Interested in building a career in Japan

Discussion in 'Education' started by ISakiSM, May 3, 2022.

  1. ISakiSM
    Joined: May 2022
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: Glasgow

    ISakiSM New Member

    So, I am just finishing my first year in Naval Architecture at the University of Strathclyde and a long standing dream of mine has been to to live and work in Japan, and I am already thinking how to best achieve it, so I am kindly asking if anybody here has experience with the Japanese naval industry and is willing to lend me their thoughts.

    In my 3rd year I'll need to choose a specialization between Marine Engineering, Ocean Engineering and Performance Smallcraft design and from my understanding, in Japan there isn't that much focus on Smallcraft, so Marine Engineering would be the way to go. I also wanted to ask if what is expected from a Naval Architect is different in Japan than in the west, are there any additional skills I should be aware about? What further specialization should I be looking into, I know for example that Korea is making really good LNG, LPG carriers, knowledge of what would make me stand out in Japan?

    Also, there are career fairs at my university where companies come and try to recruit future graduates, I really don't think a Japanese company will come all the way to Glasgow with offers, so I was thinking to do a masters degree in Japan after I finish here, so I would be visible to the job market there, in addition to the education and getting a feeling of the place.

    Sorry if this is quite a lengthy request, hope somebody can help me.

  2. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: Japan

    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Firstly, you'll need to speak/read Japanese.
    If you are entering Japan and wish to work, inside Japan, for a Japanese company, you'll need to speak Japanese and read Japanese.

    That is different from working for a non-Japanese company, outside of Japan, and then sent to Japan, on a secondment of sorts.

    This is your best route.
    It gets you acquainted and immersed into Japan, its culture and slowly forming a network and the ability to see/visit Japanese companies.

    I can recommend Osaka University, as their Master Degree course is taught in English.
    I taught on their postgraduate course for 2 semesters several years ago.

    Osaka University is probably the best Uni for naval architecture in Japan too.

    Try not to select based upon just the market sector.
    You should select based upon your passion and desire and interest.

    However, you are correct in that Japan does not really have much of a small craft industry.
    hoytedow, bajansailor and BlueBell like this.
  3. chrismcg
    Joined: Oct 2008
    Posts: 28
    Likes: 13, Points: 3, Legacy Rep: 36
    Location: Cork, Ireland

    chrismcg Junior Member

    As Ad Hoc already said, speaking and writing Japanese would be essential.
    Getting a visa to work there could be an issue too. I lived there for about a year and the only way I could stay and work was because my wife is Japanese.
    They are not really interested in foreigners so I doubt you would get sponsorship from a company, unless of course you try to find a company based in Japan,, but dealing with English speaking clients. Your unique selling point wont be what you learned in uni, but the fact that you are (I'm assuming here) a native English speaker.
    Another option could be to find a non-Japanese company with a branch in Japan.
    Don't get your hopes up if you think it will be a simple thing to just call up Japanese companies and get offered a job. I know from experience that the Japanese think that everything Japanese is better than anything else, and in a lot of cases they are correct, but this mindset means that it would take a lot to convince a Japanese employer that some foreigner is worth the hassle of going through the visa process. You have to offer something that they can't get from a Japanese graduate of a similar course.
    On a more positive note, there are other options if you want to live in Japan, but not working as a NA. There is the Jet programme where you work teaching English in schools. I know a few people who did it and really loved it.
    You could also marry someone Japanese, preferably with connections in the maritime industry.
    hoytedow likes this.

  4. ISakiSM
    Joined: May 2022
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: Glasgow

    ISakiSM New Member

    It's a bit disheartening to hear that my main selling point won't be the skills I acquire at uni.
    I already know who to read and write in Japanese, but speaking and understanding normal spoken Japanese is a whole another can of worms as I don't have a speaking partner.
    I'll keep my eye on the Japanese maritime industry and see if I can get something in the final year of my course, seeing about a masters degree there and maybe I'll check the Jet programme and see how it compares to having a normal job as an architect here in UK/Europe, if I don't succeed it would be very disappointing, but not the end of the world.
    Thank you very much for all the advice, I'll see what I can do from here.
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