Japanese Culture and Traditions: Company Entrance Ceremony by Japanese Companies

Toyota entrance ceremony where the president Akio Toyoda talked to new employees
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Japanese-style job hunting: New graduates start all together

All the schools (elementary, junior-high, high, and college & university) start from April to next-year March in Japan. March is the season of graduation. As this may sound strange to people outside Japan, all the high school and university graduates join companies and start working in April all at once. For one year before graduation, many companies throw recruiting sessions to hunt promising youths, and final-year university students spend most of their time in those sessions, instead of attending class.

I remember the days of my senior year. I didn’t see classmates much in the university campus. Even if I did, they just made me feel sad by their neat and tidy look for recruiting sessions. Anyway, job hunting and employment are huge for both new graduates and companies because the idea of lifetime employment remains strong in our minds. According to this system peculiar to Japan, almost all the companies hold their entrance ceremonies in April.

Company entrance ceremonies are for awareness-raising

I was such an idiot as not to seriously think about job hunting in my senior year. Consequently, I changed jobs two times and experienced three different entrance ceremonies for only three years after graduation. What I’ve learned from my abundant experience is that entrance ceremonies focus on changing the attitudes of new graduates for the work awaiting for them. In Japan, more than 30% of new graduates leave their jobs for their first three years. I think entrance ceremonies have a role as an awareness-raising event in order to avoid the worst scenario.

My career started from the military. I didn’t need any ceremony because GI haircut roused me up from my lazy university life. On the other hand, general companies can’t force GI haircut for rookies, of course. This is the reason why Japanese well-managed companies see entrance ceremonies as important.

Company entrance ceremony of TOYOTA

I like the CEO of TOYOTA. He is from the founding family, but his father never gave special treatment to his son. He climbed to the top after getting through all kinds of hardships. In the entrance ceremony in 2019 (the above image is of sometime before 2019), he revved the engine of a sports car on the stage. He later explained with a smile “They would forget my speech soon but not the engine reviving sound,” but his speech for the entrance ceremony is always amazing, as a matter of fact. We can see he has selected every single word and phrase very carefully.

A commemorative photo shot taken after the company entrance ceremony of CondeHouse. There are the chairman and president of CondeHouse, and eight new employees.

Company entrance ceremony of CondeHouse

Next week, we welcome new faces. Of course, we will have an entrance ceremony. Soon after the ceremony, one-week training sessions will start. I think this system is good for our size company (between small and medium). The problem is we, the general managers of the respective divisions, are supposed to give lectures about our business affairs. May the force be with me not to ruin the company’s efforts.


Photo Credit: https://toyotatimes.jp/en/spotlights/134.html


Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.


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