Summary: I’ll explain the reason why overtime working is common in Japan.
Abnormal Sense of time
In Japan, people regard punctuality a common sense. Being late is one of the worst affairs in Japan. At school, company, even between friends, we mustn’t be late fundamentally in Japan without emergency situations.
However, almost all Japanese work overtime at company. Each company has a closing time, but many staffs ignore it and keep working. In addition, people work on holiday without overtime pay. Japanese are so severe against being late, but they tolerate overtime working.
They are usually punctual in the morning, but they are not usually punctual in the afternoon.
What is working for Japanese?
Each person has a sense of value to working. In European history, working was a kind of punishment. On the other hand, in the long Japanese history, working became a virtue. There are some reasons why Japanese began to consider working as a virtue.
Bushido, it means “the Way of Samurai” spread in Japan. As it were, Bushido is like a samurai soul. toleration is kind of a virtue. From Bushido, Japanese started to think that overtime working is a virtue.
After World War II, Japan was lack of everything since Japan lost. From 1950, economy gradually improved. There was a huge demand, so if people supply and sell something, everyone want them. From 1960, people could get much money. The harder Japanese work, the more money they got. Then, rich people appeared. In the Japanese stereotype, working frantically and getting much money became a virtue.
Japanese evaluate people who work overtime.
Those above, Japanese have an idea that work overtime is a virtue these days. When old people, who are bosses, manager, supervisors and so on in the company, see subordinates who work overtime, they thought these subordinates work hard. This is because old people got a position due to work overtime. They don’t know the word “efficiency”. It is out of place nowadays. Bosses evaluate subordinates who work overtime, so if subordinates want to promote, they must work overtime. Therefore, all Japanese work overtime.