How The Japanese Generation Z Is Bringing Change

Amélie Geeraert
Kokoro Media
Published in
6 min readFeb 12, 2024

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These last years, I have come across many articles about the generational gaps between the baby boomers, the millennials, and generation Z. This has made me wonder how the Japanese generation Z is perceived by older generations and what changes they are bringing to society. Here is what I have found.

A Different Work-Life Balance

A couple of months ago, I noticed an article being shared and doing the rounds on Japanese-language Twitter. It was titled, “Why Do New Employees These Days Leave Work on Time?”, and shared with the following comment: “Well, because it’s time.” Although the article dates to 2016, the fact it was shared again shows a generational gap regarding work habits in Japan.

The workplace is where many misunderstandings happen, and work-life takes a central place in Japanese culture. That is why different work habits will take a significant part in this article.

Overtime? No, Thank You!

Although previous generations are used to do extra hours and work late into the night for the sake of their company and see it as the obvious thing to do, the younger generation values its private time more. They would instead leave on time, or after one or two extra hours, rather than take the last train (around midnight) like their superiors used to do when they were their age.

They Avoid Afterwork Drinks

Drinking with your superiors and your peers after work is customary in Japan and has always been perceived as a way to communicate between colleagues. If your superior invites you to drink, you are not supposed to refuse. However, like overtime, the younger generation tries to avoid such gatherings if possible. When they do participate, an increasing number of them prefer to drink non-alcoholic drinks or drinks with a lower alcohol percentage, which does not help generations used to relying on “nominication.”

They Have Low Company Loyalty

In Japan, young recruits learn their jobs on the spot, and it can take some time before they evolve into fully autonomous employees. For their superiors and older colleagues, the fact that many young employees suddenly quit after…

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Amélie Geeraert
Kokoro Media

Living in Japan since 2011. I love interviewing inspiring people.