Balancing the traditional with the contemporary, Japan is an architectural paradise filled with quirky fashion outlets, mouthwatering eateries and historic pagodas – a fitting destination for adventurous international graduates.
According to a recent CNN Travel guide, there’s no shortage of engaging activities and cultural happenings in Japan.
“Whether you’re hunting down top eats in Tokyo and Osaka or basking in the country’s stunning landscapes, it’s impossible to take it all in in one visit. But you’ll certainly have a good time trying,” notes CNN Travel.
But is that the reason why so many international graduates are searching for jobs in Japan?
According to the Immigration Services Agency of Japan, cited by The Japan Times, 25,942 students switched their status of residence last year to one that permits employment in Japan, up 3,523 from the year before.
“By country and region of origin, Chinese nationals topped the list of students switching to work visas, accounting for 42.0 percent, followed by Vietnamese at 20.2 percent and Nepalese at 11.3 percent. Asian nations accounted for 95.3 percent of the total.
“Previously, graduates of Japanese universities from overseas were not allowed to work in the services sector on the grounds that jobs in the industry were not relevant to their area of expertise,” The Japan Times disclosed.
Hitting an all-time high, the influx of international students securing work in Japan post-graduation has sparked the attention of international educators.
Overthrowing the threat of tokenism
A potential backlash to ‘tokenism’, where many international students in Japan felt as though they were becoming a token/symbolic gesture, simply there to support the university’s claim of internationalising, this new visa allowance may be a way of drawing international student support back to the nation’s universities.
Drawing on the recent study by researchers Thomas Brotherhood, Christopher D. Hammond and Yangson Kim, Towards an actor-centered typology of internationalization: a study of junior international faculty in Japanese universities, tokenism evolved into a serious concern for Japanese universities.
“I feel like I’m…not only me…we feel like we are not really respected. We’re just told, like the students!…I feel like I’m used for their purpose – used to heighten their rank,” one international student noted in the study.
By offering permanent working roles after graduation, Japanese universities have a new method to promote student inclusion and make students feel valued after their degree is done.
— The PIE News (@ThePIENews) November 7, 2019
A powerful culture magnet
From the perspective of University World News (UWN), it’s the appeal of Japan’s animation culture that captures international students’ hearts, eyes and working visa applications.
“Students from China, South Korea and Southeast Asia often cite a passion for Japanese manga (cartoons) and anime (animated films) as the main reason for seeking enrolment in universities and colleges in Japan,” the article adds.
Supporting this angle, Takahiro Nishi, a spokesperson for Musashino Art University, believes that the key thing driving Japan’s rising international student appeal is Japanese animation.
“Especially in motion technology expertise, given its focus on developing flexible movement production in comparison with the international norm where the technology follows uniform movement styles,” he confesses to UWN.
International graduates who are interested in building their career in a creative country, such as Japan, now have an opportunity to do so with the accessible employment permit.
With opposing explanations, it would be tricky to generalise every international graduate’s reasons to stay and work in Japan.
But by having an amazing animation culture and a surge in employment opportunities for international students, it’s easy to see the country’s academic appeal.