Toshio Suzuki and Ghibli Exhibition: Feel The Powerful Magic of Words by Tiffany:

Toshio Suzuki and Ghibli Exhibition: Feel The Powerful Magic of Words
Any talk about Studio Ghibli will bring to mind the legendary Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata, but perhaps some fans may be less familiar with Toshio Suzuki. As the producer and former president, Suzuki is as integral to the studio’s success as Miyazaki and Takahata. Thanks to the dynamic trio of Miyazaki, Suzuki, and Takahata, Ghibli films are critically acclaimed, well-loved hits all over the world.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
If you’re a Ghibli aficionado and/or you want to know more about Suzuki, you’re in luck! April 20, 2019 marked the launch of a Suzuki-centric exhibition, simply called Toshio Suzuki and Studio Ghibli. Held at the newly opened Edo Culture Complex (EDOCCO) center on the grounds of Kanda Myojin, one of Tokyo’s most famous shrines, the exhibition runs from April 20 (Saturday) to May 12 (Sunday), 2019.

What to expect at the Toshio Suzuki and Ghibli Exhibition

toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
In addition to being a co-founder of Studio Ghibli, Suzuki is also a talented calligrapher, so the exhibition features some of his writings. Suzuki is a believer in the power of words, and indeed, as you walk through the venue, you too will feel the magic of words.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
You’ll see Suzuki’s inspirations–old-school, Showa-era (1926-1989) manga and films–and learn more about the trajectory of his career. While explanations are only in Japanese, and there are sadly no multilingual audio guides as of this writing, there’s more than enough for you to see and enjoy even if you can’t understand Japanese. If you’ve ever wondered what anime magazines from the ’70s looked like, or what a handwritten thesis looks like& well, you’ll wonder no more once you check out this exhibition.
Suzuki’s love for the written word didn’t just stop at calligraphy; his way with words also helped him brilliantly craft the copy for Ghibli films’ promotional materials. Did you know that the taglines for many Ghibli films have the word “live” (ikiro in Japanese) or some variation of it? Thanks to this exhibition, now you know! Be sure to have a look at Suzuki’s documents, notes, sketches, handwritten versions of Ghibli films’ taglines, and more.
Yubaba | Photo by Tiffany Lim
And now for the fun part. Time to have your fortune told. Take your pick from the imposing Yubaba or her twin sister Zeniba, who’s just as imposing. Yubaba’s got luck-related fortunes up her sleeve (er, mouth), while Zeniba has love-related ones. Unfortunately, you can’t line up for both.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionZeniba | Photo by Tiffany Lim
Reach into either sister’s mouth, pull out a number, and head to the nearby drawers. Find your number, and take a fortune. Don’t worry; this one’s got English translations. Heed Yubaba’s reminder to take good care of your new “name” (i.e. fortune), and off you go.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
Finally, at the end of the exhibition, you’ll find merchandise, in case you want to take home the magic with you. Not only event-exclusive items, but also some popular items from the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, are in store.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
Downstairs, you’ll also find the shrine selling limited-edition Ghibli-themed omamori (charms) and _ema _(prayer tablets). While ema are typically used to write prayers or wishes, and then left on shrine grounds, you can take these tablets home.


  • Especially if you’re visiting on a weekend or holiday, be prepared to wait in line just to get into the gallery. While not tiny, it’s not huge enough to accommodate too many people, either.
  • Save time by buying tickers from Loppi, Lawson’s ticketing service (link in Japanese only).
  • If you don’t want to spend too much time in line waiting for your fortune, the line for Zeniba’s love fortunes is shorter.
  • Are you a merch hound? If so, check out not only the shop at the end of the exhibition, but also the first floor of EDOCCO and the shrine’s stand for lucky items. Each area has its own merch related to the exhibition.
    Can’t make it to the exhibition? Check out the permanent Ghibli Museum in Tokyo.

Too rich, too comfortable: Why Japan is so resistant to change even as disaster looms:

Note: I edited the question and answer section for clarity. See the original article for higher fidelity.

Under the leadership of Shinzo Abe, it can feel as if Japan is enjoying a revolution of sorts. Sweeping economic reforms are finally shaking up its long-stagnant economy, while more foreign workers are entering the country than ever before. Soaring tourist numbers and major sporting events, like this year’s Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Summer Olympics, are also keeping “Cool Japan,” well, cool.

Georgetown University Press

And all the while, Japan remains the world’s third-largest economy and one of its wealthiest countries; most people there want for nothing, and some of the major societal schisms fracturing Western societies seem to be absent in Japan.

But none of these advantages will help the country tackle its serious economic and demographic problems. That’s according to Brad Glosserman, a 27-year resident of Japan and author of a new book, Peak Japan: The End of Great Ambitions (Georgetown University Press, 2019). Glosserman, now deputy director of the Center for Rule-Making Strategies at Tama University in Tokyo, decided to write the book after the earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan in 2011. He wondered whether those calamities would be enough to shake Japan out of its comfortable, familiar stupor. His conclusion? Not so much.

Glosserman spoke with Quartz ahead of his book’s publication next month. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Q: Your book says that we’re now at Peak Japan, which is peculiar as many people may associate that with the years of its economic boom in the 1980s. Could you explain that? 

A: In some ways you could say the peak years were in the 90s, but for a more complete picture, the Japanese are a more well-rounded, globally present country now. They’ve recovered in some ways and risen again, having restored political stability after a period of time when they didn’t have that. The economy, too, in some respects has recovered. You have to credit Abe in changing the trajectory of the country and giving it new impetus, and assuming a new leadership role on the international stage, including resurrecting the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership). He didn’t solve Japan’s problems, but he’s put the floor on some of these issues that other people couldn’t have done.

Q: Why isn’t Abe’s leadership enough to solve Japan’s problems? 

A: “We like what we have, we’re a small ‘c’ conservative country.”

The nature of the challenges facing Japan, and the need to reverse those trends that everybody acknowledges are bad, requires structural shifts. And the Japanese are not prepared to do that. “We like what we have, we’re a small ‘c’ conservative country, we are not prepared to adopt a system that somebody else thinks we need when we’re not sure of it ourselves,” they say. Japan is not like a society trapped in the amber—of course it’s changing and evolving, but these are evolutionary, not revolutionary changes. What the Japanese are is very Japanese. This is a country that believes in law, resilience, stoicism, sucking it up and getting through it. That, as one politician put it to me, is an absolute brake on change in this country.

The fact is that Abe isn’t representative of Japan. I do not see the forces for sustained change in Japan.

Anecdotally in general in my circle, this is true. Few have strong opinions one way or another about Abe, but none think he is representative.

Q: What about Abe’s stated commitment to issues such as female labor participation? That’s enjoyed some success in lifting the number of working women in Japan. 

A: For those on the right who seek reforms to realize their dream of a more powerful and influential Japan, they must balance their impact on social norms and idealized social structures. With women, the tension here is between what the government knows it has to do to unleash their economic potential in society, but there’s also the notion of a woman’s place in the household—I think Abe really does believe in that. There’s been all sorts of policy nudges that the government could have done, but they haven’t, like making childcare widely available. That tension has resulted in begrudging changes that are too late.

“They don’t like working women… I don’t like my choices. I haven’t gotten married because I feel that I would have to give up my career.”

Japanese women in response don’t have fervent protests like the suffragettes, but they do choose to act within their rights, like choosing not to get married or have children, and taking jobs that allows them to afford the lifestyle that they choose. One woman, an associate professor at a university, told me: “The LDP (Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party) really likes the traditional family system. They don’t like working women… I don’t like my choices. I haven’t gotten married because I feel that I would have to give up my career.” Now not only is Japan’s population shrinking, but preferences may have permanently shifted, making it impossible for fertility rates to reach or surpass replacement no matter what incentives are offered.

My view on this is biased by working for an American company where there are a lot of women throughout all levels of the organization – and of course by having a penis. However, looking at the crowds of “freshman” employees flocking around Tokyo I don’t see a government discouraging working women. The bigger issues are around child care, housing, and marriage in general.

Q: So where does that leave Japan in terms of tackling its demographic crisis? 

A: To me, it’s extraordinarily revealing that the Japanese government has made a conscious decision to give up one-fifth of its population, and say, “We’re going to hold the line at 100 million people.”

[I]t’s extraordinarily revealing that the Japanese government has made a conscious decision to give up one-fifth of its population.

Even in terms of immigration, you have to look at what types of jobs the government is looking to fill. What they really want is people like me—advanced, educated folks who will contribute high value-add to society. Then there’s the second group of people—younger, low-skilled workers doing jobs that most of Japanese don’t want to do. But they don’t want these people to come and stay. They want them to contribute and then go home. The discussion over allowing “integrated resorts” (casino) (paywall) is similar. It’s classic Japanese, and based on the Singapore model. They want foreigners to come in to this small area and spend all their money, but charge locals a lot of money to get in. That way, you don’t worry about contamination and having to integrate them into the larger society.

This is a succinct summary of what I’ve been saying.

Q: What about at the corporate level?

A: This isn’t a country that forgives mistakes terribly well. So what does that encourage you to do? Put your head down. That discourages entrepreneurialism. So does the shrinking population. Steady jobs at many companies are basically readily available for you, so you just don’t screw up and keep your head down and go along with it. There isn’t the same hunger and chip on your shoulder that people have in South Korea to prove themselves, and you don’t have the fearsome competitiveness of China.


Don’t get me wrong, the Japanese are incredibly smart and can be very innovative, but they’re very good at process innovation. When they can see something in front of them and they’ve got a goal to work towards. But they historically have had a problem with coming up with the idea of what to do next themselves. Now, they’re looking back to “Cool Japan” and traditional Japanese values and marketing that aesthetic, for example.

Q: As Japan approaches a new era with the abdication of emperor Akihito, how do you think people will look back on his reign? 

A: People will look back at the emperor and think that he was an extraordinary man in so many ways. He was a voice of reason, a voice of calm and serenity. He encapsulated the very best of Japan. There’s even speculation that he actually decided to abdicate as one way of stopping the prime minister from getting his constitutional revision to Article 9.

I hope the Emperor instilled many of his core values in the Crown Prince. If so, the future is bright. They make for a stark contrast with the ruling family in the US.

Q: Going back to the starting point for your book—the tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011—where do things stand with that area today? 

A: [I]n Japan, people are supposed to suffer in silence.

It’s lagging. Nobody is happy with what’s going on, and there were extraordinary tensions in how Japan was dealing with Fukushima. In some ways, people say that the disaster broke Japan apart. The idea that all Japanese were connected to each other—a powerful trope in modern Japan—was revealed as fiction. Young people felt little connection to the people in Tohoku (northeast), even as politicians kept talking about the idea of kizuna (bonds). Meanwhile, people in Tohoku feel as if they’ve been forgotten. Many are still living in temporary homes, there are still no-go zones, and the reactors are still radioactive. They’ll never go back to their old lives. But in Japan, people are supposed to suffer in silence.

The flip side of this is that they are not anchored in disaster, what I call misery porn. Misery porn describes people not directly impacted by a tragic event yet make it the cornerstone of their life.

Q: Why is it important for people to pay attention to Japan’s decline?

A: Anyone with an interest in Asian regional dynamics should be concerned about a gap between expectations of Japan and what the country can and will deliver. Unfulfilled expectations could lead to a rupture in a crisis. My concern is that we, meaning Americans who have a deep commitment to an important partnership, don’t have our expectations out of line.

(Via Quartz)

I know what book I’ll go hunting for before my abdication lengthened Golden Week holiday.

天ぷら酒場 上ル商店 門前仲町本店

The Suica English App by Joel Breckinridge Bassett:

  • SuicaEng App
  • Add Suica
  • Add a balance
  • Use
    Finally! After 2 years of waiting for a full blown English version of the Suica App with all the bells and whistles, JR East has done the smart thing and released the SuicaEng app instead. This simple streamlined English app does one thing: add a virtual Suica card to Apple Pay without a Mobile Suica account or any of the hassle of dealing with the Japanese only Suica App options. It does nothing else but should take care of most immediate inbound needs. The same virtual Suica restrictions of Suica App apply:
  • Only one Suica can be added, if you already have a Suica in Wallet you cannot add another one with SuicaEng, a second virtual Suica requires the full Suica App and free registration of a Mobile Suica account.
  • Once added, Suica is managed in Wallet or Watch app.
    The best thing would be adding virtual Suica directly in Wallet without the need for an app, perhaps Apple and JR East will deliver that eventually. Meanwhile anything more complicated than adding virtual Suica: purchasing e-tickets, commuter pass, Green Seat reservations etc., still requires the Japanese only Suica App.


I still need the Japanese one, but this is huge for me!

Download Vincent van Gogh’s Collection of 500 Japanese Prints, Which Inspired Him to Create “the Art of the Future” by Colin Marshall:

Vincent van Gogh never went to Japan, but he did spend quite a bit of time in Arles, which he considered the Japan of France. What made him think of the place that way had to do entirely with aesthetics. The Netherlands-born painter had moved to Paris in 1886, but two years later he set off for the south of France in hopes of finding real-life equivalents of the “clearness of the atmosphere and the gay colour effects” of Japanese prints. These days, we’ve all seen at least a few examples of that kind of art and can imagine more or less exactly what he was talking about. But how did the man who painted Sunflowers and The Starry Night come to draw such inspiration from what must have felt like such exotic art of such distant a provenance?

“There was huge admiration for all things Japanese in the second half of the nineteenth century,” says the Van Gogh Museum’s visual essay on the painter’s relationship with Japan. “Very few artists in the Netherlands studied Japanese art. In Paris, by contrast, it was all the rage. So it was there that Vincent discovered the impact Oriental art was having on the West, when he decided to modernise his own art.”
Having got a deal on about 660 Japanese woodcuts in the winter of 1886-87, apparently with an intent to trade them, he ultimately held on to them, copied them, and even used their elements as backgrounds for his own portraits.

“My studio’s quite tolerable,” he wrote to his brother Theo, “mainly because I’ve pinned a set of Japanese prints on the walls that I find very diverting. You know, those little female figures in gardens or on the shore, horsemen, flowers, gnarled thorn branches.” More than a diversion, he saw in their radical difference from the rigorously realistic, convention-bound traditional European painting a way toward “the art of the future,” which he was convinced “had to be colourful and joyous, just like Japanese printmaking.” As he developed what he called a “Japanese eye” while living in Arles, “his compositions became flatter, more intense in colour, with clear lines and decorative patterns.”

The Van Gogh Museum has digitized and made available to download Van Gogh’s Japanese art collection, or at least most of them: you can read about the hundred or so “missing” works here, and you can view the 500 the museum has retained here. Every time you reload the front page, the selection it presents reshuffles; otherwise, you can browse the collection by subject, person and institution, technique, object type, and style. Some of the best-represented categories include landscape, actor print, spring, and female beauty. Whether the Japan-inspired Van Gogh (or colleagues who shared his interest, chiefly Paul Gauguin) succeeded in creating the art of the future is up to art historians to debate, but no one who sees his collection of Japanese art will ever be able to unsee its influence on his own work. Not that Van Gogh didn’t admit it himself: “All my work,” he wrote in a later letter to Theo, “is based to some extent on Japanese art.”
Related Content:
Nearly 1,000 Paintings & Drawings by Vincent van Gogh Now Digitized and Put Online: View/Download the Collection
The Van Gogh of Microsoft Excel: How a Japanese Retiree Makes Intricate Landscape Paintings with Spreadsheet Software
Enter a Digital Archive of 213,000+ Beautiful Japanese Woodblock Prints
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book _The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles _and the video series _The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook._

This is wonderful.

New Variant of Ursnif Targeting Japan by Kevin Townsend:

A new variant of the Ursnif trojan has been discovered targeting Japan since the beginning of 2019. Japan is a common target for Ursnif, but the latest version, delivered by Bebloh, goes to increased lengths to ensure that the victim is indeed Japanese.
New variants of Ursnif are not uncommon since the source code was leaked in 2015, but this version also includes enhanced data theft modules for stealing data from mail clients and email credentials stored in browsers. Other new developments, according to Cybereason research, include a new stealthy persistence module, a cryptocurrency and disk encryption module, and an anti-PhishWall (a Japanese security product) module.

This version of Ursnif also adds some anti-security product capabilities aimed at defeating PhishWall and Rapport. PhishWall is a popular Japanese anti-phishing and anti-banking trojan application, and anti-PhishWall modules have been used by other trojans in the past (such as Shifu and Bebloh).
The anti-Rapport module is designed to defeat IBM Trusteer’s Rapport product. This is not new, but not often seen in malware targeting Japan. The code seems to be based on — if not copy/pasted from — Carberp’s anti-Rapport code (which is freely available on GitHub). Cybereason notes that it has tested neither the PhishWall nor the Rapport module, so cannot attest to their efficiency.
Cybereason is unsurprised by the new concentration on data stealing highlighted by the new version of Ursnif. “With more and more banking customers shifting to mobile banking and the continuous hardening of financial systems,” writes the researcher, “it is not surprising that trojans are beginning to focus more than ever before on harvesting non-financial data that can also be monetized and exploited by the threat actors.”
But what stands out from this campaign, he adds, “is the great effort made by threat actors to target Japanese users. They use multiple checks to verify that the targeted users are Japanese, as opposed to other more prolific trojans and information stealers that cast a wider net when it comes to their victims.”

Pay attention, fellow Tokyo residents & transients!
Last train on Yamanote line in Tokyo to leave 27 minutes earlier by Deadforgood:

In Tokyo, the party can keep going all night, with bars, pubs, and clubs that stay open until the morning light. However, if you’ve got something else you’d like to do before sunrise, like, say, go home and get some sleep, you’ll want to keep the time of your last train in mind while you’re out partying.
Sure, you could always grab a taxi, but cabs are already expensive in Japan, and they increase their rates for late-night rides (a 20-some-odd-minute taxi ride in nocturnal Tokyo can easily run you 5,000 yen, so the train really is your, and your wallet’s, friend. Unfortunately, the most important train line in Tokyo is about to move the time of its last train up by roughly 30 minutes.
The JR Yamanote Line runs in a loop around downtown Tokyo, passing through nightlife hotspots like Shibuya and Shinjuku, plus Harajuku and Ikebukuro. But for passengers wanting to make their way from those stations to Shinagawa, one of Tokyo’s most convenient transfer hubs, at the southeast tip of downtown, the timetable for the last train is going to be changing due to large-scale construction taking place near Shinagawa, which is precluding the use of storage depot tracks for cars going out of service for the night.
For example, previously the last train from Shibuya to Shinagawa left Shibuya Station at 1:07 a.m., but under the new timetable, you’ll need to be on the 0:40 a.m. train, 27 minutes earlier, if you want to make it to Shinagawa. Other changes include:
● Last train from Ikebukuro to Shinagawa: 0:51 a.m.->0:24 a.m.
● Last train from Shinjuku to Shinagawa: 1 a.m.->0:33 a.m.
● Last train from Yoyogi to Shinagawa: 1:02 a.m.->0:34 a.m.
● Last train from Osaki to Shinagawa: 1:16 a.m.->0:49 a.m.
It’s worth noting that the previous last trains to Shinagawa aren’t being discontinued entirely (except for the 1:16 train from Osaki). However, under the new schedule, they’ll only go as far as Osaki Station, one station west of Shinagawa and a 22-minute walk away, which is probably too far to make it on foot if you need to catch another train from Shinagawa to get back to your home or hotel.
The new schedule goes into effect the night of March 16.
Source: Livedoor News/MAG2 News via Hachima Kiko
(C) SoraNews24
I hate missing the last train as described above. I just hope the map and transit apps get updated. I really should have the times handy as well.

Kyocera Card-Keitai E-ink Phone Runs Android (video):

Aside from a single model made by Onyx, E-ink phones are basically dead as a door nail. Ar at least they were until Kyocera released the Card-Keitai phone in Japan last year.

This phone sports a 2.8″ E-ink screen with frontlight and touchscreen. It weighs 47 grams, and has both Wifi and 4G LTE. Retail is around 330 euros, and it is reportedly only available through NTT.

The Card-Keitai is apparently running a very limited version of Android. It only has a few apps, and is mostly intended to act as a companion to your smartphone. That would really make it something closer to the Txtr Beagle or the Oaxis Inkcase, only a lot more expensive and with a little more functionality.

Neither the Inkcase nor the Beagle had much success before they were discontinued, and it is very likely that the Card-Keitai will follow the same path.

(Via The Digital Reader)

Who do I know with an NTT account that can hook me up? Or maybe I just watch for them to be released on eBay?

Kirie Octopus Cut From a Single Piece of Paper by Masayo Fukuda:

all photos courtesy Masayo Fukuda

Kirie (切り絵, literally ‘cut picture’) is the Japanese art of paper-cutting. Variations of kirie can be found in cultures around the world but the Japanese version is said to be derived from religious ceremonies and can be traced back to around the AD 700s. In its most conventional form, negative space is cut from a single sheet of white paper and then contrasted against a black background to reveal a rendering. Veteran kirie artist Masayo Fukuda has been practicing the art from for 25 years and recently revealed what she says is her greatest masterpiece of 2018.

Although the intricate piece looks like several layers overlapped, Fukuda stayed true to the conventional form, using only a single sheet of paper to render her detailed depiction of an octopus. The level of detail at times even looks like a fine ballpoint pen drawing. But a closer look confirms indeed that each and every detail is carefully made from cut-out negative space in the white paper.

If you’re interested in Fukuda’s work, she’ll be showcasing her kirie in a joint exhibition planned for next year. She’ll be showing her work along with fellow kirie artist Jun at Miraie Gallery in Osaka from April 24 – April 30, 2019.

Fukuda also shared this image as a teaser to her upcoming show, which would suggest that we can expect more stunning cut-outs of underwater life

(Via Spoon & Tamago)

I like the summary at Open Culture:

At first glance, the octopus in the video above might appear to be breathing. A second look reveals that it isn’t actually breathing, nor is it actually an octopus at all, but seemingly just a highly detailed drawing of one. Only upon the third look, if even then, does it become clear that the octopus has been not drawn but intricately cut, and out of a single large sheet of paper at that. The two-dimensional sea creature represents a recent high point in the work of Japanese artist Masayo Fukuda, who has practiced this curious craft, known as kirie, for more than a quarter of a century now.

Very cool.

All You Need to Know before Coming to Work in Japan- Taxes, Salary, Pension, Insurances and Work:

You either have a passion for the Japanese culture or just want to eat sushi every day, you’ve probably decided already:
“I want to live in Japan!”
Am I right?
However, there is some important information you need to find out before deciding to come here!
What I will cover in this article will be related to money. More precisely, the amount of salary paid by companies, taxes and reasons.

From a monthly salary of 200,000 yen you get deducted 20 %?!

Have you heard someone saying that “When you are looking for work (be it contract, temporary, part time or full time) in Japan, you are drawn 20% of your salary?” and thought to yourself “Maybe a tax? But Why so much? Is it mandatory?”

In this article, I will explain thoroughly what and why 20% is deducted and many other important things you should know if you are planning to work here!

Income tax

In fact, the income tax in Japan depends on the annual income.

You can see more details on the NTA Website. *Japanese Only

If the salary is less than 1,300,000 yen per year and the monthly income is less than 88,000 yen, income tax is not applied.
Then, in the case of more than 1,300,000 yen, how much will be the tax?

Here`s an example to help you understand it better:

First of all, let’s take a person whose monthly salary is 200,000 yen a month as an example.
For a salary of 200,000 yen a month, the annual income will be 2,4 million yen. In this case, the income tax will be around 56,000 yen per year and if you convert it, the tax deducted every month will be 4,700 yen.

Besides taxes is anything else being deducted?

Yes, below there are more details about everything being withdrawn from your salary:

The largest amount withdrawn is the for the company`s insurance.

The company`s insurance is a social insurance system that includes health insurance, welfare pension insurance, employment insurance, workers compensation insurance etc.

I will briefly explain the types of insurance included in the social insurance system:

1. Health insurance

Health insurance is a type of coverage that pays for medical/surgical expenses( injury, illness, childbirth, death) incurred by the insured/a person who works for a company. Even if you are not a Japanese citizen, cases when you get sick or suffer an injury may happen, so the state / municipality will bear a part of the expenses(such as treatment expenses).

In addition, there are situations when you may surpass a certain amount for high-cost medical expenses, but you can receive a refund after. For more details, please refer to the Kenporeon Website. *Japanese Only

When paying for health insurance, you automatically receive an insurance card that you`ll need to show whenever you go for a health check/hospital.

2. Pension Insurance

The employees’ pension insurance is a public pension system for the employees. It is a system for people with ages between 20 and 59 years old that provide benefits when retiring; the accumulated amount will be received according to the Old-Age Benefits. There are also unfortunate cases that lead to death (because of illness, disability or injuries) when the family gets the pension of the deceased one.

There are disadvantages such as paying insurance for over 10 years in order to receive an employee’s pension and also the current system says you can only get it when you turn 65 years old. So, there are many things to take in consideration when it comes to your future.
For those that are freelancers, temporary workers, unemployed people, etc. they will need to join the “National Pension”system and pay themselves.

In the present Japan, according to a set of factors(mainly working conditions), joining the system becomes mandatory and I will explain it in detail below:

If (A) and (B) below are Regular three-quarter or full time employees, they are insured persons.

(A) Working hours
-If the working time per week is at least one of a Regular three-quarter employee

(B) Number of working days
-If the working time per month is at least one of a Regular three-quarter employee

So, the number of working hours should be over 30 hours and the number of working days per month, more than 15 days.
The reason is that the company calculates the employee`s working time reported to 5 days a week /8 hours per day, 40 hours × 3/4 = 30 hours or more, deducting the national holidays/weekends, the monthly working days will be calculated as 20 days × 3/4 = 15 days or more.

Based on the income amount of the previous example here is how I calculated it:

-The health insurance: in standard remuneration monthly amount × 4.95% (Tokyo metropolitan government`s case), the rate varies in the whole country.
-Employees’ Pension: Standard remuneration monthly fee × 9.15% (Individual share)
-The social insurance from a monthly salary of 200,000 yen(9,900 per day), the contribution amount of the welfare pension will be about 18,300 yen monthly.

Now, what happens if:

“I paid the national pension in Japan, but can it be refunded if I go back to my country?”

A partial refund is possible but it depends on the period of payment(details are described on the home page of the Japan Pension Organization`s Website)

3. Employment Insurance

Employment insurance (insurance) is a system of insurance concerning unemployment / employment continuation etc. based on employment insurance law in Japan. The insurer is the Japanese government.
A typical benefit is “job seeker benefit” (so-called unemployment insurance) that can receive for a certain period of time when unemployed.
The insurance that the employer must notify the participation to workers who work 20 hours a week.

The amount paid is the amount of 5/1000 minutes of face value of salaried money, and if you earn 200,000 yen per month it is about 1000 yen amount.
Likewise, if you work within 20 hours a week, you do not need to pay employment insurance, but if you work for more than 20 hours, you need to pay, and it will be a non-refundable insurance.

4. Resident’s tax

Another tax you`ll have to pay is the inhabitant tax(a tax on income).
Same as income tax, there is a tax rate to decide an inhabitant`s tax amount. However, the resident will get it deducted from the previous year`s income and won`t get it withdrawn from his/hers first salary.
Residents` taxes vary depending on the prefecture/city you live in; for example,Tokyo’s residence tax is about 9,958 yen.


To summarize the above explanation, it is a fact that you can not receive the full salary because a small amount from it will be deducted monthly according to the working hours for that month in order to pay the taxes mandatory for the country.
Of course, there are cases when some people have a really low income, therefore the tax they will be paying will also be lower and entering the company`s insurance won`t be mandatory for such situations. However, if the monthly salary is 200,000 yen, the insurance company, employment insurance, resident taxes` all together deducted will result into an amount of 43,858 yen, almost 20% of the salary you are supposed to be getting.

Also, as explained earlier, for your first working year in Japan, you won`t be needing to pay the residence tax. So, with 200,000 yen per month, the amount withdrawn, such as company insurance, employment insurance, income tax, etc., will be about 33,900 yen. (That means a few differences in trial calculations).

People who work in Japan and those who plan on coming here in the future have to comprehend the circumstances of all these Japanese tax and insurances introduced above, know what what they are paying and have an idea of what to expect or what to ask for when working for a company in Japan. That way, living here will become much easier when you know get a hold of the situation.

Also, in case of troubles with your employer, such as unpaid salary, contracts not being respected etc., you can consult with “Tokyo Labor Counseling Information Center”`s labor standards supervision department.

“Tokyo Labor Counseling Information Center Website”

We will continue following this topic on our Website, so if there is anything in particular you`d like to know, please leave a comment or contact us on email.

(Via Japan Info)

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the above, so don’t take it as actual tax advice. However, in my experience it seems a decent summary of the things one should think about before pulling up stakes. I would have liked this kind of summary before I moved. Please note that I fixed some formatting and English above, but your mileage may still vary.