4 panel feature

“Salaryman” is the Japanese term that refers to an office worker in Japan. No matter the company, the term is all-encompassing because every salaryman’s situation is the same. While maybe not known to the rest of the world, they are characterized as employees who work overtime, are highly obedient and can often be found binge drinking with colleagues and clients, whether they genuinely want to be there or not.

Leave it to the Japanese netizens, though, to so succinctly air the problems of life as a salaryman in comic form, taking us into the realms of “it’s funny because, sadly, it’s true.”

Today’s piece is a classical “yonkoma” or “four panel comic”. This style of comic can be found in manga, newspapers, magazines or on Twitter, as this one was. Today’s main characters are a man who represents our average citizen and a bunny who represents companies in Japan. The man starts…

Man: “It’s really helpful that your services are considerably cheaper than market price, but won’t that cheap labor create a deficit?”

Bunny: “Don’t worry! It’s fine! Because I can keep labor costs low.”

4 panel 1

Man: “But if the labor wages are too low, won’t people quit?”

Bunny: “Nope! People can’t really look for other jobs because we make them work long hours. Also, because we make the wages as cheap as we can, if people quit, they can’t afford to live their lives! ”

4 panel 2

Man: “Then, won’t the employees be extremely displeased?”

Bunny: “It’s OK! We will bad-mouth the people who quit to the remaining employees. By doing this, the employees here will be too afraid to quit. But then, since they might become unhappy, we will let them go home early sometimes, or do something else nice to defuse the situation.

4 panel 3

Bunny: “I make my workers work late hours so they can’t communicate with their friends who might not work long hours, so they all think it’s normal and wouldn’t consider quitting. Also, the Labor Standards Laws are too weak to change the company’s behavior. This system is really amazing!”

4 panel 4

For many people, especially for men, the company they enter out of university is the company they will work for the rest of their career. There is no easy way to suddenly try something else. There’s little possibility to do something different for a few years and be able to come back to the company. This difficulty of a salaryman’s life is what this comic perfectly captures.

For those of you wishing to find work in Japan, does this cautionary tale change your opinion? Let us know!

Source: Kinisoku
Images: Twitter (wa_da_i)