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Feature: 'Working In Japanese Game Development: The Facts'

In this first part of an informative two-part Gamasutra series, pseudonymous Japan-based game creator JC Barnett looks at exactly how Western developers can enter Japanese
Just what does it take for someone in the Western world to uproot and get a job in the Japanese game industry? In this first part of an informative two-part Gamasutra series, pseudonymous Japan-based game creator JC Barnett looks at exactly how Western developers can enter Japanese game development, with tips on how to apply, visas, savings, language prerequisites, and more. Specifically in this excerpt, Barnett discusses some of the positive benefits that can come from moving to work in another country, while adding that there are some concerns that need to be taken into consideration as well: “For one, you’ll be learning another language and experiencing a new and vastly different culture than your own. This kind of cultural exchange can broaden the mind. You’ll see a bit of the world, or at the very least experience clock-watching in an open-plan office in a country other than your own. You’ll add valuable experience to your resume which can help you stand out from the crowd should you ever decide to move back home. Apart from anything else it’s a bit of an adventure. On top of that, life in Japan can be pretty rewarding, with delicious foods, relatively low crime rate and an open mind when it comes to tobacco and alcohol consumption. Where else in the world can a drunk man fall asleep in the middle of the street and wake up with his clothes and wallet intact? And though some things can be more expensive in Japan than elsewhere, with a decent tax rate to offset the non-existent bank interests, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to carve out a comfortable existence.” However, he later adds: “Such is the homogenous nature of Japan’s society that you will immediately and for evermore be clocked as an outsider. People who insist on going down this difficult path of integration invariably leave Japan bitter and twisted and full of hate. And besides, it is the fact that you are foreign that sets you apart in the job market; it is something you should remember and take note of. No, full integration is impossible, don’t even try it. Another dubious reason is probably the fact that you “love Japanese games.” A lot more titles get released in Japan than you’ll ever get to know about in the West, despite the internet, and surprisingly, not all of them are great.” You can read the complete feature now, which includes more insight into what Western developers can and should expect when considering a move to work in Japan, as well as some tried and true methods to make it happen (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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