Oshi kyuka will be good for employees and the customers they serve, boss says.

Over the last few years, the word “oshi” has caught on in Japan. Originally meaning “support,” it’s now used to describe a favorite fictional character or real-world performer, such as an anime character, or idol singer.

Something else that’s been catching on in Japan is a greater appreciation for the importance of work/private life balance, and so next month a company in Sapporo will begin offering its employees oshi kyuka, special paid vacation days that they can take for oshi-related activities such as attending concerts or fan events.

The system is being implemented at Arisu Hoikuen, a day care center in Sapporo’s Nishi Ward. Childcare is busy work, and Arisu is open from morning to night not just during the week, but on weekends and holidays too. Overwork, though, isn’t good for the workers or the kids they’re taking care of, says Masashi Endo, Arisu’s director. “The work our staff does takes a lot of energy, so I’ve been looking for ways to alleviate even a little of their physical and mental fatigue.”

In addition to their pre-existing vacation days, the staff at Arisu Hoikuen will be given 10 days they can take off from work for oshi-related activities. For example, one of the employees is an e-sports fan and plans to take a day off to watch a tournament his favorite pro gamer is scheduled to compete in.

Endo himself is a big fan of Japanese rock band Buck-Tick, and other workers who are also music fans will have the option of taking days off to attend live shows. Arisu appears to be taking a pretty loose, accommodating definition of “oshi,” too, beyond its customary reference to a person or persona. Another employee intends to take “Disneyland oshi” time off in order to visit the theme park and get some limited-edition Toy Story merch. Given that broad interpretation’s applicability, it would seem that “ramen oshi,” “TV oshi,” and even “bed oshi” would also be allowable for those who want a day off to go out to eat, chill out on their sofa, or just sleep in until a luxuriously late hour.

“I believe that our workers being happy leads to the children being happy,” Endo says. “I think our staff’s happiness will naturally show while they’re at work if they’re feeling fulfilled in their private lives, so I hope this new system will result in a happier environment for the kids too,” so if everything goes according to plan, the oshi vacation system sounds like a win-win.

Source: NHK News Web via Hachima Kiko
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