Japan may be an awesome country, but for some Japanese people who’ve experienced life abroad, it’s just not for them anymore. Here are five reasons why.

Here at RocketNews24, we’ve talked a lot about some of the things that Japan gets horribly wrong, but since we’re a bunch of gaijins, we can only speak from our experience of the country through the eyes of a foreigner. And besides, for the most part, we love Japan!

But what does it take to make your average Japanese person decide to take the drastic step of packing up and leaving the Land of the Rising Sun for good? Popular Japanese blogger Madame Riri has compiled a list of the top five reasons why Japanese people who’ve experienced life abroad decide to throw in the towel and call it quits on their own country. Let’s see what she’s come up with!

Reason 1: The discrimination can be too much to bear

Madame Riri’s contributors list several aspects of discrimination that they feel are more commonly encountered in Japan, namely childhood and workplace bullying and sex discrimination in the workplace.

“As a child in Japan, I was bullied based on my appearance, then I was bullied for the same reason when I entered the workforce. When I quit my job and went abroad, the discrimination based on my looks stopped, so I decided to study abroad there for a year. – Keiko”

“I experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in Japan, it feels like it’s an environment for men. – Ebi”

▼ The life of the Japanese office lady isn’t something that appeals to every woman.


Reason 2: Less sense of freedom to be yourself

Japanese society is strictly hierarchical and has a concrete set of rules—some which sometimes don’t seem to make a lot of logical sense and yet are set in stone anyway. For some Japanese people, life overseas can seem a lot less rigid.

“In Japan, it’s difficult for opposing points of view to be expressed. For example, in Japanese schools children are expected to eat all of their provided school lunch, but what if one student can’t eat pork for religious reasons? Other countries are much more flexible and accommodating. This is because certain other cultures have a more multicultural society which is more accepting of other people’s differences. – Ashtamatrikas”

“I’ve always been more of an individualist, so life abroad suits me better. Certain other countries have less sex discrimination and individuals have more responsibility for their own behaviour. It’s nice to be somewhere that takes life a little less seriously. – Fuyuko”

Reason 3: Concerns over children’s future

It seems that some Japanese parents are reluctant to put their children through the rigors of the Japanese school system which often involves a huge amount of cramming for standardised tests and conforming to a group mentality.

“I want my child to be able to live in any country which suits them. I’d like to raise them to think for themselves, which is why we’re living abroad as a family. – Ebi”

“We left Japan for our children’s future. They say the nail that stands up gets hammered down in Japan, but I want to encourage my children to stand up. It’s wrong to lump lazy people and motivated people together. – Chiiko Mama”

▼ Some Japanese parents prefer overseas education for their kids.

Flickr/Aka Hige

Reason 4: Sick of working in Japan

Many people who’ve moved from Japan to work overseas find themselves no longer willing or even able to return to the rigors and stresses of Japanese working life. Some find themselves at a loss when considering how to deal with Japanese honorific business language and the ins and outs of a Japanese company. It gets even harder for women, who are often expected to stop working in Japan after marriage.

“By the time I thought about going back, I was already past 30 and there aren’t too many women who are still working at that age in Japan. So if I went back, I wouldn’t be able to make a living. – Zsmpira”

“I’ve been in the US over 20 years at this point. In Japan, a woman with a university degree isn’t sought after as much as here. Here, I can make money to support myself with a good position. That’s why I took permanent residency. If I went back to Japan, I’d probably struggle financially. – Chatora”

Reason 5: Too used to living overseas

Reverse culture shock can be pretty tough, and for some people who’ve spent a lot of time overseas, concerns about being able to re-integrate into Japanese society can be enough to deter people from returning.

“It’s too much effort to go back and start over from scratch. Life is pretty comfortable here, and I’ve gotten used to the way things are done. I can’t see myself returning unless there’s some significant need for me to do so. – Kinugoshipeachy”

As expats ourselves, we can understand the troubles faced by some of the contributors to Madame Riri’s article. It’s always tough to make a big move, especially when you’ve gotten used to a different culture and begun to naturally drift away from your own. They say that the grass is always greener, which we’ve definitely found to be true. However, they also say that you can never go home again, which isn’t necessarily correct — some people just don’t want to.

Source: Madame Riri
Feature Image: Flickr/Kentaro Iemoto