Addressing the Global Issue of Aging Population
The challenges of an aging population are not unique to Japan. Many advanced countries around the world, including Germany, are grappling with or preparing for the consequences of this demographic shift. One notable example is how German companies, concerned about labor shortages, are proactively recruiting foreign workers. Germany's population has been sustained by the acceptance of immigrants and their descendants, who make up about 20% of the total population.
Foreign Workers in Japan's Convenience Stores
The effects of an aging population are also evident in Japan, and one industry where this is particularly noticeable is the convenience store and fast food chain sector. In recent years, it has become increasingly common to see foreigners of a similar age to students working alongside their Japanese counterparts in these establishments. Companies such as FamilyMart actively recruit foreign employees, and while there may be language barriers, they can still communicate effectively with customers.
Increasing Foreign Workers in the Anime, Game, and Manga Industry
As the number of young workers in Japan decreases due to an aging population, it is only natural that the number of foreign workers in the country will increase in the future. The anime, game, and manga industry is no exception to this trend. In recent years, Rakujobu, a platform that has been operating for about a decade, has seen a surge in registrations and applications from foreign workers seeking opportunities in this uniquely Japanese subculture.
Three Reasons Driving Demand for Foreign Creators
- Abundance of Talented Creators
Contrary to popular belief, the issue is not one of foreigners replacing Japanese talent, but rather one of finding exceptionally talented creators. While Japanese creators lead the way in producing cutting-edge anime, games, and manga, the demand for mid- to high-level creators exceeds the supply in the domestic market. However, the vast pool of foreign talent offers approximately 70 times more opportunities than the 100 million strong Japanese population. Companies that are still exploring this option have an advantage in recruiting highly skilled foreign creators.
- Expanding into international marketsIn addition to expanding domestically, the industry is also exploring opportunities in the global market, which is about 70 times larger than Japan's. As companies set their sights on overseas expansion, understanding local cultures and preferences becomes crucial. Foreign creatives with such insights are becoming invaluable assets to these ventures.
- Work Ethic and Attitude Toward ProductivityForeign workers are often praised by managers for their efficient and goal-oriented work ethic. While Japanese employees tend to devote themselves fully to their work, even at the expense of personal time, foreigners prioritize work-life balance and strive to achieve both professional and personal satisfaction. This results-oriented mindset is highly valued by employers and contributes to the preference for foreign founders.
Implications for Young Japanese Creators
The increasing demand for foreign creators also suggests a shift in expectations for young Japanese talent. To thrive in the anime, game, and manga industry of the future, young creators must recognize that they will be competing on a global stage, and that awareness of their foreign counterparts is crucial to growth and success. Embracing the changing landscape can lead to new opportunities and enhance their creative potential.