaboration

In Japan, the emphasis is on the collective and the collective peace. Decision-making occurs at higher levels, but there’s a huge focus on teamwork. Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to participate in work socials and team-building activities after hours – and do your best to participate in these, since they’ll underscore your commitment to the experience.

The Importance of Language

While many Japanese people do speak some English, especially in the business world, it’s beneficial to learn as much Japanese as possible. Even a few basic phrases can improve your experience and demonstrate your commitment to engaging with Japanese culture. 

Mastering Business Etiquette

From exchanging business cards with two hands to bowing to greet someone, Japan’s corporate etiquette is a nuanced art. Familiarize yourself with these customs before beginning your internship, as they can make a significant impression on your peers and supervisors.

Remember, even if you’re fluent in Japanese, effective communication will likely be your biggest hurdle. Whether it’s understanding company jargon or navigating the subtle nuances of correspondence, patience is key.

Remember, your internship is as much a learning opportunity as it is a job experience.

How to Get an Internship in Japan

Internships in Japan often require more legwork than those in other countries, so start your search early. Here’s a step-by-step guide to landing an internship in the Land of the Rising Sun:

  • Research Japanese Companies: Identify companies of interest and research their internship programs. 
  • Network: Leverage your school’s alumni network or reach out to professionals in your field who have worked in Japan. Personal connections can open doors to unadvertised internship positions.
  • Prepare a Flawless Application: Craft a resume and cover letter tailored to Japanese standards. Highlight any cross-cultural experiences or language skills which will be advantageous for roles in Japan. Some internships may also require you to submit a “shokumukeirekisho”, a Japanese-style resume.

If you want to make your life a little easier in finding and applying for internships, turn to Absolute Internship. For global minds dreaming of interning in Japan or anywhere else on earth – that’s where we shine.

The call of Japan is strong. Bursting at the seams with cultural richness, cutting-edge industries, and an unbeatable spot in Asia’s core, it lays out a red carpet for interns looking for real-world experience.

Are you ready to take the leap into the bustling world of Japanese internships? Do your research, apply with confidence, and above all, approach this experience with an open mind and a willingness to learn. 

Your time as an intern in Japan could very well be the launchpad for a fulfilling, global career.


What are the benefits of doing an internship in Japan?

An internship in Japan offers a unique chance to immerse yourself in a culture that’s quite  different from your own, all while gaining valuable work experience. It can provide you with a global perspective, strengthen your intercultural communication skills, enhance your professional network, and so much more. 

Are internships in Japan paid?

Some internships in Japan are paid, especially in larger, well-established companies. However, this isn’t always the case, and unpaid internships tend to be more common and offer just as robust of a learning experience in many cases. 

How to apply to internships in Japan?

In your application, make sure to tailor your resume and cover letter to the Japanese market and consider using specialized internship platforms to increase your chances of success.

Can I intern in Japan without speaking Japanese?

While Japanese language skills are not always required, having at least a basic understanding can significantly improve your internship experience. It’s common for companies to use a mix of Japanese and English, but the more Japanese you know, the better you’ll be able to communicate and integrate into your work environment.

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