カテゴリーのアイコン Work Life in Japan
Mental Health Challenges to Be Aware of When Working in Japan
Jun 29, 2023
5 min read
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In Japan, workers often feel stressed about their jobs. Some people think, "I don't like my job." There are many reasons for this, but people in other countries may have similar situations.

In this article, you will learn why Japanese people tend to feel stressed out about work. Knowing the cultural background that leads to this way of thinking will surely be very helpful when you work in Japan!

Number of People With Mental Health Problems

In July 2021, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare revealed in its Survey on Occupational Safety and Health (Factual Survey) that According to the survey, 10.1% of the respondents took a leave of absence or quit their jobs for a month or more due to mental health problems in a year.

The survey was conducted in 7,831 companies and 7,426 people. So it would seem that this data is quite believable.

More than 53% of the people in the survey said they "sometimes feel very stressed" about their jobs. The main reasons for their stress were "too much to do," "too much responsibility," and "the content of the job is difficult.

Many People Think It Is Good to Be Patient

Did you know that it is generally said that in the country of Japan, "mental health problems are more likely to occur"? One of the reasons for this is said to be that the Japanese culture believes that "gaman is good".

But why do the Japanese value "gaman" so highly? Actually, it is because of the influence of Buddhism, the teachings of monks from long ago, and Confucianism, which is taught by parents.

Buddhist Influence

In Japan, there is a widespread religion called "Buddhism," and its ideas have influenced many people.

Buddhism teaches, "It is important to be patient when you want something or when you are in pain”. This is because it is believed that by being patient with what we want, we can become peaceful and patient even when we are in pain.

Confucian Values

Confucianism has also influenced important Japanese values.

Confucianism says, "It is important to feel responsible for one's family and friends so that everyone can live properly in society”. It is also considered necessary to be patient in order for everyone to live in harmony.

Impact of Collectivism

In Japan, it is considered important for everyone to get along and cooperate in life. It is characterized by the importance of harmony together with everyone, suppressing individual feelings and selfishness.

In this context, "gaman" is considered important for everyone to cooperate and get along with each other.

Influence of Bushido

In Japan, there were brave people called "samurai.

They believed it was important to remain calm and brave in the face of hardships and difficult situations. To achieve this, it was very important to be patient. The way of thinking of these warriors and their culture from long ago influenced the culture of Japan today, and it came to be thought that "gaman is important".

Japan Is a Culture of Shame

Credit: siro46/Shutterstock.com

In Japanese culture, people are very careful about how they behave and what they do. In this culture, it is considered very bad to cause inconvenience or embarrassment to others.

This is called the "culture of shame. This culture seems to have several characteristics and backgrounds.


In Japanese culture, it is considered important for everyone to get along and cooperate in life. In this context, it is very important for each individual to act as a fellow member.

It's emphasized that an individual's actions affect everyone else, and everyone is expected to work well together. If an individual does something wrong in that context, they can feel embarrassed about it.

Consideration for Appearance, Speech and Behavior

In Japan, it is considered important to be careful about how you look and what you say when you talk to everyone. People prefer to talk normally, without forcing themselves to be different from others. It is also considered good to speak quietly, without showing too much emotion.

For example, people do not get nervous on crowded trains and remain quiet and still, which can also be said to be out of consideration for those around them.

Worry About Mistakes and Failures

In Japan, many people feel a little embarrassed when they make careless mistakes. This is because they are always careful not to cause trouble for others, so they tend to take even the slightest mistake as a big mistake.

This is why many people are very careful in their actions, and it is said that many people dislike making mistakes or making mistakes themselves.

Things to Keep In Mind When Working in Japan!

Did you know that the phenomenon of people becoming similar to those around them by being influenced by them is called "mirroring"?

Mirroring is "imitating" the people around you. We use mirroring without realizing it in order to communicate effectively with others.

For example, by imitating the language and gestures (gestures) of others, we increase our empathy for them and promote better communication. This phenomenon is often done unconsciously and seems to play an important role in human relationships.

I think that after working in Japan for a long period of time, foreigners may sometimes lose their mental balance because they think too much like Japanese people due to the mirroring effect. In such cases, it would be good if you could go back to your original self once in a while and relax.

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