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7 Most Popular Jobs for Americans in Japan

Are you one of those Americans who wish to try getting a job abroad? Why won’t you try looking out in Japan? Because of its aging population, Japan has opened its doors wider for foreigners, including Americans like you. Though many would hesitate to live and work there because of the language and the high cost of living, living in Japan is irresistible. Generally, it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, not to mention the automated restaurants, the rich culture and art, and how clean the country is and how disciplined the people are.

If you are an American who wishes to move to Japan, what jobs are there for you?

List of Popular Jobs for Americans

We know some Americans and other English speaking foreigners find it hard to get a job in Japan, thinking that they need to need to learn Japanese before they could apply.

We sorted out the most popular ones to at least make it easier for you to choose which job to apply. The list below shows those jobs that attracted foreigners the most.

English teaching

This is the easiest job Americans can do while living in Japan. It is the most common and English speaker can get as most Japanese are hungry to learn the language for their personal and professional benefits and development. Though there is a lot of slots for English teachers in Japan, competition is also high especially, in the city. To be successful in this field, you need to get formal training from your home country and with at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify.

Rate: Ranges from $1,700 – 5,000 USD / month

Translation

If the competition for English teachers is very high, translation is the job next job for you. Many Japanese companies are in need of translators, like those in the gaming industry. There are three (3) types of translation: translation, localization, and interpretation. 

  • Translation is converting a group of words or content from one language to another; 
  • Localization is adapting the content to the local audience for them to better or easily understand it; 
  • Interpretation is translating the content orally in real-time.  This job is open, not just for English speakers but for other languages, too. 

Rate: 3,800 USD per month

Information Technology

One of the popular jobs in Japan is working as IT professionals. Many multinational companies have headquartered in the country which is in need of System Support Analysts, Backend Developers, IT Managers, and many other IT-related jobs. Though there are a lot of Japanese who handle these same roles, they hire English speakers to act as a bridge to English speaking countries that they are partnering with.

Rate: 5,400 USD average monthly rate, depending on the specialization.

Sales

A lot of local companies hire English speaking salespeople and Americans to fill their job posts to reach their foreign target market. Even locally, these Japanese companies target expatriates, tourists, students and other temporary or short-term residents in the country. Sales jobs are mostly from real estate, finance, automobile, and electronics industries. 

Rate: Average of 5,400 USD/month

Engineering

Though Japan’s engineering and technology is advanced, they welcome foreign engineers like Americans. Although these local companies partner with foreign clients, they want to keep their projects onshore such as construction projects and designing the automobile and electronic parts.

Rate: Average of $5,400/month.

Banker 

The banking industry is one of the biggest in Japan, reaching out or planning its expansion to foreign locations and markets. These companies mostly don’t require the Japanese language. Looking back from its history, there are large financial companies that hired a large number of English speaking workers, though it was only for a temporary role. 

Rate: Average of $6,100/month

Tourism

According to JTB Tourism Research and Consulting Co., in the first 2 months of 2020, Japan has recorded more than 3.7 million visits of tourists from different countries, though this number has declined sharply because of the COVID-19 situation. In November 2019, more than 140,000 Americans visited the country, not to mention the number of visitors from other English-speaking countries like Canada and Australia. Tourism, travel and tourist-oriented companies hire English speakers to welcome these visitors or offer tour package to them.

Rate: Ranges from 2,600 to 8,500 USD per month

Are you now interested to take a leap to Japan? But wait, you need to check what is needed first.

General Information That Will Help You

Americans or anyone who wishes to stay in Japan to get a job or reside permanently need to comply with certain requirements. What are these?

  • Certificate of Employment (COE) – This document is very important in applying for a visa in Japan. This is issued after ensuring that you have met the landing conditions related to the status you are applying, for example, work status.  Your visa sponsor, like your employer, may apply for a COE on your behalf, at the nearest Immigration Office in Japan. Once you are issued with this certificate, you will, it will be easier and quicker for you to get an actual visa and landing permission. But this does not mean that once you get a COE, you will automatically be given a visa.
  • Visa – If you already get a copy of your COE, you will then need to fill up a form from the Japanese embassy or a consulate in your home country to apply for a work visa. Without this visa, American citizens cannot work in Japan. There are different types of work visas. They are granted for a period of 1 year or 3 years. To know more about this, click on this link.

Apart from getting a COE, Americans also need to prepare and submit the following basic requirements to be able to get a job in Japan:

  • A valid passport;
  • A recent photograph;
  • A letter from visa sponsor, that is your future employer, that states the role or position you will be hired for and the expected salary you will be given;
  • A copy of your updated curriculum vitae; and
  • Copies of any necessary education documents and/or certificates.

When you have gathered all requirements, you can expect that the Japanese government will give additional documents that you need to get and keep as soon as you arrive in the country. Keep all of these documents separate from those that you will need every day in a safe location, with all other valuables.

You will learn more information about Japan working visa requirements in another article.

Where to Get Jobs From?

Oh, we won’t leave you hanging, thinking where Americans can get jobs in Japan. Looking for a job while you are still in your country could be discouraging because you don’t know where to find them. Again, we made a list and now are of the websites that can help you.

Fair Work Japan

A visitor-friendly website, you can easily find the job of your choice or interest. You can choose a job by location, type of occupation or Japanese level. If you have 0 to beginner Japanese language, just simply choose from the drop-down menu, then click search. Viola! You will then get what you are looking for. They also have part-time and full-time jobs posted. Isn’t that easy as 1, 2, 3? They are now partnering with more companies and that means more jobs will be posted soon.

Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program

Are you interested in teaching English? In collaboration with the Japanese government, JET has sent qualified English teachers to public schools for more than 30 years. An estimated number of forty-five thousand (45,000) of their participants came from North America. Their website provides what you need to know to join the program.

Gajin Pot

This website offers a lot of various jobs and that includes jobs that don’t require the Japanese language, like web design and teaching. This is also great for Americans who are still in the US while looking for opportunities in Japan. Their website, too, is comprehensive if at your first visit.

Daijob.com

If you are looking for an investment banking or IT job, we recommend this website because they offer thousand of them. You can search for the type of job and employer that you like. Although most companies require the Japanese language, you can search and choose those who don’t find it necessary.

Kansai Finder

This website welcomes companies and businesses to post job listings on their website for free, with certain requirements to meet and these are featured in their sister magazine publication. Currently, teaching and engineering jobs are just a few on their list.

Now, why won’t you try, as an American, to get started in your new adventure in finding a job in Japan? After you have done the initial step, taking the information you need to know. You can now then move forward to the next, which is to execute your plan. Take courage, because, as Gary Bryan Blair said, “if you’re brave enough to start, you’re strong enough to finish.”

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