Find the right university in Japan that matches your choice from the search below or from our ADVANCED SEARCH >>.
Name of university
Getting a job in Japan is a major concern for foreign students, who want to stay here after graduating.
While the number of foreign students intending to stay and work in Japan after graduation increases, Japanese companies are starting to pay more attention to foreign students.
According to the Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice, the number of foreign students employed at Japanese companies in 2007, was 10,262, an increase of 24.1 percent over the previous year.
This column will introduce Japan's leading companies and companies that actively employ foreigners, and their thoughts about foreign student employment.
Vol 2: Urban Connections Interview by Keiko Iwata
Larry Greenberg, from the New York borough of Brooklyn, is founder and CEO of Urban Connections in Shibuya, Tokyo. After studying international relations at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, he moved to Japan in 1985 and established Urban Connections in 1990. The company provides information and communication services, including multilingual translations of Japanese contents such as movies and books, market research targeting the foreign community in Japan, etc.
Larry Greenberg, CEO of Urban Connections, talks with Keiko Iwata, president of Heart Connections, an NPO supporting Asian students in Japan.
Iwata: What prompted you to come to Japan?
Greenberg: I wanted to learn Japanese, it's as simple as that.
Everything was new then: I was a new graduate of a U.S. university and wanted to learn a new language in a new land. It was 1985, and considering the close economic relationship between the U.S. and Japan at that time, it was natural for me to choose Japanese. I guess a similar situation applies nowadays to Chinese and Korean people who tend to choose to study Japanese. I worked for one year as an English conversation teacher while I was studying Japanese and then I became a freelance translator. A few years later I started my own company.
Iwata: How did you find life in Japan?
Greenberg: The situation has changed since then, it has become much easier for foreigners to live here.
There is an image that living costs in Japan are very high, but in fact they aren't that bad. Even in Tokyo, you can buy anything at a reasonable price and the food is delicious, and the city is safe.
You can definitely find part-time work while you study here, although the work can be quite hard. If you study diligently at university, there are opportunities to get a job in Japan after graduation.
Iwata: Was it difficult to start your own business here?
Greenberg: One good thing about Japan is that your nationality is not a restriction when starting your own business.
This is really rare because many countries impose strict conditions, such as having a local partner who will invest more than 50 percent in the business.
Of course, all the necessary documents are in Japanese, but if that doesn't bother you, your nationality won't get in the way. It's often said that the Japanese market is closed, but in this regard I think it is really open.
Iwata: Why did you start releasing DVDs of old Japanese silent movies as one of your company's major businesses?
Greenberg: People all over the world are becoming increasingly interested in Japanese culture — Japanese food, fashion, movies, "manga," anything basically — and I wanted to introduce it to them. But unfortunately, or rather fortunately for my business, the Japanese are still not very good when it comes to foreign languages. That's where I saw an opportunity for this business.
Then, because I love movies, I made a connection with a company that has a collection of old Japanese silent films. There were many good silent movies in Japan, but not many were preserved as they were considered to be expendable items at the time when they were first shown.
Thanks to developments in digital technology in the last 10 years, we can make them available as DVDs and more easily introduce them to the world in different languages.
Iwata: What do you think of job opportunities for foreign students in Japan? Does Urban Connections actively employ international students who graduate from higher education here?
Greenberg: We have employed many foreigners and we offer internships as well. We have Korean, Taiwanese, English and American staff who studied in Japan. Urban Connections can give international students a way to get their careers started in Japan.
We welcome skilled people from all over the world, but we now especially intend to employ Chinese, including Taiwanese, and Korean people. I would like to hire several serious Chinese and Korean professionals in the near future.
I believe the Northeast Asia region - China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan - is developing into one big economic bloc, and more people will freely travel across borders and work anywhere within the region. I think people of this region, despite their complex historical relationship, have very similar characters and values — for example, diligence at work, a desire to improve their living standards, strong interest in other countries, etc.
Iwata: Do you have any advice for people coming to Japan?
Greenberg: First, I want to tell people who are thinking of studying in Japan that Japan needs you. Japan's economy is stagnating and the future is uncertain, so Japan needs energetic, powerful young ambitious people like you who can bring fresh ideas and stimulate the country.
Moreover, if something in your dealings with Japanese people makes you feel uncomfortable, it may just be a cultural difference. Of course, if you are treated unfairly, you have the right to be annoyed, but if it is a matter of culture, you should try to understand it and accept it.
For example, Japanese people tend to keep their distance, and avoid physical contact like shaking hands and hugging. They are not being unfriendly, it's just a cultural thing. My overseas clients often misunderstand this and tell me that they feel Japanese people are cold or don't like foreigners.
I see foreigners living here who only complain about Japan, but if you come to Japan, please remember that it was your decision to come here and to immerse yourself in Japanese society.