Japanese Culture

Anime with Realistic Depictions of Work Life in Japan

Anime. Though globally loved, it’s still notoriously known to portray Japan in an unrealistic way, whether it be the way the story unfolds or how how places look—especially when it comes to the work life. As an avid anime watcher, there are some shows that bother me at how “not-Japan” they are.

But despite what the general public believes, there are a couple of shows that do somewhat realistically portray Japan and what work life is or could be like. Here are some of the ones that I personally have seen and recommend!

Aggressive Retsuko (アグレッシブ烈子)

Don’t judge a book by it’s cute cover! Brought to you by Sanrio, this story revolves around your average 9 to 5 office worker Retsuko, coming across her daily struggles at work, such as having to go on the train during rush hour or having to deal with her annoying boss. Though all the characters are portrayed as cute animals, the show does truly show what life can be like at a job in Japan.

Fune Wo Amu (船を編む)

Have you ever thought about the work that goes into creating a dictionary? Contrary to the show previously mentioned, this story involves characters working at a publishing company making a dictionary. In addition to the office scenes, everyday life is depicted realistically, and you’ll also be able to learn the proper manners when talking to someone in a higher position in different situations. Strangely enough, by the end of the show, you’ll feel much more differently about dictionaries.


Yes. This is an anime introducing anime. Here, they introduce the anime industry and what goes on behind the scenes. You’re bound to find yourself not only learning about how the industry works, but also loving all the quirky characters.

Servant x Service (サーバントxサービス)

Taking a break from the serious atmosphere of a working environment, Servant x Service brings us a story of people working at a city hall mixed with comedy and romance. This combination of the portrayal of work you have to deal with at this sort of job and the comedic relief is what perfectly balances out this show. You most definitely won’t be bored!

Keep in mind, anime is an exaggerated depiction of real life. Not all of it is truly “real”.  But there are definitely some aspects you can learn here and there to see for yourself what it’s like to work in Japan. Life may not always be filled with convenient romantic interests and dramatic events around you, but that’s what makes fictional forms of art like anime so interesting to watch!

There are many other shows that depict work-life in Japan not listed here. Do you have a show in mind? Or was there a that show made you gain interest about potentially living in Japan? We’d love to here your thoughts!

By Eiko
Student at ICU and summer intern at TalentHub.

?Read more TalentHub blogs: https://talenthub.jp/blog/?lang=en

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