The 10 most popular Japanese Companies in 2019

The 10 most popular Japanese Companies in 2019

What are the best companies for your first job in Japan? Based on the activity of real students looking for their first job, Japanese recruitment sites published the most popular companies among students that were job-hunting in 2019. While most of the top companies are Japanese ones, many of them are also actively hiring foreigners, so take a look!

Top 10 companies

1. Itochu

Itochu, a general trading company, advanced from second place to the most popular company among new graduates. Part of the appeal may be the sheer range of positions as the company is dealing in textiles, machinery, metal, energy, chemicals, food, housing, as well as information and finance.

Itochu is hiring foreigners and participates at various bilingual job fairs. If you are interested and have a good command of Japanese give them a visit.

2. Ajinomoto

In second place is Ajinomoto, a Japanese food industry giant. They deal in everything from seasonings, frozen foods over beverages to pharmaceuticals.

Ajinomoto operates in 35 countries and is also hiring international students directly in Japan.

3. JTB Corporation

With JTB, Japan’s largest travel agency comes in third. Originally JTB was owned by the Japanese government and dealing with foreigner visitors coming to Japan. Nowadays they are a global corporation also supporting Japanese travelers around the world.

4. The Oriental Land Company

Even if you never heard of this company’s name you are probably familiar with their business. They are running both Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea as well as the related hotels, shopping facilities, etc.

With people visiting from all over the world they also offer opportunities for non-Japanese job-seekers.

5. ANA

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is the second Japanese airline to make it to the top of this list. With various subsidiary passenger carriers, ANA is the largest Japanese airline.

ANA also actively hires foreigners year-round and you can also visit their booth at various career fairs.

6. H.I.S.

With H.I.S. another travel agency has made the list. Famous for single and package tours, the company is also involved running hotels, theme parks, and transportation businesses.

7. Marubeni

Marubeni is Japan’s fifth-largest general trading company. Starting out in textile trading the company now deals with a wide variety of consumer and industrial goods.

Their English website comes without the career section but international applicants can still apply via the Japanese site.

8. Asahi Soft Drinks

Products of Asahi Soft Drinks are omnipresent in Japanese stores and vending machines. In terms of proceeds, it is the third biggest player in its industry.

The company is hiring for a variety of positions ranging from research to sales.

9. Dai Nippon Printing

This printing company has gone with the times and is active in the areas of Information Communications, Lifestyle and Industrial supplies, as well we Electronics.
The opportunity to work on products as varied as life science, AI and automotive solutions may be a factor that makes them a popular choice among new graduates.

10. Sony Music Entertainment

In place 10 comes another surprise choice, with this entertainment company. Via numerous subsidiaries the Sony Music Entertainment works with musicians, artists, entertainers, and even has a leg in the Japanese animation industry.

Beyond the top 10

Too little surprise popularity rankings are a volatile thing.
Big companies like JAL, JR East, Mitsubishi Corporation, and Shiseido all lost their spot in the Top 10 this year.

11. Mitsubishi Corporation
12. Shiseido
13. Kodansha
14. Kadokawa
15. Asahi Beer
16. Kagome
17. Morinaga Milk
18. Lotte Group
19. JAL
20. JR East

Noticeably, almost all of the most popular companies are Japanese. It can be taken as a pointer that if you want to play in Japan’s big league you have to play by the (Japanese) rules. Reputation, work environment, language requirements, and varying hiring practices may also influence students to choose ‘established companies’.

Best Companies for by Specialization

Japanese recruiting for university graduates is centered around dividing students into humanities and science graduates.
So I didn’t want to keep these rankings from you, that give a little more insight into what each of these two student groups is aiming for.

Best Companies for Humanities Graduates

  1. JTB
  2. ANA
  3. Tokyo Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.
  4. Sony
  5. JAL
  6. Ajinomoto
  7. Itochu
  8. Konami
  9. Sony Music Entertainment
  10. Asahi Beer

Best Companies for Science Graduates

  1. Sony
  2. Ajinomoto
  3. Meiji Group
  4. Kagome
  5. Fujitsu
  6. Toyota
  7. Suntory Group
  8. Asahi Beer
  9. Morinaga Milk
  10. Omron

Keep your eyes open

You probably know many of the companies above already from your home country or have encountered them during your stay in Japan. If you look at the complete company rankings beyond the top 10, you will also see many great Japanese companies that you may not yet be aware of.

Small companies are looking for foreigners

While many companies in Japan still struggle with hiring foreigners, more and more companies are opening their doors to candidates from abroad.

It is not only the big companies that are changing their recruitment outlook. Small companies also welcome foreigners. As a popularity vote, this list favors big companies, but companies with less than 30 employees make up 50% of all places hiring foreigners in Japan.
This development is really good news.

Search in Japan

On the other hand, foreigners who want to work in Japan often have to go through the same recruitment process and meet the same conditions as Japanese candidates. In these cases, fluency in Japanese is a must, sometimes well beyond passing N1.

To increase your odds, staying in Japan for the duration of your job search is advisable. Candidates studying or living in Japan have better chances to adjust their schedules to the sometimes long-winding Japanese recruitment process, and some companies do not accept applications from anyone living outside of Japan.

You probably will have many questions about the companies you are considering. Take advantage of career fairs and company seminars to get in touch with companies directly. If you are unsure whether you meet the requirements, approach a company representative and just ask about the expected Japanese level or visa status. They will be happy to answer, and you can gain an opportunity to make a personal connection and explain your specific situation.

What do you think about the most popular companies among Japanese graduates?
Is there a specific Japanese company you would like to work for?

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After traveling around for a while, I found my home in Tokyo. Now working in Shinjuku and discovering something new about Japan every day.