Looking for a job in Japan but don’t speak Japanese? There are actually many career opportunities in Japan that don’t require you to know the local lingo. With globalization and increased tourism, companies based in Japan are hiring more English-speaking talent than ever before.
In this blog post, we showcase the top 21 jobs perfect for expats and foreign nationals wanting to work in Japan without having to speak or read Japanese characters known as kanji.
Recruitment & HR
There are opportunities in the recruitment and human resources space in Japan that utilize mainly English. International companies need native level English speakers to source foreign talent globally. HR roles focused on learning & development, compensation & benefits, and talent acquisition tend to use English more than Japanese when supporting regional or global operations.
Tourism & Hospitality
Japan’s tourism industry centers around foreign visitors. English ability is valued for frontline jobs with tourists.
Work for International Companies
Many global companies use English in Japan. As long as you work on the international side, Japanese may not be needed.
Technical and Specialized Roles
For IT, engineering and other specialized roles, skills matter more than language. Multinational teams often communicate in English.
Remote Work & Freelancing
With remote work, location doesn’t matter. There are many freelance and online jobs you can do from Japan without the language.
Food & Beverage Service
Restaurants and bars aimed at foreigners typically don’t need Japanese. International hotel F&B outlets also often hire foreign staff.
Sports & Fitness Instruction
If you teach fitness classes for expats or work as a personal trainer, you may use mostly English at work.
Jobs at Foreign Embassies & NGOs
Admin and support roles at embassies and international NGOs situated in Japan sometimes don’t require Japanese.
Short-Term Manual Labor
You may find short-term construction, factory or farm work without knowing the language. But quality of life could be difficult.
Teaching English is an obvious option not needing Japanese ability. There are many schools and programs.
Models with international agencies likely work in English in Japan. Translators assist models with Japanese as needed.
Import/Export Logistics & Shipping
Jobs managing trade between Japan and overseas involve interacting with foreign clients and suppliers in English.
Flight Attendants on International Routes
Flight attendants could potentially get by with minimal Japanese if partnered with Japanese-speaking crew.
Sous Chef at International Hotels & Restaurants
While head chefs may need some Japanese, sous chefs likely use mostly English in kitchens catering to foreign guests.
Commercial Fishing & Maritime Jobs
International crews on cargo ships and fishing vessels often use English as a common language, regardless of home ports.
Forestry & Lumber
Forestry companies focused on exports can employ foreign workers in manual roles like logging and wood processing.
Biomedical & Scientific Research
Scientists at global pharmaceutical/biotech companies and university labs use English as the standard language.
Services Marketing to Foreigners
Real estate, relocation services and more aimed at expats may not require Japanese language skills.
Cryptocurrency & Blockchain
With crypto being borderless, blockchain companies often have globally distributed teams communicating in English.
US Military Base Jobs
The many US bases employ local Japanese staff in support roles where English is the standard language.
International School Teaching
Subject teachers at international schools directed at expat students can teach math, physics and other topics in English.