東京シューカツ狂想曲 シューカツってなんだ?東京就活生の現実 Tokyo Job Hunting Extravaganza The harsh realities of finding a job after college


Ryo Asai’s Naoki Prize winning bestseller ‘Nanimono!’ got a film adaptation this October. The story follows a college student who embarks on a journey of self discovery as he enters the job market.

Flickr user Dick Thomas Johnson (Dick Johnson)


Job hunting here can be harsh. You apply to as many companies as you can only to get rejected by most if not all. Hard work equates to nothing here. Nor does talent. It’s not much of a stretch to think of it as a brutal initiation ceremony to rest of your life which, surprise, isn’t going to go as planned.
From the outside it certainly looks like a ritual. Everyone wears the same recruit suits with more or less the same haircuts, sometimes being compared to Star Wars’ stormtroopers. Unlike droids or clones, the stormtroopers enlisted into the Empire of their own will, making it a strangely fitting analogy.
OK, so what’s the whole point of this ritual that’s turning our youth into stormtroopers? To find out we asked members of Generation Z getting ready to go on the hunt themselves.


When I see others around me, I feel like I have to do ‘something’ (M-san, 21)


Meet M-san, who’s getting ready to enter the job market next year. She’s already gotten a head start as of September 2016.
“I feel this intense pressure to do an internship, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. Even a 5 day internship requires an application and interview process.”


The internships she’s referring to began as a way for students to get some on the job experience but have turned into a system where it’s hard to get into a company unless you interned for them. So more than an experience internships have become an essential.
“My friends who’ve already gone through this say that internships are a good way to get to know other students and raise my motivation. Still, I just imagine myself getting turned off by the whole thing. Honestly I don’t want to do it at all but it seemed to work for my friends so I feel like I have to do ‘something.’”


Exaggerating about “applying to 15 different companies” (A-san, 21)


College senior A-san just finished job hunting, but she’s less than hopeful about her future.


“Job hunting was so hard. My friends gave me advice like ‘you need to self-analyze’ or ‘emphasize your strengths,’ but it all left me feeling sick. Like, I didn’t think I had any strengths to speak of. I don’t really have any specific career vision so I just looked at salary and location. In the end I only applied to 6 companies. Everyone else I know would say they applied to 20 or 30, so to avoid embarrassment I told friends I applied to 15 (laughs). I wound up getting offers from 3 of the companies. I think things started to go better once I stopped applying and started focusing on polishing my entry sheets with help from friends. You really have to sell yourself on the entry sheets and at interviews. That was also tough for me. In the end I got a job but I’m not sure I’ll fit in there, or if I want to work at all.”
Here’s what A-san said when we asked if she could go through that again:
“Absolutely no way, so I’ve got no choice but to stay at the company that hired me.”


I have goals, so I was able make it through by pushing toward them (U-kun, 22)


Next we spoke with college senior U-kun who’s still in the middle of his job hunt despite already getting offers from 4 highly sought after corporations
“My dream is to become a pilot, so I want to keep fighting until I’m able to realize it”
U-kun started towards his dream with internships at an airline company and the like during the summer of his junior year. For him that’s when the job hunt really began.


“Some internships could lead directly to employment so I was really pro-active. When they didn’t work out I felt like the world was a cruel place, but I also felt more motivated to succeed. I asked someone in advertising who I met at a school seminar to look over my entry sheets, so they were never really an issue. Looking back I’m grateful for the time I spent with the other interns too. Connections are an important part of job hunting.”
When we asked if he could do it again U-kun said:
“Sure. In fact I want to. I wish I could do it all over again knowing what I know now.”


A ritual of self-discovery/ A ritual of change/ A ritual of acceptance

インタビューを通じて面白かったのは、AさんとUくんの対照的な姿だった。Aさんは、 “企業が求める自分”を作ることに、強い抵抗を感じていた。一方のUくんは、「自分に適性がないなら適性を作りたいし、やりたいことができるように自分を変えていきたい」と、社会に適応することを前向きに感じている。

The contrast between A-san and U-kun’s experience was rather interesting. While trying to become what employers expected of her left A-san feeling awful, U-kun’s more positive take on it was “If I’m not adequate I’ll change in order to meet my ultimate goal.”
You’ll learn what you think of yourself and what others think of you. What you lack, and what changes it will take to improve. Also, you’ll learn to accept yourself even if you couldn’t change.


Yourself, yourself, yourself.

シューカツは、“企業”という名の社会と向き合う前に、「まずは自分と向き合え」と、学生を突き離す。いわゆる“自分探しの旅”へ強制的・受動的に旅立たせられる儀式、それがシューカツなのだ。その時、自分の中に確固たる自分があれば、シューカツを前にしてひるむことも意気込むこともないのかもしれない。しかし、「その“確固たる自分”で、本当に良いの? 別の可能性、別の人生、別の“確固たる自分”もいるかもよ?」と、周囲の誰かが、企業が、社会がささやく。でもそのささやきは、優しさかもしれない。

If you haven’t realized by now, before students are able to face off against potential employers they have to stand up to themselves. You might call it a mandatory, passive journey of self discovery. If you’ve got a strong sense of who you are it might not be such a big deal. Then again, is who you are really enough? Maybe you’re wasting potential, or your life, or don’t know yourself at all? You might hear hints of these doubts coming from friends or companies. Maybe they aren’t necessarily bad things to consider.
One thing is for sure. Job hunting is an important coming of age ritual for people who’ve never challenged themselves before. If you look at it as a chance to overcome yourself you just might have a positive experience.


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