This article on becoming an intern in Japan is one of our series of guideline articles on how to get a job in Japan as a foreigner. If you’re looking to get some experience in the world of work, why not try doing an internship this Spring?
In Japan, internship programs are called インターンシップ (intaanshippu) or インターン (intaan) for short.
Finding Work as an Intern in Japan
You can get an internship in pretty much any field because there are so many companies in Japan.
Numerous big corporations are searching for 3rd or 4th-year students and Master and PhD students to do advanced summer internships or part-time internships during the regular school year. Big corporations seek internships in financial management, law, mentoring, marketing, logistics, and several business areas. The biggest drawback is that they’re quite selective and like to get interns from the best universities.
Startups and smaller companies
It is easy to find internships at startups and in smaller companies. They are looking for interns in marketing, design, and coding. This appears to apply to languages other than English and Japanese, as well. Due to the recent tourism boom and expanding number of foreign residents (now stuck as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic), small companies are looking for interns to help them reach these foreigners.
Full-time internships in Japan
These internships are usually conducted through an agency and require traveling to Japan for one to three months on a tourist visa and interning at the office during the week, and spending weekends exploring Japan.
These interns usually pay a fixed fee to the agency. Then the agency organizes the internship with a company, finds housing for the applicants, arranges health insurance and a SIM card, shows them around Tokyo by arranging tours to places like Mt. Fuji and cultural activities and experiences like making sushi. The agency also provides assistance and answers questions while the applicant is in Japan.
Break intern (Summer, Spring)
A semester break internship is very much a full-time internship, but the key difference is that most of them are international students in Japan. These kinds of intern offers usually occur in the summer but may also occur during the March to April break. Big international companies offer most of these internships. They also have strict requirements and usually are available only for students studying a subject that suits the company.
Part-time Internship in Japan
The majority of part-time internships are for international students who study abroad for a year at a Japanese university or study in Japan for a 4-year program. However, several internships are available for English teachers and working holiday visa holders at startups and smaller companies. The majority of part-time internships are for international students who study abroad for a year at a Japanese university or study in Japan for a 4-year program. However, several internships are available for English teachers and working holiday visa holders at startups and smaller companies.
Part-time internships can start at any time of year and require less time commitment per week than other internships in Japan. The company that offers you the intern program will require you to be there for around three months to one year.
Usually, the company’s time commitment is not worth it if an intern wants to volunteer or work for only three months or less unless they want to come in full time after the program. And just like full-time internships, you have both paid and unpaid internships.
Who Should NOT Become an Intern in Japan?
Practical Trade Students
Students studying something practical at university often work on something directly related to their field after graduating and are usually required to complete additional certifications outside their bachelor’s degree. They do not need to consider taking an internship outside of their studies because they are already prepared by their university programs.
Academic Research Students
Students who plan to pursue further education related to academic research or scientific studies will not usually intern at a company to gain work experience.
Through their current university studies, research students will acquire the skills needed for their potential academic employment. So they don’t have to enter a corporation as an internship to learn how to do academic research, get a research grant, and write for an academic journal.
Job Boards for Interns
- Internship positions in Japan on American Chamber of Commerce Site
- Lightened Works (English)
- Iagora (English, French, etc.)
- Intern Baito (Japanese)
- 01 Intern (Japanese)
- Pasona Internships (Japanese)
- Craigslist Tokyo
Start Interning in Japan
Many foreigners make the wrong decision when selecting an internship program in Japan because of a lack of information or research methods. A lot of internship applicants end up not having as much experience as they should have.
The Guidable team hopes that you found this article helpful! After all, all of our activities aim towards making a better life for foreigners in Japan! So, stay tuned and follow us!
For More Related Articles:
- Time for a Career Change? Jobs in Japan for English Speakers
- Working as an IT Engineer in Japan: 5 Things You Must Know
- Moving to Japan Post-Pandemic: What to Do Now to Prepare for Your Move
- Behind The Culture Of Social Gatherings In Japan: The Meaning Of “Kai”
- How to Find Work in Japan in a Highly Skilled Position
This article was originally posted on Sep 16th, 2020, and has since been edited and reposted on Jan 27th, 2022.