Defending Japanese Companies

Being surrounded by a lot of people who’ve never worked for a Japanese company, I find myself in a weird situation when people around me start raising negative stereotypes about them.

It’s true that compared to American companies, Japanese companies may appear rather undesirable. They’re known to have relatively low pay, relatively small desks, and getting approval for your vacation requests is almost next to impossible.

Yet, I refuse to believe they are all that bad because if they were, they wouldn’t have succeeded and helped make Japan the second richest country in the world, with successful brands known the world over.

Having worked for Japanese companies, I will take it as my responsibility to defend the underdog. Besides, if people ask me which company I enjoyed the most, my answer has always been Epson, a Japanese company.


I believe it’s because Epson gave me that feeling of being part of a family. Everybody was incredibly polite and courteous. My colleagues treated me as if I were their brother and my superiors treated me as if I were their son.

Employees were focused on working as a team instead of worrying about internal competition. Rumors about who’s dating who are commonplace, and yet, professional backbiting is unheard of.

I think this is made possible because of two things, (1) age-based promotion, and (2) bonuses based largely on just the company’s performance. Both practices are very common among Japanese companies.

With these two, both internal competition and professional backbiting become meaningless. There’s no use destroying the competition if doing so doesn’t guarantee you faster promotion or bigger bonuses.

The bonus system helps promote teamwork as well. Being the superstar in a team doesn’t guarantee you bigger bonuses. It’s the performance of the company that matters and this is best achieved if all the big parts and all the small parts of the team work as one.

I’m not saying these should be applied to all companies in the world. No. In fact, I don’t see these working for any other cultures other than the Japanese. I believe companies should promote a company culture that’s tailor-made for the individual cultures of the people they employ.

What works for the Japanese may not necessarily work for the Americans. Vice versa. In a company that’s a marriage between the Japanese and the American corporate cultures, it would be interesting to see the hybrid culture that would evolve.



6 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Rico-san,Meri Kurisumasu 😀I agree with some of your analysis – that Japanese companies promote harmony. I guess you could say that they use a more communist system – everyone working hard for the good of the company. Its unclear how innovation takes place in such an environment though, but still it seems that when one person has a good idea, the whole company benefits, so employees are encouraged.Still, I am stuck wondering about the tangential point. When years after you can still clearly pronounce the place you enjoyed the most, why does it seem so impossible to return. Although circumstances have changed, it seems that some of what made it as it was, must remain. Though I’m no different from you, and find myself living a similar life.いつものように、ありがとうございました。その頃僕もすごく楽しかった。いろんな〜こと教えてくれたんだ。いつかまた戻りましょう!


  2. お久しぶり!書き方で誰か分かりやすいよね(^.^)v是非、鹿児島に戻りましょう!短い旅でもいいし…


  3. Sun Jun says:

    wow! you have a fan. hehehe ^^Try working in Epson Cebu hahaha ^^ But really, it depends on the management.sadly, where I was assigned there was backbiting and competition among teams, although very subtly unlike my experience in the Phils. It might be because S lab is bigger in size and a lot of seniors are next in line for promotion. And I believe, it really depends on who’s at the top. Sometimes people at the top have this wicked style of promoting competition and animosity among teams trying to “encourage” them to perform better. But I do understand that Jap companies have there advantages too and personally I enjoyed working in S and C very much as well. And I felt the same about having a second family in S as well. But I guess something was still missing because it wasn’t enough for me to stay.Or was it enough, but they forced me to leave? hahaha some family?! hehehe ^^


  4. Sun Jun says:

    Merry Christmas pala! Wishing you prosperity and good health in 2009! Hope to see you again! BTW, I will be in Manila Jan 2-10 but will be away Jan 3-6 (til hapon). If you have the time, I would love to meet you again. you can reach me at. maru kyuu ni hachi 507 go kyuu maru ichi.hope to see you!


  5. Just like what Sun Jun said, it really depends on the management. I can’t say the same thing in my current company. In fairness, I really loved working in EP in K 🙂


  6. Kelvin says:

    Couldn’t have said it better, in fact its impossible, you nailed it … I wonder if anyone got laid off at epson kagoshima, maybe taniyama does all the testing by himself now, none of the bishoujo temps are left hahaha, i miss JG …


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