• (CITI IO)
An innocent comic about Asperger's soon erupted into a heated Twitter debate over Japanese work-culture.
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4 Apr 2017 - 1:20 PM  UPDATED 4 Apr 2017 - 1:20 PM

When it comes to workplace culture in Japan, it is well-known that Japanese salarymen and women work long hours beyond the usual 9-5 business day and this is simply the norm. But as the Eat Your Kimchi duo found out this week, Japan's workplace culture was inadvertently given the spotlight thanks to the release of a comic about Asperger's. 

The comic aimed to promote awareness about Asperger's in the workplace, but due to a panel that depicted a person with Asperger's leaving work at 5pm, a Twitter storm soon erupted in Japan regarding the workplace hours, specifically, leaving work "on time" rather than "late" with co-workers.

As Simon and Martina have both experienced first-hand, leaving work early (or on time in this case) in Japan is seen as a sign of not being a "team-player" and will prompt criticism. Rather than emphasising the notion of finishing all required work tasks within the 9-5 business day, Simon and Martina noticed that Japanese people prefer to take their time with tasks and draw out a business day in order project a hard-working image.

It wasn't just in Japan though as when both Simon and Martina were teaching in Korea, the duo noticed that while they worked consistently from 9-5, their co-workers were watching dramas or shopping online. However, upon leaving at 5pm, having completed his tasks, Simon received criticism for "not working hard enough." 

What Simon and Martina have noticed is that this Twitter storm managed to highlight the differing work cultures in Asian countries, and for some people, this may not gel with their sensibilities. 

Hit the audio tab above ^ to listen to Simon & Martina talk about why the Japanese workplace culture Twitter storm at the 6:10 mark

Or listen right here at the 6:10 mark:


Catch Eat Your Kimchi's SBS PopAsia radio show every Monday @10PM (AEST). 

How to listen

SBS PopAsia is streaming live 24/7 on digital radio. Catch Eat Your Kimchi's radio show at 10pm (AEST) every Monday.

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