5 Things Muslims Should Know When Working In Japan

4,444 Japan’s population is declining every year. There is talk of a “society in decline and aging” with few young people and many older people.

This decline in the birth rate and the aging of the population are leading to a decline in the working-age population, leading to increased demand for labor outside of Japan. In addition, in an increasingly globalized world, Japanese society also hires various human resources.

However, as you often hear, Japan is unique (or perhaps you can say conservative) in terms of language and cultural barriers. With some exceptions, languages ​​other than Japanese do not work well. If Muslims number in the billions in the world, it is a minority group in Japan.

HALAL MEDIA JAPAN receives such inquiries frequently.

“I heard that it is difficult for Muslims to get a job in Japan …”

“Is it true that one cannot pray during lunch in a Japanese workplace?”

In this issue we would like to introduce you to five things, you need to know if you work in Japan ”to solve these questions.

* Please note that the content of this article is generally based on interviews and may not apply in all cases.

Five things to know about working in Japan

1. Understanding Muslim in the workplace

In Japan, the population of Muslims is believed to be around 200,000 (an exact number is not yet available), which is only about 0.5% of the total population of Japan.

Therefore, there is a high possibility where most Japanese have never encountered Muslims.  Even the number of Muslims coming to Japan to study or travel is increasing, but few Japanese have actually “spoken” or “communicated” with Muslims.

Because of this, many Japanese do not know what Muslims believe and practice and, in most cases, the same perception can be said to be true in the workplace. So instead of the perspective that “Muslims are scary”, there is a tendency to feel that “I don’t know anything about Muslims”, which causes “worry and fear”.

Gently communicating with the caring behavior of Muslims is key to changing perceptions in the workplace.

2. Muslim Praying in the workplace

As explained in, many Japanese do not know what Muslims practice, including “prayer”, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Some Japanese think that prayer takes around 30 minutes and you need to create a special room. In fact, the sentence itself can be completed in a small space in about 10 minutes, so let’s explain that.

Here are some examples to pass on:
・ Prayer time 23 times during working hours (Zuhr, Ashr, Maghrib)
・ Zuhr can be done during lunch break
・ Prayer lasts about 10 minutes, so pray between jobs.
・ It is possible to pray in an open meeting room or in the staff room.

Some people may find it a bit difficult to consult with the company about prayer because they think, “Will it be annoying to get permission from the company to pray?”

However, the Japanese company will never understand if it does not listen to the opinion or explanation of the Muslim employees. If the company hires its juniors in the future, they may feel the same way.

Muslim understanding of the business can be beneficial not only to you, but also to your Muslim youth and to the business itself.

Friday worship is also an essential activity for Muslims. Many Muslims who pray on Fridays pray in Japan, that is, at noon, which is actually still working hours, and ask about alternatives to the company.

They usually go to work an hour before or leave the company an hour later to have an hour to extend their lunch break, to go to the mosque or to distribute the work schedule during the rest of the days.

In Japan, the reduction of working hours is not well accepted from an equality perspective only for certain workers. The point is to propose yourself an alternative plan on how you can secure the working hours for Friday prayer hours. In some cases, more and more companies have introduced a flexible schedule system and can react flexibly.

If possible, you can tell your HR or recruiter before joining the company. When it is difficult to report to the company directly, some people start by talking to a close co-worker or boss.

3. Clothing and hijab for Muslim Woman

One of the most frequently asked questions is “Can I work with a hijab in Japan?”

Unfortunately, it is yes and no. If it is a work area that does not serve clients, such as B. Administrative office, etc., you may be allowed to work in hijab.

Although it is still difficult for some businesses, such as restaurants and retail stores, to allow wearing a hijab, the likelihood of Muslims wearing a hijab in urban stores appears to be increasing year by year (especially in clothing and retail stores). convenience. Stories). Check if you can wear the hijab at the job interview or company meeting.

In men, the beard, which is Sunna (recommended by the practice of Prophet Muhammad) in Islam, is often a problem. Of course, since it is sunnah, it is convenient to practice it. On the other hand, oversized beards in Japan are considered something that does not make a good impression.

There are cases where the work rules include beards, especially in the service industry. We recommend taking steps to trim your beard if you work for a company in Japan.

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4. Identify a company that knows Muslim

As mentioned above, not all companies have sufficient knowledge of foreigners and Muslims. How can we identify a company that has such knowledge?

Companies that have hired foreigners or Muslims already have an environment and system to embrace a diversified society, which can minimize problems that arise after joining the company.

Such information can be viewed on the company’s website or on social media. Talk to HR or the hiring manager beforehand and explain as much as you can. If you are rejected at this point, you may notice a difference in perception even after joining the company. Therefore, avoid optional entry into the company.

5. Find people and communities to talk to

You are not the only person working (or considering working) in Japan. Many Muslims work in Japan after the economic bubble of some 40 years ago. The worries and fears you have are certainly the same as those of other Muslims in Japan.

With this in mind, we recommend talking to your seniors and friends to get over it. If there are no such people in your area, you can always contact Career Diversity, Inc.

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