In Japan, the start of the calendar year for schools and jobs is around April 1, so right now is an extremely important time for soon-to-be graduates to get out in the world and present their skill set to the multitude of companies. Students are scouring the “For Hire” magazines and attending as many job fairs as they can. For many job hunters, it is extremely important to do their research into the companies they want to work for. They will analyze every detail for the companies such as working hours, number of vacation days, and days off in a week.
Much to the surprise of these job hunters, they’ve been interpreting a set of kanji for “days off in a week” completely incorrectly. If it wasn’t for a train advertisement from a job website, some fresh new workers would have been in for a nasty surprise.
Japanese company culture is notorious for being insanely heavy on work, and light on personal life. Your dedication to the company takes huge precedent over…well anything else you’ve got going on. However, in general, people know exactly what they are signing up for when they choose a certain job. However, according to the reactions from netizens, there has been some serious miscommunication.
The deceiving kanji look like this, 週休2日制, and are read as shukyu futsukasei. Breaking the kanji up, it literally translates as “system of two days of weekly holiday”. Simple! So in a seven day week, two of these days must be a holiday! Screens on trains asked their passengers just what they thought the kanji meant, saying, “This set of kanji means every week has two days off, right?”
Wrong! It actually means that in a month, there is at least one week that has 2 days off. This can be easily understood by the following picture where the red days indicate days off in a week.
The last picture explains that what people thought the kanji meant is actually represented by the kanji: 完全週休２日制 (kanzen shukyu futsukasei) and means “system of two full days of weekly holiday”.
Minds were blown. It’s as if the phrase “two day work week” actually meant two days of holiday in one full week of work, rather than the normal interpretation of, two days of work in the week. Japanese people across the country reacted with disbelief. They were so stunned that the meaning of the kanji was not what they thought it was that their comments came out in short phrases and half-sentences:
“It’s a lie…right?”
“This has to be a lie.”
“What? What is this?”
“Huh?? What?? …HUH??”
Others seemed to know exactly what it meant but just seemed to be depressed by the reminder of their work schedules:
“It’s common knowledge; we live in a corporate slave world.”
“Getting 125 holidays a year would be an act of god.”
“Two days off a week at my company is pretty rare. If someone heard of people getting two days a week of holiday they would swiftly quit.”
There also seemed to be a large number of commenters who mostly ignored the dose of Japanese knowledge and instead focused on the presentation:
“I’ve always thought this, but the character on the bottom left is seriously cute.”
“A cute face but the information she tells us is ugly.”
The ad’s final message was clear, always be careful when looking for work, and make sure you read and interpret all the information properly! Fight-o!