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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Simon Essler

Japanese Studies
(PhD Students, June 1, 2014 - May 31, 2015)

Concepts of Time and Perceptions of a Life Career in Japan – an Example of Employees of a Medium-Sized Company in the Fukui Prefecture

The results of different surveys show clearly an ongoing change of values towards labor and leisure in present-day Japan. An NHK survey on lifestyles and time budgets, conducted every five years, shows that average working hours decrease while, on the other hand, spare time increases. It also discovered that opportunities for individual ways of time-spending have increased and there has been an irreversible change in attitudes desiring more spare time and its fulfillment.

As part of the research for my doctoral thesis, I am doing an extensive field work in a medium-sized company in order to find out how this change of values manifests itself in- and outside the workplace. The focus is especially on the grey areas between work and spare time, which are often fluent transitions. In contrast to most of the existing research on working hours in Japan, this approach aims a deeper and better understanding of the social reality of the persons affected.