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Do Japanese people get Saturday off?


Japan is known for its hardworking culture and long working hours. However, there have been discussions about whether Japanese people get Saturdays off. In this article, we will explore the topic in detail to understand the working culture in Japan.

History of workweek in Japan

Japan has a long history of six working days a week, with Sunday being the only day off. The idea of having Saturdays off came from the Western world, which Japan adopted during the Meiji era. However, it was not until World War II that the government officially mandated a five-day workweek.

Japanese Snack Box

Current laws regarding Saturdays off

Currently, there are no laws that mandate employers to give Saturdays off to their employees. In Japan, the standard workweek is 40 hours per week, with any additional time considered overtime. However, many companies do offer Saturdays off as part of their benefits package.

Work culture in Japan

The work culture in Japan is known for its dedication and hard work. Many Japanese employees put in long hours at work, even exceeding the standard 40-hour workweek. This culture has been attributed to social norms such as loyalty and group harmony, which put pressure on individuals to work hard for their company.

Impact on mental health

The long working hours and lack of Saturdays off have been linked to mental health issues such as stress and burnout. In recent years, there has been an increase in awareness about the need for work-life balance and the importance of taking time off to rest and recharge.

Rise of remote work

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend of remote work in Japan. Many companies have adopted a hybrid model where employees can work from home part-time or full-time. This has given employees more flexibility and control over their schedules, including having Saturdays off.

Impact on productivity

There have been debates about whether shorter workweeks, including having Saturdays off, can increase productivity. Some studies have shown that reducing working hours can lead to higher productivity, while others argue that it can lead to a decrease due to the pressure to complete tasks within a shorter time frame.

Industries with Saturdays off

While many companies do not offer Saturdays off as part of their standard benefits package, some industries are more likely to offer this perk than others. These industries include hospitality, retail, and education.

Alternatives to Saturdays off

Some companies may offer alternatives to having Saturdays off, such as flexible schedules or half days on Saturdays. These options allow employees to have more control over their schedules while still meeting their job requirements.

Saturdays off in other countries

The concept of having Saturdays off is not unique to Japan. Many countries around the world have adopted a five-day workweek with Saturday and Sunday as the weekend. However, some countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran have Thursday and Friday as their weekend.

The future of Saturdays off in Japan

The trend towards remote work and flexible schedules may lead to more companies offering Saturdays off as part of their benefits package. However, it is unlikely that there will be any government mandates requiring employers to give Saturdays off.


In conclusion, while there are no laws that require Japanese employers to give Saturdays off to their employees, many companies do offer this perk as part of their benefits package. The long working hours associated with Japanese culture have been linked to mental health issues, leading to an increase in awareness about the need for work-life balance. The rise of remote work may lead to more companies adopting flexible schedules that include having Saturdays off.

Do people in Japan work Saturdays?

In Japan, husbands demonstrate their love by putting in hard work. However, weekends are highly valued as family time, and it’s unusual to see Japanese people working on Saturdays or Sundays.

What are the weekend days in Japan?

It’s important to note that in Japan, the week starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday. This is a minor detail but useful to know since many Japanese calendars follow this structure. So, before discussing this topic, it’s recommended to keep this in mind.

Does Japan go to school on Saturday?

In Japan, it used to be common for students to attend school on Saturdays. However, recent education reforms made Saturday classes optional, but some schools have started to reintroduce them.

Does Japan have a 4 day work week?

There are three different options for a four-day work week that companies can offer, based on whether the working hours and pay are adjusted. The first option involves employees working ten hours per day instead of the typical eight but maintaining the same weekly pay and hours.

Does Japan have a 6 day school week?

In Japan, the school week runs from Monday to Friday, but additional classes on Saturdays are optional in many schools. Due to the emphasis on academic success, a significant number of Japanese students attend these classes, making it seem like the school week is six days long.

Is Saturday a business day in Japan?

Japan Business Day refers to any day of the week, except for Saturdays and Sundays, or any other day when commercial banks in Tokyo, Japan are legally mandated to close.

Challenges in implementing Saturdays off

One of the challenges in implementing Saturdays off in Japan is the cultural pressure to work long hours. Many Japanese employees feel guilty for leaving work before their colleagues or superiors, which can make it difficult to take advantage of flexible schedules or time off. Additionally, some companies may be hesitant to offer Saturdays off due to concerns about productivity and meeting deadlines.

The benefits of having Saturdays off

Having Saturdays off can have many benefits for employees, including increased job satisfaction, improved mental health, and better work-life balance. It can also lead to increased productivity as employees are more well-rested and able to recharge over the weekend. Additionally, having Saturdays off can help attract and retain talent, particularly among younger workers who prioritize work-life balance.

Efforts to change the culture of overwork

In recent years, there have been efforts to change the culture of overwork in Japan. The government has introduced initiatives such as Premium Friday, which encourages companies to let employees leave early on the last Friday of every month. Additionally, some companies have implemented shorter workweeks or flexible schedules to promote work-life balance. However, changing deeply ingrained cultural norms around work will likely take time and sustained effort.

The role of government in promoting work-life balance

While there are no laws mandating Saturdays off in Japan, the government does play a role in promoting work-life balance. In addition to initiatives like Premium Friday, the government has introduced policies such as parental leave and childcare subsidies to support working parents. The government has also encouraged companies to adopt more flexible working arrangements and has provided funding for research on work-life balance.

The future of work-life balance in Japan

As Japan continues to grapple with issues related to overwork and mental health, it is likely that there will be continued efforts to promote work-life balance in the country. This may include initiatives such as shorter workweeks, flexible schedules, and increased support for working parents. However, changing cultural norms around work will require a sustained effort from both the government and private sector.

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