12 Unique And Fun Jobs Using Japanese

More and more people who study Japanese these days eventually develop the somewhat vague, but very admirable goal of “using Japanese for work,” or “having a job where I can use Japanese.” This is one of the best goals you could possibly develop, since if you love Japanese and Japanese culture, a job that revolves around them will make that job enjoyable, and turn one of your biggest passions into your daily work life. It won’t be about trying to find the time to enjoy Japanese around your real job, but you will be further enjoying Japanese because of your real job.

The most common job that comes to mind to someone in your shoes is a translator or interpreter. After all, this is what you would assume someone who is fluent in Japanese can do. Both of these jobs are great and I hope that you can eventually get into these fields.

However it doesn’t just simply end there into a cookie cutter translator/interpreter job. There is a wide world out there where your Japanese is in demand. The following were real job advertisements that were looking for people fluent in Japanese to do exciting, unusual, and fun jobs.

12. Baseball Player Interpreter

I would think any baseball fans would love this. Not only do you get to interpret for an up and coming Japanese baseball player, travelling together with the team, but you actually get to assist in baseball practice? Bet you never thought your Japanese would be having you play baseball.

I guess the hardest part would be all the baseball-related Japanese you need to know. But since most of baseball is katakana words, it shouldn’t be too big of a problem. You do also need to be knowledgeable about baseball (that would count me out).

11. Hawaii Wedding Coordinator

Your chance to live and work in Hawaii, one of the top tourist destinations for Japanese people. The closest you can get to Japan without actually being in Japan. You get to help young Japanese couples get married at a beautiful location. While it looks like there is a requirement that you speak Japanese as a “mother tongue,” I’ve found that blowing someone away in an interview is often more than enough to get by this occasional “native” requirement, and showing them what you have to offer that a native Japanese person doesn’t have.

10. Nintendo Product Specialist

I know many of you start studying Japanese because you like video games. Well here is your chance to work at Nintendo. Yes, that Nintendo. While part of the job is simple video game translation from Japanese to English, it doesn’t stop there. There are a wide variety of exciting and fun job duties (check them out below). While I would assume this is a competitive job to get, I can imagine this being a dream job for some of you!

You’ll also notice something I’ve been saying for a while. Under the job requirements section, there are two requirements for “Undergraduate Japanese degree” and “JLPT 1 Certification.” Sometimes really large companies unfortunately may include this strict requirement (though I haven’t come across them that often). However, you will also notice the added phrase “or equivalent” at the end of both. This is there because you absolutely can prove your ability (with experience) without having either of these qualifications.

9. Anime Production

Did you know that there are people out there who study Japanese who like anime and manga? Did you know that some people solely start studying it for that reason? Well how about a job where you are at the center of the Anime universe and your job is to spread all that joy to the rest of the world? This definitely isn’t an easy job, and there are some strong qualifications required, but I would think for the right person, this would be anime bliss?

8. Football (Soccer) Researcher

Are you a fan of Japanese soccer? How would you like a job where you get to spend your time researching all aspects of Japanese soccer, including teams and players. Are you a gambler? Even better. What will all your research be going towards? World soccer peace? Close. It will help the company make proper “betting decisions.” Definitely not your typical job. What do you think? Enter the gambling soccer world as a consultant?

*Note: I know, this is a London based company and I should be using the word “football.” Please forgive me.

7. Cruise Ship Internet Guru

Here’s an interesting one. Sail around Japan on a cruise ship for 3 months. Then sail around Australia for another 3 months. Your job? Help Japanese customers use the internet on board. I would assume the complexities include how to press the power button, how to open internet explorer, and possibly even how to restart the computer.

6. Horse Ranch

Nature. Horses. Working with horses. Leading rides of Japanese customers on horses. Mount Fuji? Every day? Free room and board?

I’m a city person, so the thought of this job isn’t exactly the most pleasant, but I can imagine this being a lot of fun for nature lovers. Everything covered, get a bit of living near Mt. Fuji, and seeing a different aspect of Japan most foreigners don’t get to see.

What do you think? Worth it?

(Note: you can talk to the horses in Japanese, but they probably won’t talk back)
Horse Ranch Assistant

5. Manga Translator

Anyone who has ever read manga and started studying Japanese has probably wondered at one point what it would be like to have the dream job of translating manga. You get to spend all day reading manga and creatively reworking the language so the rest of the world can enjoy it the way you did.

Translation jobs come closer to reality as your skills rise, but manga translation jobs are hard to get, even when you are experienced. The reasoning is simple: would you rather translate fun comics or a boring manual on a car part? Competition is intense.

Well here is a chance to get a free trip to Japan and a job translating a new manga. You don’t even need experience. What you do need to do is prove your awesome talents by October 31st (that’s less than a week away) in this “Manga Battle Contest.”4 winners will be chosen. 1 gets to go to Japan and the other 3 will work from their home country.

High level users of Jalup: apply now. Looks like a good challenge to test out your skills.

Also, a big thanks to regular reader on Jalup, Octonion, for letting me know about this! He originally found out about this on Anime News Network and wanted to share it with all the other learners here.




4. Tour Guide

The tour guide. Introducing one country to the people of another. What does this mean to you? You have Japanese people, visiting your country, your city, rounded up for you, put together with you, and you get paid. Paid, and paid fairly well, to speak to them in Japanese, and have conversations, all day long with them. Practice, pay, and fun. That’s the triple right there.

And just for you wondering, licensing is pretty easy to accomplish.

Endless Job Possibilities With Japanese 9 - Tour Guide

3. Hip Fashionable Interpreter

Like fashion? Like talking fashion? Want to party with major Japanese fashion icons? Here’s your chance to get in on the street level and show your “fashion street smarts.”

Interpreting will take you to interesting places. Fashionable places (where you won’t find me…)

Hip Fashionable Interpreter 1

2. College Student NYC/Boston Guide

This is a great summer experience available for those who are college students with a summer vacation, have at least a low intermediate level of Japanese, and want to explore New York City or Boston with a bunch of native Japanese college students from Japan. I have a friend who did this last year, and he loved it. You stay with a group of visiting students in a dorm in NYC and/or Boston for a week, take them around exploring the city all week, and get all your expenses and stay covered.

He said it was a great experience, you make a lot of lasting friendships, you get to use your Japanese ability nonstop, and you get some great insight into Japanese college life.

You don’t have to be living in NY or Boston, as long as you do a bit of research in advance about how to get around and what to do in each city. This is something I would’ve loved to do if I were in college.

Jobs Using Japanese 11 - College Student NYC - Boston Guide

1. Park Ranger

Like nature? How about living in Alaska? How are you gonna use your Japanese in Alaska?

Park ranger!

Apparently there are a lot of Japanese tourists heading to Alaska these days. You will be the beautiful national park’s go-to-person, doing everything from interpreting programs, guided walks, public address commentaries, talks, cruise ship activities and more.

This job has a very intense application and you must be a U.S. Citizen, but it’s a unique outdoor way to use your Japanese and I’m sure the experience of a lifetime.

Here’s where you’ll be working:

Jobs Using Japanese 12 - Park Ranger 2

Jobs Using Japanese 12 - Park Ranger 3

Here are some of the details below. The actual website description is incredibly long so I’m just taking a small sample of it.

Job Title:Park Ranger (Interpretation/Japanese), GS-0025-07

Department:Department Of The Interior

Agency:National Park Service

Job Announcement Number:SROC-GLBA-15-1247525


$21.98 to $21.98 / Per Hour


Monday, December 8, 2014 to Wednesday, December 17, 2014




Full Time – Temporary NTE 1039 Hours


4 vacancies in the following location:
Bartlett Cove, AK View Map


United States Citizens


Not Applicable




Experience your America by building a fulfilling career by joining the National Park Service. The National Park Service preserves unimpaired, the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.


From April 20 (fixed start date) through mid-September provide front-line interpretation and visitor services. Research, prepare and present a variety of original interpretive programs, including digital illustrated programs, guided walks, public address commentaries, talks, off-vessel activities, and children’s programs. Work is performed aboard a variety of ocean-going vessels, working both independently and collaboratively as part of a diverse team of NPS, concession, and partner organizations to accomplish established visitor experience goals. Assignments include staffing a high profile and sometimes stressful, multi-tasked information desk on board cruise ships and tour vessels, as well as staff on-site visitor center.  Handle visitor information requests, sell publications and educational materials, and complete assigned projects.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS: The work involves extensive periods (up to 15 hours) of standing and walking on ships, sometimes including steep stairways and narrow companionways. The majority of duties occur outdoors and on vessels (cruise ships and tour boats) with variable shifts ranging from 10 to 15 hours. Will be leading off-trail hikes wearing a daypack and must negotiate rocky shorelines and potentially slippery intertidal zones, rough surfaces and inclines. Moderate lifting is required, and most duties require wearing a daypack of supplies and interpretive materials. The work is performed in settings in which there is regular and recurring exposure to moderate discomforts and unpleasantness, e.g., low temperatures, confined spaces or adverse weather conditions (frequent drizzle and wet, windy conditions).

OTHER REQUIREMENTS:  This position requires conversational fluency in Japanese and English languages. The employee must be able to deliver critical safety information and provide orientation and interpretive messages to Japanese speaking visitors.


Applicant must possess conversational fluency in the Japanese language in addition to English, because the employee must be able to deliver critical safety information, interpretive messages, answer questions, and provide orientation and interpretive message to Japanese speaking visitors.  (MUST SUPPORT IN RESUME OR WILL BE RATED INELIGIBLE FOR CONSIDERATION)

Ready to work?

What do you think of the above jobs? Any of them sound interesting and you would’ve been interested in giving them a try? Know of any other unique jobs where you use Japanese?

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


12 Unique And Fun Jobs Using Japanese — 46 Comments

  1. I’m not really a 野球 guy.
    But, it’s cool to know there are different jobs like this that require Japanese available. I’m interested in seeing more from this series.
    Apparently there aren’t many baseball fans on JALUP. Hopefully, we’ll find some jobs that can spark a little more conversation.

  2. What I love about translation is the freedom you can get just by having a job with translation. You can have the freedom of doing it within your own timetable, there are plenty of jobs out there and you can expand as well.

    The problem I’m having is breaking into the translation industry and getting work going. My problem is I don’t have much “Experience” with translation for Japanese to English as of yet. I do know Japanese (Have no problem reading, understanding and listening). Then again my speaking is lacking with my writing (so maybe I shouldn’t try going into translation at the moment). Then again, most people said all you really need is the ability to read/understand Japanese and have be good English writer (since that’s the skill that is being tested the most).

    P.S. some background info: been studying Japanese for close to 3 years now (it will be 3 years this fall). I’m taking JLPT Level 1 this winter and I’m working on getting my speaking/writing up on par with my reading/understanding skills by next year).

    • There are a few sites where you need absolutely no experience, or even having to take a test, to begin translating. Your work is rated by other translators and then if accepted by the asking party, you will get credit for it. Once you build up enough credit you can get paid. While these sites probably don’t pay as much as traditional translation services, it is a way to get experience while still actually getting paid for it, rather than just doing a personal project.
      I’m not sure if that is something you’d be in to right now, but I just thought I’d point out that there are other options than going straight to a translation agency if you weren’t aware of them.

      And while this job isn’t quite where I want to end up, it is quite interesting; something I would actually consider doing, perhaps. It is nice to see that there are jobs out there where the requirements basically come down to being awesome at Japanese and video games.

      • Thanks for the comment. I wouldn’t mind doing that actually. At the moment pay isn’t my concern, just building up experience and references is (I have 2 jobs, so money isn’t a problem). If you can link it or maybe send me a pm message, that would be really helpful.

        Thank you doushite!

      • Here are a couple, I’m sure there are more.
        You’ll have to look for the small links that mention becoming a translator「翻訳者になる」(gengo) or translators click here 「翻訳者はこちら」(conyac).
        Btw, I totally don’t know how to send a PM.
        Good luck!

    • アメド, I was just curious about some of your stats as I’ve been considering looking at translation as well (not quite there yet) and I’m still kind of uncertain how my abilities compare to other people learning Japanese. When you say that you “have no problem reading, understand, and listening,” do you mean that you pretty much understand every word you come across in books and on TV and rarely need a dictionary? Thanks!

  3. ARGH!! Too bad my level of Japanese is neither high enough, nor do I think this position will last till I am good enough.

    Though, I don’t really care, since I do not see myself as working there. The pay isn’t high enough, and I’m rather ambitious.

  4. Nope. Too scared. I can’t swim and I have a phobia of water. But that looks like an easy job, but enjoyable. Using Japanese while sailing on a cruise ship for 6 months is amazing.

    • Yup, every job listed in this series is real. Unfortunately, this ad was from March, so I’m assuming they filled the position. You can try using the Craig’s List e-mail address. Maybe they are still looking for people?

  5. I have a question, is it possible to become a voice actor in Japan, if you are at native level. Acting is my passion and becoming a voice actor for anime (in Japanese, of course) is becoming much more intriguing for me. I’m not native level yet, but that doesn’t matter since I’m moving to Japan in 7-8 years, not now.

    • This sounds like a great question for “Hey, Answerman!” over on Anime News Network. The column has discussed breaking into US voice acting in the past, and the current author is very knowledgeable about the business on both sides of the Pacific. Good luck!

  6. I just submitted my entry after several nights of toil. I came to realise just how important having a patient editor is. I wish all other entrants good luck!

  7. Gaaawdh I wish my Japanese level had been higher!
    “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for them’ meddling kids! Next time…” – random Scooby reference..

    • I’m sure there will be future opportunities like this. I’ve seen a few open application contests like this in the past. So all that is left is to keep kicking ass at Japanese.

  8. I once managed a 700,000+ word translation about a games software and imagined it must have been more interesting for the translators than the usual drone (contracts, medical reports and financial papers) I usually get. But translation can be great since you can work where and when you want. I’ve been doing it for the past 20+ years and love the freedom of taking my job anywhere. The best way I found to enter this industry is by approaching as many translation agencies as possible: http://homeworktranslationjobs.com/ Easiest way to match up you areas of expertise with demand, rather than rely on a limited number of providers.

    • Thanks for providing some info about the industry as I know many people here are interested in breaking into it.

  9. The winners were announced a few days ago. The winning translations are available for anyone curious, along with some comments from the judges. Since there was no announcement here I assume none of the winners are jalupians?

    • Not that I know of. But I’m sure the readers that did enter from here worked really hard and hopefully it was a good experience.

  10. It’s always good to know more jobs available to Japanese learners (and natives!). It can get tiring when all people can think of and suggest is English teaching. For a job using Japanese this seems like a great opportunity as it looks as if you’d be speaking Japanese pretty much all the time. Thanks for posting alternative jobs using Japanese :)

    • Yeah, there is definitely a lot more out there. People just need to look, and they’d be surprised at some of the exciting opportunities that may be waiting!

  11. Another great job opportunity in (I admit) a slightly unexpected place. Thanks for sharing and showing the diversity out there.

  12. Ok, baseball interpreter sounds like an amazing job. I already love baseball and I would die of happiness if I could do that. A good few years away but I can dream, right?

    • Definitely dream and work towards making that dream a reality. This type of position will continue, and as long as you get your Japanese high enough, gain experience, and can show your baseball specialty knowledge, you have a shot in the future of getting a job like this.

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