Marketing Jobs in Japan for Foreigners

By Asama Toyozawa | Date : August 30th, 2020

There are marketing jobs in japan for foreigners, you just have to know where to look and know what is available for you. Whether you are curious about marketing salaries in Japan, where to find these marketing positions, or becoming a marketer, this is the perfect guide for you.

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    Marketing Industry in Japan

    Marketing is a field that has risen to becoming one of the most popular jobs available for all levels of individuals, from absolute novices to seasoned professionals. Many times, you will see that certain jobs are exclusively popular in a certain country, however not being as appealing in others. However, this field has gained attraction all over the world, and that includes one of the most advanced, but at the same time always late, Japan.

    Why always late you ask? That's because it's told that marketing techniques and trends in Japan are 2-3 years late from its peer of the West, the United States. This may be caused by the slower adaptation of English software to the Japanese language, but I believe the main reason lies somewhere else: the culture. As an island nation with a very homogeneous culture, this forces the nation to be rather late when it comes to adapting to foreign trends, with the effects being seen in many different areas, one of them being the marketing industry.

    Although the level of marketing may be a bit lower than the West, the demand for these positions are increasing rapidly year by year, as companies come to realize the importance of the internet and other forms of promoting platforms. In this complete guide for marketing jobs in Japan, we'll go over the types of companies and positions, skills required, compensation, how you can find a job, and lastly if you're a beginner, how you can prepare to become a marketer.

      marketer working at home in japan

      What Companies Employ Marketers in Japan

      If I were to give you the short answer, it would be every and any company. All firms will need a method to bring attention to their yet to be known product, hence marketers are needed in any type of company (which is why this position is so appealing, with a great prospect for the future too).

      But for this article, let me divide the most likely options that marketers in Japan have into 3 types.

      Manufacturing/Service Company
      Every company that creates a product or service, will need someone to send the news to the world and actually make the sale. Automobile, daily goods, cafes and even train companies  like JR would likely have a marketing division. Some firms however, may actually rely their marketing efforts completely to an advertising agency.

      Advertising Agency
      If you're truly hoping to become an expert in marketing, you may be the most interested in this one. Advertising agencies are companies that offer marketing services for other companies, usually covering areas from target research, managing Google and Yahoo ads, SNS, TV advertising, and many more. The specific service provided by each company would depend on its size and areas of expertise. Big companies such as Dentsu and Hakuhodo provide services from web marketing to mass-marketing mediums (TV, Newspaper).

      Project based (Freelance)
      This may be a comparatively rarer choice, and one that is only available for experienced marketing professionals. Japan is starting  to see the advantage in the flexibility of hiring freelancers on seperate projects, and it is beginning to become a norm of becoming a freelance marketer. 

        marketing events in Japan


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        Types of Marketing Positions in Japan

        Marketing is a broad term that could include many different positions, with each being very different from each other. Here's some to list and their descriptions:

        CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

        There is no business without customers, and it's crucial for the success of a business to learn as much as you can about your target audience. CRM's key responsibility is to analyze the data of the targeted customer base, and think of ways to utilize this data in the respective marketing strategies.

        Marketing Design
        After the analysis of the target audience is completed and you have an idea of the lifestyle of your customer base, the Marketing Design team comes in to create ideas/products based on the data, as well as build the package designs and be in charge of areas related to graphic design. This team changes the data acquired into a marketable product.

        Digital Marketing
        This position is one of the most demanded in recent years, with the huge increase in advertising spending on web advertisements. Digital Marketing personnel, as the name suggests, would be in charge of deeply analyzing the actions done on the web by the targeted customer base, and using this to provide web marketing strategies. The methods of analysis could be from checking what people bought, what keywords are being searched, and even the history of contents being seen.

        SNS Marketing
        Some may think that SNS Marketing is identical to digital marketing, but many companies choose to separate these 2 departments (especially advertising agencies). Individuals in this position manage the social media of the company in order to achieve branding, get new fans, and also reach new leads through SNS advertisements. The most popular SNS being used in Japan are Twitter and Facebook.

        Content Marketing
        Another position that is heavily in demand, these professionals are responsible for all the contents that you see such as videos and articles/blogs. Having these contents help in terms of SEO, branding, building trust with the customers, and potentially getting new leads after convincing targets with your media.

        Influencer Marketing
        With the rise of SNS and other entertainment mediums such as YouTube, marketing strategies  that utilize famous influencers have risen up to be one of the most effective methods to reach consumers. These influencers could be anyone from a TV star, You Tuber, instagrammer, blogger, and many more. Asking these individuals with influence in society to share about your product positively usually leads to a great increase in sales.

          Skills are needed for a marketing position in Japan

          The 3 main attributes needed to excel in a marketing position in Japan are the following:

          Market/Data Analytical Skills
          It’s important for marketers to be able to answer the following questions when doing market research: “What kind of data do I need”, “Where can I find that data”, and “How I can I find that data”. With the recent improvements in IT services such as Google Analytics, it has become very easy to collect important data that would be crucial in creating marketing strategies. However, if you can’t ‘understand’ what lies beneath the data, you’ll just be looking at numbers, and no company wants a marketer like that.

          Communication Skills

          In order to be a successful marketer, you are required to learn deeply about the people you engage with. The more you know about different individuals, the more you can imagine their lifestyles and create strategies that hit the right spot. Hence, it will help greatly if you are the type to be able to communicate effectively. Not to mention, a job in marketing would need a lot of teamwork, from analysis, design, and consulting, further supporting this point.

          Strategy Planning Skills
          It is important for a marketer to successfully convert the data and analysis to an actual marketing strategy, starting from setting the objective and target personas, as well as correctly implementing the marketing mix 4P into their planning process.

          In order to learn the necessary marketing skills required for the Japanese market, you will need to learn concepts and ideas that are written by someone who works in that environment. I personally write a blog that covers the topic. For those who are interested, check it out Markevell

            Salaries for Marketing Jobs in Japan

            This point may be of the most interest for you readers looking to consider a marketing job in Japan. The salary of marketers vary greatly on different age groups, as well as if you’re experienced or not, hence I will list the yearly salary based on age. Remember that this is an average, and that there will always be outliers.

            20s (such as new-grads)

            ¥ 3,000,000  -  4,500,000


            ¥ 5,000,000


            ¥ 6,000,000


            ¥ 7,000,000

            As you can see, if we compare it to the average salary of businessmen in Japan, which is ¥4,000,000, we can consider a job in marketing to pay higher than the average. A marketing position in a big foreign company tends to pay higher than Japanese companies, with some having a starting salary from ¥8,000,000 and going above ¥10,000,000. Nonetheless, it is apparent that a job in marketing would be very appealing in terms of its salary.

            The above was for the general consensus; let me briefly touch on the outliers, the kind of positions that go beyond the average, to levels above ¥10,000,000. Depending on your experience in the marketing field, you may be able to receive between ¥10,000,000 and ¥15,000,000, in positions that will require high amounts of responsibility, such as a marketing director. However, these positions will require you to have a native level in Japanese fluency (if the target customers are Japanese). There are cases however, where companies are looking for marketing directors that are experienced with foreign markets, in which case your fluency in the Japanese language may not be as important.

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              Considering a Career in Marketing?

              With Japan beginning to throw away its old culture of shuushin-koyou (終身雇用), which means to work in one company for your whole career, it is becoming more common for people to be switching jobs regularly. So how is the situation with changing companies from a marketing position? For the moment and the foreseeable future, it seems bright with the demand continuously on the rise. This applies especially for foreigners and bilinguals of English and Japanese, as companies are increasingly being aware of the rising foreigner population in Japan, as well as ones considering taking their product overseas. Hence, it will likely be stress free when changing to a different company.

              If you hope to change your job to something that’s not related to marketing, you will see some challenge depending on the position. For example, if it is something like a Sales position, which does not require you to have exclusive skills, you will be fine, however if it is something that requires more expertise such as finance, you will likely find more challenges.

                Where to find marketing jobs in Japan

                So where do we find these jobs? What companies hire foreigners? What about a visa?

                There are numerous ways to find marketing positions in Japan, however they are mostly in Japanese, which makes it rather difficult to navigate through them as a foreigner that’s not very fluent in Japanese. Not to mention, some firms may not be willing to accept foreigners because of the possible visa risks.

                My friends at BFF Tokyo have a complete guide on the methods to finding a job in Japan that are friendly to foreigners, as well as answering any questions you may have about a Japanese work visa.

                Here's some places where you can find marketing jobs out right now, in the order of my recommendation:

                High Paying Marketing Jobs

                For those who are more experienced and deem their expertise to be valued more than the average salaries, try taking a look at the following pages.

                Marketing Agency Positions

                For most agency positions, you need to either visit their website or meet someone who works or runs one during a networking event in Japan. My friend runs a successful marketing agency in Japan and is looking for experienced marketers to join his team over at Humble Bunny. They offer profit sharing and flexible work schedules and is good place for team players who also want flexibility.

                ※ Please note that they are only looking for people who already have a visa and are based in Japan.

                Advertising Agency
                If you're truly hoping to become an expert in marketing, you may be the most interested in this one. Advertising agencies are companies that offer marketing services for other companies, usually covering areas from target research, managing Google and Yahoo ads, SNS, TV advertising, and many more. The specific service provided by each company would depend on its size and areas of expertise. Big companies such as Dentsu and Hakuhodo provide services from web marketing to mass-marketing mediums (TV, Newspaper).

                  Marketing Jobs for Beginners

                  Many companies accept individuals with no experience, as long as they have the motivation to become a highly capable marketer in the future. However, one thing to note is that Japanese ability will be of high importance, as the customers that you will be marketing to will be predominantly Japanese, requiring you to do copy writing in Japanese, and also think like one (learn the language Japanese effectively).

                  On the other hand, that is not to say that you don't have a chance if you don't speak the language. If the targeted customers of the company are foreigners, your fluency in Japanese won't be required, instead they'll want to know your cultural values and your ideas as a foreign national!

                  With that in mind, there are many resources as well as methods that you can utilize to successfully learn more about marketing, before you even apply for a position. Here are some of my recommended tips:

                  marketers in networking event in japan

                  Paid internships
                  What better way to learn the job than to actually experience working in one? You'll have much less responsibility than a full-time position, however doing an internship would help enormously for your skills and career. Not only do you get to learn the basics and increase your knowledge, you have the opportunity to use what you learned on the job as a form of output.

                  Here's some places where you can find internships:

                  Wantedly (highly recommended):



                  If you want to learn more about internships, we have created a full guide on how to find an Internship in Tokyo.

                  Reading Marketing Resources (for Japan)
                  There are many blogs, articles, and books that cover the topic deeply, so try reading these materials to have a basic understanding of the trends, techniques, and the market. I also personally share digital marketing resources that are focused on Japan, hence if you are interested, be sure to check it out here: Markevell (English)
                  Some other resources I recommend:

                  Joining Marketing Communities in Japan
                  There are SNS groups where some of the best English marketers in Japan share news about the trends in the Japanese market. Joining these would allow you to be more aware of what’s going on, as well as understand how marketers think and act towards different news. Sometimes, they even share precious marketing strategies too!

                  Professional Networking Events
                  Lastly, it would be joining professional networking events. Many professionals, including marketers, join these events to meet new people and share their knowledge with others in the  market. Not to mention, usually these events are merged together with a seminar or workshop that teaches a certain concept, so if you can find one that is about marketing, you hit two birds with one stone!

                  Here are some great communities that host these professional events

                  Nowadays, networking is essential to find a great job, also in the marketing field. To learn more about the importance of networking, read our guide to networking in Japan.

                  Asama Toyozawa - The Marketing Enthusiast

                  Asama is an international marketer/writer who is currently in Tokyo, and works at a Japanese advertising agency that targets small-medium sized companies. While learning new marketing strategies and market movements, he hopes to share the knowledge and support the startup community in Japan through the power of Web/Digital Marketing.

                  Check out his blog where he shares marketing trends and techniques focused on the Japanese market:

                  marketing enthusiast giving speech in japan

                  Interested in Contacting Asama?

                  You can reach out to him on LinkedIn


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