Finding a Startup Job in Japan – with Wei Chen (Tokyo Talent Sourcer)

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Finding a Startup Job in Japan? - Podcast with Wei Chen

Japanese work culture often has a reputation for long hours and a strict hierarchy. However, in recent times, there have been changes to relieve this pressure. I also suspect a new wave of startups in Japan have started to embrace the need for more work-life balance and diversity to attract talent. I interviewed Wei Chen about how foreigners can find a startup job in Japan with limited Japanese proficiency.

Born in Taiwan and having studied abroad in the US & UK, Wei found herself in Japan seven years ago and has managed to embed herself into the Tokyo startup ecosystem despite being a foreigner. She currently works as a freelance talent sourcer, helping match startup companies to great talent.

Listen to this episode to hear Wei’s story about:

  • Moving from Taiwan to the US to Japan
  • How she found her 1st job in Tokyo
  • How she got permanent residency (PR)
  • Advice for other foreigners in finding a start-up gig
  • Barriers as a female foreigner in Japan
  • Potential pathways for people who aren’t fluent in Japanese

If you want to find out more, feel free to reach out to Wei on Linkedin!

I’ve also done a podcast (no video) a while back on a similar topic – a guest who secured a job in Japan despite being a foreigner. Give it a listen!   

Timestamps / Topics


  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:57 – Wei’s introduction
  • 2:25 – Why did she move to Japan?
  • 7:25 – Why did she stay in Japan?
  • 9:10 – Being an Asian foreigner in Japan. Pros & Cons
  • 10:45 – Main cultural barriers in Japan
  • 12:50 – Challenges of being a female foreigner in Japan

Finding a Job in Japan

  • 17:40 – How Wei found her 1st job in Japan
  • 23:10 – What does Wei do as a talent sourcer?
  • 26:50 – Advice for foreigners finding a gig in Japan.
  • 28:26 – Advice for foreigners who aren’t fluent in Japanese? Potential industries?
  • 30:30 – English teaching in Japan as a starting point?
  • 21:15 – Recruitment jobs in Japan … how does it work without Japanese proficiency?
  • 33:40 – Applying for big Japanese corporations?
  • 35:16 – Visa options (working holiday, freelance etc). How Wei got Permanent Residency in Japan
  • 40:00 – Is Japan open to foreigners to get visas/jobs?
  • 42:50 – Scholarships?
  • 46:50 – Is doing a 2nd degree in Japan worthwhile?
  • 48:35 – Wei’s thoughts on the startup ecosystem in Tokyo

Life in Japan

  • 50:15 – Wei’s life in Japan.
  • 51:50 – Raising a child in Japan
  • 54:30 – Wei’s future plans. Final thoughts/conclusion.