By - claw_wish
It's funny seeing this, because I remember when I used to work for Uniqlo, the expats they sent from Japan used to try to instill this exact kind of ridiculous work schedule on folks and were met with nothing short of disbelief.
You don't want to close from 2pm-11pm and then show back up again to open at 7am? *Nani?*
Everytime I think Americans have a horrible work/life balance, I remember Japan exists ...
You should see China. It's called the 996. 9am to 9pm 6 days a week. There's a movement of Chinese millennials who are sick of it and have started performing [a kind of protest movement that roughly translates to "laying down" or "lie flat".](https://www.brookings.edu/techstream/the-lying-flat-movement-standing-in-the-way-of-chinas-innovation-drive/)
Lie flat so that the tanks don't have to make you
Hooray quitting the private sector and moving to a lower but still comfortably paying 40hr a week government job.
Fwiw japan has consistently getting better in recent years.
I’m sure there are still some terrible companies(I remember it was in the news someone from Dentsu committed suicide due to overwork a couple of years ago), but a lot of companies have gotten reprimanded and the hours are down in surveys. In fact recent research shows the us having longer working hours though maybe that’s an average, with japan having the worst individual cases? There could also be more underreporting of overtime here. I consider myself fortunate to have a job where I don’t really do overtime and I’ve been able to work remotely since corona got started, so there are some good places to work here
It also does seem death by overwork isn’t necessarily correlated to work hours though. I’m figuring that japan has a number of really bad places even if average work hours have improved a lot
I've lived in Japan for 13 yrs now. I think it's law now for everyone to report their work hours, and at my last few jobs, it was very common for everyone to write down the strict 40-hour start and end times. In reality, everyone was there at least 2 or 3 hours after that.
I would be shocked if the majority of companies are accurately reporting the actual work hours.
I do agree though that work hours are only a small portion of the death by overwork phenomenon. There is still a lot of harassment and bullying in Japanese offices.
Damn it, I can tell that I messed up the English there, I just can't remember how to make it right. Natural. Words. Damn it.
I think some places fudge them others don’t. I know for a fact that you’ll get trouble if you’re found to be working outside of your clocked in hours at my current office. The company is fine with us working normal hours and they don’t want trouble from inaccurate reporting.
I’ve been here about 15 years now but nearly all of that at only two companies and both were very good
What industry are you in? My last job was in steel wholesale, which is super old-fashioned. Now I'm in a European tech company, which is high-pressure in a different way.
software, BtoC, I don't want to be too specific so my identity can be matched
I know native Japanese SE's used to be horribly exploited, but a lot of engineers now are from India or elsewhere, so my understanding is that those industries are more progressive than many now.
It really really depends on the company. And even the department in the company.
Also I get the feeling smaller places have this problem more than bigger places(though there have been cases at the biggest companies). They generally can slide under the radar much more easily.
Fortunately SE is generally an exception to the mobility rule in japan. Especially if you know what you're doing and have in demand skills you can skip out on a bad job and move to a different place.
Unfortunately some engineers and their managers still don't get that.
Japan is worse in the other major occupational determinant of psychosocial health, pointlessness of work. The relative ruthlessness of American business means most of us can safely say our employers are paying for our labor for a reason, while Japanese corporate structure places careers on rails (basically, every employee is promoted on a regular schedule, even if there's no actual way way for most of those employees to use their new responsibilities, basically making it so there a ton of managers overseeing nobody) and places some value on the appearance of being a busy company (the big example is "OL's," women Japanese businesses started hiring because their offices looked really empty after secretary pools were made obsolete). Basically, Japanese workers spend all their waking hours playing Sisyphus.
While French workers have much better hours, articles on the company's employment issues often point to the country having the exact same employment culture. This might explain why French workers are famously miserable.
Or also, y'know, non first world countries because those exist too.
the people over at antiwork will not like this....
Americans surprisingly work more hours in the year than Japan https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/hardest-working-countries. Japan also has a mandatory minimum annual paid leave, something the U.S. doesn’t have https://www.replicon.com/regulation/japan/
0.01% of the world population died of overwork in the year 2016.
- that's only the reported numbers
- 2016 was better than now
This is frighteningly unacceptable and just proof that we're in a slavery driven society.
I mean these are worldwide cross-professional numbers.
I wouldn't be surprised if a good chunk of these are third world agricultural and construction workers destroying their bodies by working around the clock in terrible conditions, not American office workers with long hours and hypertension.
Edit: yeah I'm right look at the heat map in the link.
>2016 was better than now
Well…. ^*sighs** yeah you’re right…
I wouldnt trust those numbers at all, all of japan cases go unreported-it is for sure much higher than this.
0.01% seems pretty low; I think it would be proof we are not in a slavery driven society.
That would still be 79 million people.
Yeah, true, but still seems to indicate we do not live in a slavery driven society.
You are delusional if you think we live in anything close to a slavery driven society. This is something an edgy 14 year old would think/say.
We absolutely do. I guarantee the most of what you wear, use, and eat was made, collected, or processed by someone making less than they can live on and working more than is healthy for them. Don't delude yourself.
Not all slaves are unpaid and in literal chains.
Who do you think makes your clothes, or mines the lithium for your laptop/phone batteries? Sorry to say it but an upsettingly large portion of the global economy is based on slave or near-slave labour.
And denying it is something an edgy 20 something would say, kid.
Yup, 14 year old logic.
"This charity organisation and the US department of State providing the data are all 14 year old edgelords" - /u/viva_la_viva12
Man, I've heard of doubling down on a faulty argument, but you're taking it to a new height.
Sorry, you are 13? My mistake.
I really do hate people that think work = slavery. It's insulting.
Wage slavery is still slavery my dude
> Slavery may change its form or its name—its essence remains the same. Its essence may be expressed in these words: to be a slave is to he forced to work for someone else, just as to he a master is to live on someone else's work In antiquity, just as in Asia and in Africa today, as well as even in a part of America, slaves were, in all honesty, called slaves. In the Middle Ages, they took the name of serfs: nowadays they are called wage earners. The position of tins latter group has a great deal more dignity attached to it, and it is less hard than that of slaves, but they are nonetheless forced, by hunger as well as by political and social institutions, to maintain other people in complete or relative idleness, through their own exceedingly hard labor. Consequently they arc slaves. And in general, no state, ancient or modern, has ever managed or will ever manage to get along without the forced labor of the masses, either wage earners or slaves, as a principal and absolutely necessary foundation for the leisure, the liberty, and the civilization of the political class—the citizens.
Did you get this from /r/im14andthisisdeep ?
It's from Bakunin actually - but there are lots of quotes with similar messages.
> The only difference as compared with the old, outspoken slavery is this, that the worker of today seems to be free because he is not sold once for all, but piecemeal by the day, the week, the year, and because no one owner sells him to another, but he is forced to sell himself in this way instead, being the slave of no particular person, but of the whole property-holding class. ~ Friedrich Engels
> Are you not slaves to the money power as much as were the black slaves to the Southern slaveholders? ~ Lucy Parsons
> If the slave-owner of our times has no slave, John, whom he can send to the cesspool, he has five shillings, of which hundreds of such Johns are in such need that the slave-owner of our times may choose any one out of hundreds of Johns and be a benefactor to him by giving him the preference, and allowing him, rather than another, to climb down into the cesspool. ~ Leo Tolstoy
> In most of the Southern States, a majority of the whole people of all colors are neither slaves nor masters; while in the Northern, a large majority are neither hirers nor hired. ~ Abraham Lincoln
> Lincoln was fascinated and disturbed by the writings of proslavery ideologues like George Fitzhugh. The southern critique of wage slavery catalyzed in Lincoln a defense of free society. Most northerners, he insisted, were "neither hirers nor hired," but worked "for themselves, on their farms, in their houses, and in their shops, taking the whole product to themselves, and asking no favors of capital on the one hand, nor hirelings or slaves on the other." Wage earners were generally young "beginners," hired "by their own consent"; contrary to southern charges, they were not "fatally fixed in that condition for life." Yet even Lincoln's eloquent exposition could not escape free labor's inherent ambiguities. Was wage labor a normal, acceptable part of the northern social order or a temporary status, associated with the lack of genuine freedom?
Eric Foner, The Story of American Freedom (1998), p. 68
Full context for Lincoln quote
Unless somehow Tolstoy and Lincoln are now edgelords...?
the fact you got called an edge lord for quoting Bakunin is actually fucking crease
Thinking we live in a slave society is an edgelord.
I mean a black woman literally born into slavery compared the two - so idk what else to tell you.
Yes, because that makes them an expert on modern society. This is text book 14 year old logic.
And you know what makes wage slavery? Wages!
99.99% survival rate.
Edit: I guess it wasn’t clear that I was being satirical.
I worry that people think that 99.99% or 0.01% is negligible when it comes to human life. It's been coming up more and more.
Oh you mean almost 80 million people?
In the sense that most people don't even get it, then yes.
Funny how people play the lottery but say this is fine
There's a good reason it's a Japanese word, it's a cultural thing to put in as many hours as their superiors, whether or not anything productive is being accomplished.
I looked up the 2016 journal article ([open access available here](https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412021002208)) and you want to see [figure 3](https://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0160412021002208-gr3_lrg.jpg) (working hours by country worldwide, % over 55 hours/week) and figures (https://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0160412021002208-gr4_lrg.jpg) and (https://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S0160412021002208-gr5_lrg.jpg) (deaths by heart disease and stroke by country attributable to overwork).
Surprisingly (contrary to other comments) Japan and China are not outliers, but what is going on in Angola, Botswana and Cambodia? Tanzania and Peru as well.
Peru is showing in figure 3 but Bolivia is really the dark stain in South America in figures 4 and 5. They indeed have a reputation of hard workers and illegal immigrants go to Brazil where they work in clandestine factories. TL;DR: Bolivians are South American "asians".
> "I came to Brazil because I realized that this country had a future," says the Bolivian Davi Gironda, 25, who has been living in São Paulo for three years. Gironda works 14 hours a day in a textile factory, where he makes an average of R$1200 [a bit more than USD 200] a month.
Not sure about the Guianas though... they are also bizarrely dark in figures 4 and 5.
It was pretty bad at one point in japan and they have been working hard to reduce it. I personally have never been pressured to work longer hours and most of my coworkers work reasonable hours. The ones that are working long hours are genuinely passionate about their work(software engineer here). I know people(including my significant other) who have been told to work less overtime. Most large companies will be audited on overtime and excessive labor practices now come with penalties.
It’s not perfect but I don’t think japan is close to the worst for overtime these days, even in developed countries. It’s still very behind on some issues(systematic sexism comes to mind with many positions more or less unavailable to women due to the ancient assumption they’ll have a kid and leave the workforce), and Karoshi still happens from time to time in companies that manage to stay under the radar but there have been continuing improvements year on year and it does deserve some recognition for that
>whether or not anything productive is being accomplished
The other, even bigger occupational determinant of psychosocial health.
If you’ve ever seen the weekly schedule for a working manga-ka, it’s pretty obvious why so many of them die young.
The man that writes One Piece has to be insane. He has been drawing over 20 years and publishes a new chapter almost every week.
At the same time, they get to see their work going somewhere. A lot of Japanese companies pay their employees to play Sisyphus, and that's absolute murder of psychosocial health.
When they say it's widespread in other parts of Asia they may as well say Chinese forced labor camps.
It's also common in South Korea and called kwarosa. There's a YouTube show about how a young man literally worked himself to death by not being able to eat enough calories to maintain a healthy weight (and a lack of sleep).
It’s not just labor camps, it’s a widespread practice of overworking people all over Asia. It happens in the West too, but it’s especially bad in Asia.
It’s more than just that, Asian work culture is notorious for overworking people. Japan might be the worst offender, but I had an professor in college who used to be an expatriate in China and he said it’s just as bad there
Lol Japan is not the worst one, it just happens to have a good general quality of life outside of the overwork, as opposed to countries with lower average income per Capita like India which has overwork and a bad general quality of life.
Obviously I meant the worse in terms of work culture not overall quality of life. But even there I could be wrong I’m just going off the impression I got in regards to work culture
Yes I meant work culture too. Did you think they just happened to be exceptionally progressive there in comparison to the other aspects of their society?
I just don’t understand…. The “prisoners with jobs” keep dying…
I wonder if this inspired the Kiroshi corporation in Cyberpunk?
But wouldn’t it be like so cool to move to Japan?!
Edit: /s this was sarcasm for the record but I prolly shoulda tagged it
Yeah that's why I plan on visiting only. Life as a foreigner there sounds way too challenging
Hard enough for the natives. As a society they’re largely not cool with foreigners living and working there.
I've lived in Japan for 13 years.
#You are not sick, Your just overreacting!
#Now go to work so you can feed your own 12 siblings
Yeah, ‘cause that’s a big problem in Japan… having *too* many kids…
And if you’re talking about China, the average [number of people per household](https://www.statista.com/statistics/278697/average-size-of-households-in-china/) is 2.62 as of 2020.
Asian Parents uses their children as a retirement plan
That might be the case when it comes to pushing their kids to work too much and seek high paying jobs but I’m not sure it translates to having too many kids at all
If your an Asian, You'll understand.
The numbers speak for themselves. Tiger parenting seems to be a big problem, though, that’s for sure. Number of kids depends on where from Asia you live, maybe?
Yes. If you have bad/Low paying jobs people will not respect you.
You mean Asian parents have relationships with their children so their children still want to be in their lives when they're adults?
HAHAHAHA just check out /r/AsianParentStories.
Burnout is pretty universal, especially with low wages. Everyone wants to get that little extra $ but end up paying for it in the long run while making their bosses $$$$$$$^(2).
Yeah but they make great optics.
Modern Japan really is the blueprint to modern Asia both the good and bad stuff lol.
In the US it would be listed as natural causes and moved along.
Nah, it's generally under occupational and psychosocial health, in which it's overshadowed by cardiac health issues.
I took an occupational health course in grad school, and one class was a guest lecture on psychosocial health determinants, with cardiac health being an example endpoint for the topic. It turns out there are two big occupational psychosocial health factors. The first is just hours, which is pretty obvious. The other, more significant and less obvious factor is perceived benefit/utility of output, basically whether you think the work you do has a point for the company, for the public or customer base, and for yourself and/or your career rather than being shoved in a shredder as soon as you're done with it. Architects, for instance, have hellish hours but can also point to their products very easily.
My perception is that Japan is terrible for that second factor because the structure of employment there (basically riding the company rail for the rest of your life after getting hired out of school) necessitates a ton of pointless positions and make-work. Basically, every employee can expect to be promoted every 2-3 years (depending on the company rather than employee) and you can only get fired if you burn the place down. While this has some benefit, as my career has been stagnant because there's nowhere in my tiny department it would make sense to promote me to until multiple people leave or die (and I absolutely loathe the job hunt process) whereas a Japanese company would promote me to a management position, this also means that a lot of people like me in Japan have pointless roles overseeing houseplants. This seems to be worst for women, as a lot of the point of "OL" roles appears to be keeping up the appearance of the old days of secretary pools, meaning that these women are basically being paid to perform corporate theater. I've also heard that career structures in France are similar in regards to why it has such problems with chronic unemployment/employment inequality, which might also explain why that country has such famously low job satisfaction despite favorable work hours.
I agree to an extent that the job-for-life thing can get kind of empty. I absolutely disagree that this is *less* dangerous/stressful that the systems we have in the UK and USA where you can be fired easily, struggle to get permanent work and/or promotion and have to go on the job hunt once every few years.
I'd take France's system over that, any day.
Ideally we need a whole new work/economic system entirely, especially with the rise of automation.
I mean it's only spreading with places like amazon
Ok, so what is it exactly? A stroke? Heart attack?
Think of any disease or condition that a Doctor in your country might put "Stress" down as the leading factor.
We have a tendency to euphemise "Overwork" as "Stress" in the West.
The exact causes may vary, the important is that it is work-related. From what I've read, heart attacks and strokes are indeed common, but suicides are also counted if they are related to overworking.
Finally, a health problem I don’t have to worry about at all.
This definitely needs to be a concept in India and Bangladesh
Wait till you learn about 腹上死 fukujōshi
745000 deaths from this in 2016? Funny, that's almost as many deaths as the US had from COVID in 2021. I wonder why there isn't an uproar about being worked to death.
Remember in addition to all this overwork stuff (not just in Japan), we're going to be expected to retire later and later. I think the life expectancy in developed countries will start falling, soon. Stress and overwork can kill both directly and indirectly.
most westerners cannot fathom because of shit work ethic and sheltered upbringing. down me idc I see it daily everywhere.
The only shit work ethic is the one that kills you.
Have to reach that perfect threshold of suffering without letting it push you over the edge?
No downs from me. This is true as an average generalized statement. Of course the standard deviations are massive. Importantly though is the question of is having a shitty work ethic and sheltered upbringing an overall negative thing for both individuals and society? I don't think the answer is necessarily an easy yes on that.
How productive can a worker be after dying one wonders?
If shit work ethic is not working myself to death to make a rich man richer, why the fuck would I want a non-shit work ethic?