English Writing Jobs in Japan for Foreigners
6月 10, 2019
In basics , job search, コメントはまだありません.
If you’re living in Japan and want a job that utilizes your English abilities there’s an alternative to teaching English – writing. Read on to find out how to work comfortably from your home.
Japan needs English writers
One of the most well-known ways jobs for English-speaking foreigners in Japan has been English teaching. Understandably so – jobs are abundant and usually don’t require any formal education in English or Japanese. As such, they’re an easy way to get into (and live in) Japan. However, they also have their downsides, and not everyone likes teaching. While there are many paths that you can take, in this article I want to focus on writing.
Simply put: Because the demand is there. Many Japanese companies still use their Japanese writers to produce content in English. This often leads to awkward, unnatural, and sometimes downright confusing English texts. In the past, quality content in English in addition to Japanese was thought of as something that was “nice to have”, but ultimately not all that necessary – island mentality at work. However, as Japan’s population is decreasing, more and more companies and communities are realizing that they need better communication in English to stay competitive internationally.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism in Japan is on the backburner for now – as everywhere else in the world. However, before the start of the pandemic, the industry was booming. The number of foreign visitors to Japan reached new record heights every year. Once Covid-19 eventually subsides and it becomes safe to travel internationally again, the demand that’s currently on the ground is likely to skyrocket. This will be another chance for English writers.
Types of Writing Jobs
Japanese companies (or foreign companies based in Japan) need English writers for a variety of tasks: Creation or translation of instruction manuals, website or game translation, SEO writing, article or blog entry writing, writing for social media and many others. All of these jobs have slightly different requirements. Below, we’ve broken them down into three main types.
1. Technical Writer
Technical writers break down complex information and explain it to the users in an easily digestible way. They provide instructions or reference material related to the use of technology, be it home appliances or content management systems.
The main goal is to make the users understand. Even if they know nothing about the technology beforehand, they should be able to use it flawlessly after reading the instructions. This leads to a need for clear, concise, and easy-to-understand texts. Another very important aspect is consistency in word use and terminology (whereas you can usually be a bit looser with your choice of words in other areas of writing.)
Typical examples for technical writing include user manuals, operating instructions, and reference guides. For advanced topics in fields like IT, engineering, and medicine, a certain amount of experience or prior knowledge may be required.
2. Content Writer
As a content writer, your job is to create “engaging content”. What exactly that means depends on the context.
Visitors arriving on a website have a reason for going there in the first place – they all share a broad, common interest. However, the specifics differ. A website’s content, together with its design, decides how effectively the user’s interest can be captured and held. Most of the time, the target group will already be decided on. The task of the content writer is to write an optimized text for that group.
For example, imagine a website about a new DSLR camera. In this case, articles introducing and detailing the camera’s capabilities, explanations on how to take certain kinds of shots, and interviews with users could all be “engaging content.” Rattling off technical details and providing in-detail explanations of the inner workings of the camera may be a good approach to market it to professionals, but a hobbyist would probably get lost and leave the site before long.
3. Japanese-English Translator
In an age where Google Translate is always just a few clicks away, everyone can get a simple machine translation, for free. However, human translators are far from becoming obsolete.
Professional translators not only make sure that all information from the original text is included. They also interpret and – if necessary – change the text’s structure and content to “make it work” and properly get the message across in their target language.
“Being a good translator” is often associated with “being really good in speaking the language you’re translating from.” Of course, if you’re translating from Japanese, you need to understand the texts you’re working with. But translation work also requires more than a solid grasp of your target language. It doesn’t matter how good you are at reading, speaking, or writing Japanese if you can’t turn it into natural-sounding English. This skill is often overlooked because many native speakers consider themselves to be “fully trained” in their language. But in practice, it’s often harder than you might think!
Freelance Writing Jobs in Japan
This section introduces some options for finding jobs on a case-by-case basis. Be aware that to be able to take freelance writing jobs, you need a Japanese bank account, and a visa that allows you to work.
If you’re a student or already have another job in Japan, you need to get a 資格外活動許可 しかくがいかつどうきょか from immigration first. In case you’re not a full-time freelancer (i.e. with a sole proprietorship) and already work for another company, you should check with your company if they allow side jobs ( 副業 ふくぎょう ) before starting to write. You can find out more about freelance work in Japan in our article over here .
1. Freelance Websites
The first option are crowd-sourcing websites that list freelance writing job offers. This is probably the place most people look when just starting out. Some of these sites are specialized in writing, but most of them are not. You’ll have to sift through the job offers yourself and find something that matches your skills and interests. Examples include Lancers , Crowdworks , and Upwork .
The job offers on Japanese portals are usually written in Japanese. Try keywords like 英文 ライター (English writer), 英文 ライティング (English writing), 英訳 (English translation) or ローカライズ (localization).
The benefit of websites like these is that there’s a wide variety of offers to choose from. On the other hand, the requirements vary, and the tasks are often time-intensive for relatively low pay. Continually having to search for the next job on these sites also takes up a lot of additional time.
2. English Language Publications
The next option is contacting media companies publishing content in English from inside Japan. Examples here are Tokyo Cheapo , Time Out Tokyo , SoraNews24 , or Metropolis Magazine .
Because they’re completely focused on Japan, chances that they’re willing to accept content from a wide variety of topics are relatively high. As long as the content you offer is compelling enough, there is the chance to get your texts published without any (or just a little) prior experience.
However, depending on the publication, the quality of the editing/support will vary. You should also brace for rejection – a lot of it. After all, to these publications, you’re a complete nobody. Things get easier once you have something to show. Maybe you have a personal blog that you’ve maintained for a long time, or some earlier writing work from freelance websites. Even one article is better than nothing, so try to build a small portfolio before establishing contact.
3. Publications Abroad
Listing examples here would be pointless since there are thousands upon thousands of English language publications outside of Japan. And: A lot of them at least aren’t opposed to well-written content about Japan. So even if they aren’t actively searching, you may land a gig upon contacting them anyway. Just like with English language publications in Japan, it’s best to have a portfolio ready upon establishing first contact.
Writing for overseas publications often comes with the benefit of higher pay. However, unless you’re writing for a publication with an explicit Japan focus, they will be publishing content on other topics as well or have a different overarching theme. Because of this, you may find yourself often being asked to write about the same or similar topics. Essentially, you will have to write for an audience who knows very little about Japan. Typical topics are famous tourist spots, Japanese food, traditions and sports, nightlife, transportation in Tokyo, etc.
4. Specialized Writer Platforms
In addition to the options above, here are specialized platforms connecting Japanese companies and foreign writers. One example of such a service for writing jobs in Japan is Writer Station .
Platforms like Writer Station are similar to the Freelance websites in that they give their users access to writing job offers covering a wide variety of topics. The main difference is in how the writers interact with the offers. On Freelance websites, users have to search for and apply to every job separately. On the other hand, when contacting publishers directly, writers usually have to pitch ideas or supply sample content “on spec” for each application.
Now, being proactive is never a bad thing, especially when it comes to freelance work. But ideally, when you’re a writer, you want to spend more time writing (i.e. working) than time searching and applying.
This is where the writing platforms come in: They rely on a stock of registered writers and distribute the available tasks between them. As long as you’re a registered member, you’ll be able to get a relatively constant stream of possible assignments without having to constantly search for new work. In exchange for this, pay is usually lower than what you get for jobs that require more initiative. But as a freelancer, you can always combine both options to increase the overall stability of your income. Platforms are also a good place to get your first bit of experience.
In the end, one of the biggest draws of writing is that it’s a job you can do from the comfort of your home. This also makes it very easy to do on the side, even it’s just for one weekend or two. So definitely give it a try – it might be your thing!
Register on Writer Station
Others also read
My love for ninjas and interest in Chinese characters (kanji) were what first made me come to Japan, as a high school student. Over ten years and many visits later, I’ve found a job here and have chosen it as my new home.
Yaaay: A new platform for finding your IT job in Japan
01 12月 2022 - Job Search
7 Tech Startups in Tokyo With English-Speaking Positions
20 5月 2021 - Job Search
How to apply for a job in Japanese – Guide with Example
22 3月 2021 - Application Documents , Basics , Job Search
Writing Jobs in Japan
Fully paid writing and business development roles in a cool environment..
Accelerate Your Career @ Japan's No. 1 business resource guide.
Are you web 2.0 tech savvy and interested in writing about business in Japan? SME Japan is Japan’s largest and most-popular portal for small to medium businesses. We pride ourselves on using leading technology and continuing to innovate but keeping it fun at the same time.
We’re proud to be an awarded start-up with an incredibly strong work culture and a team focussed approach with an “open-mindedness” to new ideas.
If you are a fun-loving person motivated to take on meaningful work, we want to connect with you. We’re looking for ambitious young people who want to help us evolve our culture while putting SME Japan on the map in the world of entrepreneurs successfully starting and operating a business in Japan.
Our key challenges include: scaling our fast growth, organising content, innovation research for our business focused articles, growing our massive web platform, figuring out ways to engage our social media fans and building our sales presence. In short our challenges are exciting and fun.
We will empower you. As a young millennial, you will be granted autonomy, challenging work, and exciting projects in an atmosphere specifically designed to encourage you, train you, and unleash your full potential. Join us today.
Current Open Job Opportunities
Unlimited virtual positions available.
Anyone can sign-up to become a SME Japan writer, and we are always looking for more writers. We pay per article, and you get massive exposure to millions of viewers while building a portfolio you can showcase to friends, coworkers and future employers. If you want to be a part of this team, simply go to our contact page and let us know how you can contribute. We’ll give you lots of feedback and start editing your articles as soon as they added to our site.
Requirements – Passion for researching, communicating and writing – Impeccable English grammar
Junior Role in Writing, Editing & Social Media
1 x full-time position available.
You are an ambitious, enthusiastic and outgoing self-starter looking to learn more about journalism and writing. You love researching different writing styles to encourage engagement and interaction with the site. Your grammar is amazing and you are web 2.0 savvy (i.e. you understand social media, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the blogosphere). You would love to get into the social media world and see SMEJapan as a big opportunity to kick start your writing / social media career.
Responsibilities – Building a portfolio of articles, with lots of coaching along the way. – Learning research specific topics and reports for clients. – Online PR / marketing projects.
Research & Client Liaison
Junior full time role – english speaking.
If you love interacting with clients, communicating and business research, you could be a good fit for our client advisor position.
Responsibilities/Requirements – Getting client feedback and referrals. – Increasing interaction with clients and seeking AMA articles. – Organising, scheduling and growing article content on Japanese business. – Attention to detail, passion for communicating and success. – Impeccable English grammar.
Talk to us…we are hiring!
If you are an ambitious, enthusiastic and outgoing self-starter looking to learn more about writing or business development.
If you crave the cutting edge and love the latest in business and helping entrepreneurs succeed.
If you are ambitious and web 2.0 savvy (ie. you understand social media, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the blogosphere.)
Then apply to join our team! Contact us here
© 2017~2023 SME Japan - getting business done in Japan.
Username or Email Address
Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.
Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.
To use social login you have to agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.
Add to Collection
Public collection title
Private collection title
Here you'll find all collections you've created before.
Nov 6, 2019
Writing work in Japan: Writing jobs and styles encountered
Let’s cut to the chase -- it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to make a living solely out of working as a writer in Japan. But don’t let that dishearten. The brutal truth is that it’s hard to make a decent living as a writer anywhere in the world. Even the marquee names have side gigs as public speakers, visiting lecturers, and every-now-and-then teachers. This shouldn’t stop you from looking for writing work in Japan.
You’ll increase your chances of making a fist of it working a writer in Japan though if you can turn your hand to a variety of writing styles, most of which will likely be targeting Japan’s inbound tourism market or maybe other foreigners like yourself living and working in Japan.
Japan’s inbound tourism market, right now, offers rich(ish) pickings for the current or would-be writer looking for writing jobs in Japan as state and regional-level authorities, companies and organizations clamor for the attention of the tourist, bolstered by Japanese government targets to attract 40 million foreign visitors each year to Japan by 2020, when the Olympic circus rolls into town.
Quite what potential the inbound tourism market will hold once Tokyo 2020 has wrapped probably remains a shadowy concern for many but maybe there will be momentum enough to carry things on to Expo 2025 which will be held in the city of Osaka.
For now though the current climate in Japan sees new websites and social media accounts spring forth with whatever company or authority behind them often lacking in both content and a voice that makes them look “authentic.” And this is where you, writer in Japan, can apply your skills.
In the interests of honesty and in the application of our own layer of “authenticity” let’s be clear here, this guide to types writing work in Japan is based entirely on the experience of this “writer in Japan.” And it’s an experience of writing jobs in Japan the primary focus of which has been for the inbound tourism market, with a smattering of news journalism thrown in. All of the writing listed below has been done in English.
Jump to a specific kind of writing work in Japan:
Writing for travel / lifestyle websites
Writing for SEO
Writing for regional revitalization
Press tours and unveilings.
Client social media accounts
Let’s start with the journalism side of writing work in Japan
“Journalism” is a loose term but in this case we’re talking about news sourcing, news writing, and news editing.
Getting into journalism in Japan
“This is a different world,” came the stern words of a department head at one of Japan’s major news agencies when faced with the prospect of working with this particular writer. A writer who, in their eyes, had largely been wallowing in the “10 best blah, blah, blah” genre of clickbait garbage.
And they were right. Working in classic news journalism proved to be a different world, one of fact-checking, style manuals, cutting through the bullshit, scary editors, and a constant applied fear of tarnishing the brand with a misplaced semicolon.
Look, I’m not a seasoned journalist. I do my bit every now and then -- event coverage, press briefings, press release write-ups, and original features.
In my experience and based on what I know about the journalists around me, a lot of writers get into journalism with the major news agencies and publishers as their writing job in Japan through contacts, rather than responding to a job listing. And most of them come with prior experience -- think the major news agencies and publishers back in their native country.
On one occasion when one of the news services I work on was in need of an extra hand the powers that be turned to putting a job listing on one of Japan’s more popular job-search platforms. They were asking for 3 years of experience in working with web media, N2 level Japanese, demonstrable experience with news sourcing and writing and the usual stuff about teamwork, task management and so on.
The listing proved to be unsuccessful. What I took from this, rightly or wrongly, is that if you’re at the stage of a career which sees you looking for journalistic writing jobs in Japan by way of the popular job-search platforms in Japan, you’re perhaps not at the required level to get into work as a journalist at a major news agency or publisher.
There is hope though. A colleague of mine entered work at a news agency as a translator and when resources were sparse a voice-recorder was thrust in their hand and they were told to get down to the mic zone of a sporting event. And just like that they became a sports journalist.
Starting salary in news journalism (with experience and a major agency / publisher) in Japan: ~ 300,000 yen / month
Article writing for travel and lifestyle websites in Japan
Perhaps the easiest of writing jobs in Japan to find is by way of the myriad of websites that cover travel, or maybe lifestyles / products / hobbies, in Japan.
In terms of content for this kind of writing work in Japan think, “How to”-style guides, trip reports, top 10 lists, cute foods, seasonal event listings and “5 reasons why …. “.
In terms of quality, well, articles for these kinds of websites will likely come under the mildest of scrutiny which focuses on the writing basics, a sense of fun and genuine experience rather than a specific approach to word choice, fact checking and good journalistic / writing practice. Basically, are you readable, are you selling the theme, and do you sound like you know a bit about life and travel in Japan?
Entry into this kind of writing work in Japan could come through a request for writers posted on the website itself. It could also come via the “media” or “writing” listings on a site like craigslist.
One or two writing samples will be required as part of the application process. If you’re starting from scratch a blog post or two might suffice. There are also plenty of websites out there that are happy to accept your content if they don’t have to pay for it. Don’t turn your nose up right away. This is how portfolios can get started.
It’s almost certainly not the case that this kind of writing work in Japan will be full-time and in-house.
Think freelance. Think around 2,000 - 4,000 yen per article.
An extension of this kind of writing work in Japan is writing for those media outlets that focus on exploiting the thirst for all things mad, bonkers, cute and sometimes plain disturbing that come out of Japan.
Being able to convey a sense of humor, dry wit and irony seems to be a requisite here. You’ll also need to have a grasp of Japanese, an encyclopedic knowledge of mad Japanese websites and endless patience to churn out piece after piece about pillows in the shape of a gorilla, ridiculous concept foods, pajamas that stop you from feeling lonely, viral YouTube videos, stupid Japanese TV commercials …. the list is endless.
As far as I can tell, such content is essentially sourced from Japanese websites and either translated and / or re-written into English.
Search engine optimization remains a key aspect of web media growth and client service here in Japan.
As a writer in Japan having some SEO savvy in your creative arsenal will stand you in good stead, and this savvy should be evidenced in two ways -- being able to identify keywords and key search terms to meet the media or the client’s needs (i.e. an understanding of the needs and wants of foreigners in Japan), and then being able to crowbar these into any resulting article effectively.
Writing for the purposes of effective SEO is unlikely to account for the entirety of one’s work as a writer in Japan. However, such articles masked as something else may form the backbone of a growth strategy for any media that you are writing for. It’s boring and tedious work and may go against any sense creative pride that you harbor.
Think of it like this though -- writing articles for the purposes of SEO is like the serious thesp taking a demeaning role in a high-concept bit of trash from Micheal Bay, it pays the bills and paves the way for freedom to pursue more rewarding projects.
More specifically, if you can stomach the SEO stuff and produce it effectively, it will hopefully give you (and the media you write for) license to pursue more interesting writing opportunities in Japan.
Once again, it’s unlikely that you’ll see openings for writing jobs in Japan focused solely on SEO. More likely is that it will feature as one aspect of your work as a writer in Japan.
Note: Being able to show potential employers or clients in Japan a handful of your articles that come out on the top pages of internet searches will look very good for you and could potentially pave the way to more writing work in Japan.
Writing PR Articles
The top pages of web media in Japan often serve as a dumping ground for banner ads and promotional articles. (It’s worth noting that the Japanese have little sense of artistic shame when it comes to selling their talents and services for the purposes of advertising.)
So it is then that as a writer in Japan you’ll be faced with the prospect of producing copy on behalf of paying clients.
The writing of PR articles in Japan for Japanese clients might start from as little as having to translate or tidy-up some text provided by the client themselves. On the other hand it may provide the writer in Japan with the opportunity to attend interesting events and visit interesting locations, and interview interesting people.
Producing PR articles means working closely with the client (in this writer’s case typically with a Japanese sales colleague or project leader in tow) to identify their needs and understand their demands.
It is also likely the case that you will be more than just the writer. You will be the foreign voice. The foreign perspective. As such the client will be expecting your input as to the best angle to take for the article as well as the most effective approach to getting some SEO value.
Writing PR articles is easy enough in the sense that the topic is predetermined and contacts or fixers are already in place to arrange interviews and give insights. The pressure comes in the form of demand for high search ranking, page views, and ultimately conversion for the client in the form of increased customers, visitors et al.
The writer of PR articles in Japan should also be prepared to have articles picked apart by representatives of the client who may question the meaning of just about every phrase you have written. It can test a writer’s patience especially when we consider that these people are invariably Japanese and invariably have a slender grasp of English, at best.
Again, PR article writing in Japan is unlikely to be a job in and of itself. Depending on the reach of the platform which the client is being offered though, PR articles can fetch hundreds of thousands of yen -- for your employer, not you!
As much as tourists are flocking to Japan and the country seems to be the host nation of choice right now for global sporting mega-events, rural communities in Japan are struggling. They are struggling to hold onto their populace in the face of an aging and urbanizing Japan. In some cases they’re struggling to even stay on the map.
In this climate local authorities in Japan, armed with central government grants, are throwing large percentages of their budget into regional revitalization projects. A lot of these projects focus on the inbound tourism market, usually in the form of multi-language websites, press tours, influencer tours and social media accounts.
Rural Japan then, needs content and it’s likely the case that resources don’t extend so far as to pay the salary of the war correspondent-level journalist. Writing copy for rural revitalization could be a way into getting more writing work in Japan for those starting closer to the bottom rung of the career ladder.
Of course, writing to express the appeals of a local region of Japan will require knowledge of said region. To this end, it will mean living in that region.
Many, if not all, local governments and municipalities in Japan have “cultural exchange,” “tourism development,” and / or “regional promotion” teams or departments ensconced in local city halls. Some of these employ foreigners to handle English (or other) language sections of city homepages, newsletters, social media accounts, or local travel websites.
Sometimes these foreigners are titled as “ambassadors.” While the pomp is a little embarrassing being a regional ambassador could be a way to at least do some writing as part of your work here in Japan.
If you end up working on, or writing for, the creative team for media of any significant size in Japan you should be ready to turn your creative hand to projects funded by clients in need of regional revitalization.
The challenge here will be to find the story, the hook, the appeal of a town or region that would actually appear to have little appeal. Be prepared to get very creative for this kind of writing work in Japan.
Local authorities in Japan looking to have their region discovered, trendy new facilities in
Tokyo looking for increased exposure … such bodies often turn to media organizations and PR companies to arrange press tours.
I’ve always enjoyed attending press tours in Japan as a writer. Look, they’re much better than being stuck in an office and the organizers often lay on the finery in the form of interesting or luxurious hotels, great local food, unique experiences that would be hard to come by under your own steam, and maybe even the odd celebrity to interview.
A well-organized press tour will also come equipped with at least the ghost of a story for you, as a writer, to explore further, as well as the relevant background information and basic facts and data to get you started. All of which serves to make the writing easier or more enjoyable.
If there is a downside to attending press tours in Japan it might be that they can be exhausting as local authorities struggle to reign in a desire to show off as much of their region as possible. Press tours also mean being in close quarters with other writers in Japan who may well be strangers to you. And often these things are limited to Japanese language only (especially true in the case unveilings / launches).
It’s worth noting though that rare is the case that the organizers of a press tour or press unveiling in Japan can demand that attending writers actually produce any copy at the end of it all. They can only leave that to a writer’s good conscience or to the decision of editors.
Writing posts for client social media accounts
As a foreigner working in Japan you may be made responsible for handling the social media accounts in your native language for whatever company you work for.
If you’re a writer working for a media organization for hire in Japan, you may find yourself managing and / or writing posts for a client’s social media account.
Of the writing jobs in Japan that have fallen on my lap, this kind of writing has proved to be the most “mixed bag.” Of course, it’s understandable work when a Japanese client perhaps doesn’t have their own writer / English-speaker on their books to turn to. Personally, being sympathetic to this makes the writing of a client’s Facebook posts easier. It’s even easier if the writer has at least some connection to the client’s service or product.
In the case of one Facebook account that I’ve been charged with creating posts for in the past, being taken to experience the facility (a health resort) prior to opening the account made the creation of subsequent posts much easier.
On the other hand, as a writer I’ve been tasked with creating posts for large organizations here in Japan with which I had little connection to and which I found impossible to believe didn’t have their own in-house writing resources to turn to. Such circumstances made the writing of posts feel a little tedious, if not pointless. In hindsight, I should have made more of an effort to keep open a regular channel of communication with the client in order to better understand their needs (in me) and feel a little more connected to the project.
Writing social media posts for clients in Japan has usually involved one to two posts per month with very little in the way of feedback from clients, the representatives of which just seemed happy that they weren’t having to do the writing themselves.
As a writer in Japan I’ve had to contribute editorial sections to email magazines sent out by clients to their customers. In all cases this involved going through the client’s website (English-language version) periodically to pick out a handful of features, services, updates etc, that I felt might be deserving of an extra push or that might be interesting to a foreign audience.
I usually submitted the text along with links to relevant sections of the website and a brief (written) explanation as to why I picked up the content that I did.
Sometime clients gave feedback. Most of the time they didn’t. (I put this largely down to the language barrier.)
This kind of writing work was a once every month or so task perhaps the hardest part of which was remember that it had to be done, such were the lengthy gaps between submissions.
Other forms of writing work in Japan: Honorable mentions
I’m listing the following forms of writing work that I’ve experienced in Japan under “honorable mentions” because they’ve either been minimal, a little niece, or can be filed under the journalism section (which we hope to cover in more detail another time).
Writing a report on the results of a survey scrapes into this article about writing work in Japan simply because it involves writing. It’s the kind of writing that borders on being something akin to writing the slides for presentation but I think it’s worth a mention simply because it provides such a stark contrast to the forms of writing listed above. I mean writing a report about a survey is devoid of almost any creativity. It also feels strange to have to put into words that which is expressed far more succinctly by the all the graphs, charts and tables.
Most of the press releases I receive are written in Japanese. On the one hand this lends itself to a greater freedom to be creative as I’m not influenced by the wording of an English version. It does mean that I have to translate them first though, which can be a right pain, especially when I’m in a rush to get things published.
Press tour press kits
Writing the copy for press kits to be handed out to journalists prior to press tours can be time consuming. Depending on the nature and length of the tour it can involve quite a bit of research and fact checking.
Writing the copy for a press kit usually covers a basic introduction to the tour and the reasons behind it. It then picks up on the deeper theme of the tour to provide historical, social background that kind of allows the tour participants to hit the ground running the moment the tour starts. The press kit will also cover the essential details for each spot visited during the tour, basic profiles of people to be interviewed, and overview of the location in which the tour takes place (population, climate, industry etc).
Writing the basic flow, scene breakdown and rough script for a series of “how to” videos. Due to the nature of the videos and the themes they covered (and the fact that I was the one in front of the camera reciting the script) made this a light enough task aside from the stringent check applied by the client for whom the videos were being made for.
Other forms of writing any foreigner working in Japan my be charged with
These are not really down to being a writer in Japan so much as they are down to being a foreigner working in Japan -- I’m talking about emails, presentations, bits of speeches, ad copy, survey questions, notices and many more.
Japan Jobs is all about providing information, ideas, and insights to help people with working life, employment and careers in Japan. If you think this article would be useful or helpful for others, please give it a share.
Preparation tips, insights, real experiences, resources and practical information for people interested in pursuing employment and a career in Japan.
Japanjobs's latest blogs, steps toward healthy work-life balance in japan.
Influenza and taking time off sick from work in Japan
Company team building trips in japan: the shain ryokou.
- Bahasa Indonesia
Starting a Writing Career in Japan
Japan has more and more visitors every year and a growing expat community leading to high demand for English content writers. Or perhaps you are inspired to write your own original work. If you have the motivation, you can make writing a career in Japan.
Table of Contents
Writing Career in Japan
Five famous writers from japan.
- Various Writing Job Options in Japan
- How to Find Writing Work in Japan
- Visa Requirements for Writers in Japan
Writing as a steady career in any country is a difficult thing to accomplish. You have to be very self-motivated, as well as have the talent and content to captivate an audience. It can also be difficult to find a writing job with a steady income, especially if you are aiming to publish your own novels.
And in Japan, it depends on what kind of content you intend to work on. But before we get to that, here’s a look at some Japanese writers you should know for inspiration.
What is Tsukimi (月見)? Japan's Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
Success Story : From Remote Island to Tokyo Centre, 1800 km Job Change
Higanbana (Red Spider Lily) - Autumn Flower in Japan
Autumn in Japan: Weather, Events, Festivals and Places to Visit
Willer Tokyo Restaurant Bus: See Tokyo while having a Course Meal!
Of course, there are countless writers that have left their mark on the Japanese literary world. This includes Murasaki Shikibu , whose work The Tale of Genji is one of if not the first novel in history. A more recent world-renowned author with a Japanese background is Kazuo Ishiguro , whose works have won many prestigious awards.
While it’s not a requirement to have read works by Japanese authors to be a writer in Japan, it’s a good way to connect to writers who came before as well as to see the cultural influence they have left in Japanese society. And for those interested in translation work, it’s also important to look at good examples of translated works as compared to the original.
Here are just 5 famous Japanese writers and authors you should know, whose works have been published and beloved in English as well!
1. Yasunari Kawabata (1924-1972)
Kawabata made his mark as the first Japanese laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968. The works mentioned by the Nobel Committee in the Award ceremony speech include Snow Country , Thousand Cranes and The Old Capital , notable not only for his style of course but also his incorporation of traditional Japanese cultures such as geisha and tea ceremony.
2. Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927)
Another renowned writer in Japan and a household name, Akutagawa is considered the "father of the Japanese short story". The Akutagawa Prize, one of the highest literary honors one can earn in Japan, is named after him. Some of his famous works are Rashomon and Kappa . His works inspired the famed Kurosawa Akira film Rashomon .
3. Natsume Soseki (1867-1916)
Natsume is considered such an influential figure in modern Japanese literature that he was on the 1000 yen bill for a while in the late 90s. Some of his famous works are Botchan, Wagahai wa Nekodearu (I Am a Cat), Kokoro , etc. People often visit Matsuyama in Ehime where Natsume is based and wrote Botchan.
4. Yuko Tsushima (1947-2016)
Tsushima Yuko is the daughter of another famed writer Dazai Osamu . She is known for writing about real-life experiences, especially about family and her work has won many rewards. One of the common descriptions of her work is that there is often no correct interpretation, message or conclusion to her work. They are simply stories about people living their lives.
5. Miyuki Miyabe (1960- Present)
Miyabe is known for her award-winning works in a vast variety of genres. She doesn’t only influence the literary world with her thoughtful and deep looks at life and relationships in Japan, but also for the adaptations of her works in various forms of media. These include Kasha , Riyu , Namonaki Doku , and Solomon no Gisho among others. Her works tackle the intricacies of the problems within Japanese society.
And of course, there are countless others to explore - from Tanizaki to Dazai to Yoshimoto and on. The options are endless.
Various writing job options in Japan
Of course, for most people, an English writing career in Japan does not necessarily mean becoming an author or starting to write and publish novels, although that may become a goal in the future. You can start from or opt for a variety of writing-related tasks. There are various job options in writing as mentioned below.
Content writers have become more in need especially with the rise in social media and websites. More and more Japanese companies need engaging content written in English and other languages as they want to target an international audience. This may range from creating original work from your experiences - such as travel articles or posts - or working with material that they already have. You could work directly for one company or you could take on individual projects (more on freelance below). It’s very important for content writers to know exactly who their target audience is. Foreign residents in Japan have very different needs from people coming from abroad.
Some content writing jobs may include creative content writer, digital or web content writer, content development specialist, marketing content writer , etc.
Another option for writing is doing translation work. Instead of creating original content, you would be translating existing content into English. This could be technical - such as manuals, contracts, legal documents, etc. - or non-technical content like some of the examples listed above under content writing. You might even end up translating great Japanese works from famous Japanese authors like those mentioned above (or up-and-coming ones) as well as other creative works such as manga. As Japan continues to become more international, there’s a need for people to be able to understand exactly what things say in native English and we all know Google Translate can only do so much. This would require a minimum of an N2 level of Japanese, often N1 for the technical translations.
Here’s our dedicated article about translation work: Working in the field of Japanese-English Translation
These writers usually work on a project basis . There are various fields and industries requiring writing work, including content writing and translation. Although video blogs have become more popular, traditional online blogging is also still something one can do. Although pay is not guaranteed unless you become quite popular, combining it with social media posts may also lead to collaborations and future jobs. Blogging topics could be travel or lifestyle or fashion blogging. Other types of writing projects include product reviews, SEO writing, PR articles, social media writing, ghost writing and so on.
Read more about blogging in our article here .
How to find writing work in Japan
Like any other creative job, for writing jobs, you need to have an online portfolio of yourself with the list of previous work done. Writing jobs will often ask for a sample of your work. If you don’t have experience, creating a simple free web page or blog and writing about a few topics (or translating some articles) related to the type of writing job you are applying for may be helpful to show your skills.
Searching for English writing jobs online is the easiest way. You could send your resume and profile to already established English magazines in Japan, or look on English or bilingual job sites for work. You can also search through the classified sections of English news sites or even sites like Craigslist to find freelance projects.
And if you’re going the creative route, it may be hard to find an English publisher in Japan. Therefore self-publishing is a route that many English writers take. Building interest in the book itself is also important, so your social media game has to be strong as well. Like we mentioned at the start, a person has to have very high motivation to become a writer, and definitely so in Japan.
Visa requirements for writers in Japan
Although Japan does not have a separate visa category for writers, here are some of the visas that you could potentially fall under.
If you are applying to be a content writer or translator, you would fall under the Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services visa. As a freelancer, however, it may be difficult to prove that you can make a steady income. If you plan to do writing work on the side, then make sure your current work visa or status of residence allows it.
However, if you are a novelist, for example, then you might qualify for an Artist visa. However, you would already have to have a career in writing when applying and would also have to prove that you can financially support yourself doing the same job in Japan from now on. Thus if you’ve never written a book before but want to start while you’re in Japan, you would already have to have a different visa and status of residence to start. This can then perhaps be switched to an Artist visa once you have a steady income just from publishing work but this may take time.
If you are a writing enthusiast, you have many opportunities awaiting in Japan. You just have to work hard to find them but also match the content that they’re looking for, as well as to make it a steady position. We have listed various side job options available while you finish writing your novel!
Related articles 関連記事
Accountant Jobs in Japan for Foreigners, All You Need to Know to About...
“Brewing Right Away!”: Barista Job Opportunities in Japan
How to Become an Architect in Japan: About the Industry and Jobs
Start your Career as a Flight Attendant in Japan
Fruit Picking and Other Farm Jobs in Japan for Foreigners
How to Become a Mechanic in Japan
How to Become an Actor or Actress in Japan
WeXpats Official Character “Ponga-chan” is Born
Top Articles 人気記事
Why Work in Japan? Reasons to Start a Career in Japan
Working Hours in a Typical Japanese Work Week
A Guide to Japanese Interviews (example Japanese interview q...
What is the average salary in Japan for foreigners? (2023)
Can I change from a tourist visa to a working visa in Japan?
Accountant jobs in japan for foreigners, all you need to kno..., a guide to japanese interviews (example japanese interview questions a..., our social media ソーシャルメディア.
Where we share the latest news about Japan in 9 languages!
Our YouTube channel brought to you from Shibuya! Don't miss our videos, covering everything from culture, entertainment, Japanese lessons, sightseeing, etc.
We share both useful and the latest information about Japan. Please give us a follow before coming to Japan!
Our WeXpats Team share their experiences and things they love in Japan. A must-check for people interested in the latest trends & the real side of Japan.
Fun videos covering Japanese lessons and relatable experiences in Japan. You can pick up many practical phrases and information you can't find in textbooks.
일본의 최신 뉴스 & 도움되는 정보를 전합니다. 일본에 오기 전에 꼭 팔로우해두세요!
Kênh YouTube từ thành phố Shibuya! Có rất nhiều video mà bạn không thể bỏ lỡ, chẳng hạn như tiếng Nhật, văn hóa, thông tin giải trí và địa điểm tham quan,v.v...
Chúng tôi chia sẻ những thông tin hữu ích và mới nhất về Nhật Bản. Hãy theo dõi chúng tôi trước khi đến Nhật Bản nhé!
Các video thú vị bao gồm các bài học tiếng Nhật và trải nghiệm thực tế ở Nhật Bản.Nơi chứa đầy những thông tin, kiến thức thực tế mà bạn không thể tìm thấy trong sách giáo khoa.
ဂျပန်နိုင်ငံ၏နောက်ဆုံးရသတင်းများနှင့်အသုံးဝင်မည့်အချက်အလက်များကိုတင်ဆက်ပေးပါမည်။ ဂျပန်နိုင်ငံသို့ မရောက်မီ ကျွန်ုပ်တို့pageကိုFollowလုပ်ပါ
Kami Berbagi informasi berguna dan terbaru tentang Jepang. Jadi Follow dulu sebelum kalian datang ke Jepang!
Tim WeXpats kami berbagi pengalaman dan hal-hal yang dialami di Jepang. Jadi orang-orang yang tertarik dengan tren terbaru dan sisi nyata dari Jepang harus banget Check!
Le ofrecemos las últimas noticias e información útil sobre Japón. Asegúrese de seguirnos antes de venir a Japón!
Canal do Youtube direto do centro de Tóquio, no bairro de Shibuya! Não deixe de conferir nossos vídeos sobre cultura, entretenimento, lugares turísticos, aulas de japonês e muito mais!
Nós trazemos informações úteis e também as últimas tendências do Japão! Siga-nos para não perder nenhum detalhe!
เราแบ่งปันข้อมูลที่เป็นประโยชน์และข้อมูลล่าสุดเกี่ยวกับประเทศญี่ปุ่น เพื่อที่จะไม่พลาดข่าวสารสำคัญ อย่าลืมกดติดตามเราที่ WeXpats Thailand!