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Understanding Japanese Work Culture with Aggretsuko

If you’re interested in Japanese culture, you’ve probably heard about Aggretsuko. This cute red panda character has become a symbol of the struggles of Japanese office workers. In this article, we’ll explore the world of Aggretsuko and use her experiences to understand the unique aspects of Japanese work culture.


Aggretsuko is a character created by Sanrio, the same company that brought us Hello Kitty. Unlike Hello Kitty, Aggretsuko is not all about cuteness and sweetness. She’s a 25-year-old office worker who is constantly frustrated with her job and her boss. To cope with the stress, she goes to karaoke bars and sings death metal songs.

Aggretsuko’s story is not just a cartoon. It reflects the reality of many Japanese workers who face long hours, low pay, and strict hierarchies. In this article, we’ll look at some of the key features of Japanese work culture that Aggretsuko embodies.

Hierarchy and Respect

One of the most important aspects of Japanese work culture is the emphasis on hierarchy and respect. In Japanese companies, there is a clear chain of command, and everyone is expected to show deference to their superiors. This means using polite language, bowing, and avoiding direct confrontation.

Aggretsuko’s boss, Director Ton, is a perfect example of this hierarchy. He’s a tyrant who constantly belittles his subordinates and demands absolute obedience. Aggretsuko and her colleagues have to endure his insults and unreasonable demands, even when they know he’s wrong.

Long Hours and Overtime

Another defining feature of Japanese work culture is the long hours and overtime. In Japan, it’s common for employees to work 60 or more hours per week, including weekends and holidays. This is known as “karoshi,” or death from overwork.

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Aggretsuko is no stranger to karoshi. She often stays late at the office, doing menial tasks or waiting for her boss to leave. She also has to deal with the pressure of deadlines and the fear of making mistakes. All of this takes a toll on her physical and mental health.

Group Harmony and Socializing

Despite the stress and exhaustion, Japanese workers are expected to maintain a sense of group harmony and socialize with their colleagues. This means going out for drinks after work, attending company events, and participating in team-building activities.

Aggretsuko’s coworkers are her only source of support and friendship in the office. They commiserate with her about their boss and share their own struggles. They also encourage her to let loose and sing her heart out at karaoke.

Perfectionism and Attention to Detail

Japanese work culture is known for its emphasis on perfectionism and attention to detail. In many industries, including manufacturing and technology, Japan is famous for its high-quality products and precision.

Aggretsuko’s job as an accountant requires her to be meticulous and accurate. She has to double-check every number and make sure everything balances perfectly. This can be frustrating and time-consuming, but it’s essential for the company’s reputation and success.


Aggretsuko may be a fictional character, but her story resonates with millions of Japanese workers who face similar challenges. By understanding her experiences, we can gain insight into the unique aspects of Japanese work culture. From hierarchy and respect to long hours and group harmony, Japanese work culture is complex and demanding. But it’s also full of camaraderie, dedication, and pride.

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Vocabulary Lists

– Karoshi: death from overwork
– Hierachy: a system of levels of authority in an organization
– Deference: respect and politeness towards someone
– Meticulous: very careful and precise
– Camaraderie: a feeling of friendship and mutual trust among people who spend time together

QuestionsUnderstanding Japanese Work Culture with Aggretsuko

1. Who created Aggretsuko?
2. What does Aggretsuko do to cope with stress?
3. What is “karoshi”?
4. What is one of the defining features of Japanese work culture?
5. What is the importance of group harmony in Japanese work culture?

1. Sanrio
2. She goes to karaoke bars and sings death metal songs.
3. Death from overwork.
4. Long hours and overtime.
5. Maintaining a sense of group harmony and socializing with colleagues.