Jobs in Japan

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Fri 2010/05/07 23:40 JST in Living in Japan Guide

Update - we've already got a load of strong submissions thus bringing deadline forward to this Friday.

If you are a developer and are looking for a one way ticket to Japan then read on.
This is comrade Heather - CEO of Rinkya. You may have seen her in photos of previous Tokyo CGM Nights. New Yorker Heather has been running her company in Japan now for nearly 10 years - Rinkya is a service that's been helping users outside of Japan bid on Yahoo Japan Auctions. For example if you was after a Dollfie then Rinkya would help you bid and ship the item to you. They even got features like auto bidding to help you bid while you sleep.

Today we got together to have the usual chat and Heather told me about how her company is continuing to expand and that she was looking for developers. I've previously posted job opportunities on DC which have lead to new opportunities for foreigners to work with great companies in Japan such as Good Smile Company, J-list and AmiAmi. Through my personal network I've also placed folks at companies such as Amazon and Apple too. I very much know what its like to want to live and work in Japan and I want to continue to spend my time to help as many readers to get here. I know that you are passionate about Japanese culture and I also know there is a ton of you out there who are talented and deserve more opportunities to get here. I'm only here to show you the door however - its up to you to walk through it.

This Website Manager position is open to anybody with a university degree located anywhere in the world. Rinkya will sponsor your visa and pay for you to get here. Rinkya could look for talent just locally but I think it makes more sense to open this opportunity up to everybody regardless of current location.

As a Web Manager for Rinkya, you will be working full time in Komae Tokyo where the Rinkya offices are located and will be reporting directly to Heather. This position is open for immediate hire but can wait for folks who need to give notice to their current boss (if any) and move over to Tokyo.
Apart from sponsoring your visa, Rinkya will also be your guarantor which you need when looking for an apartment to stay at. The Japanese Housing post contains useful info that you will need when looking for a place to stay.

Technical requirements

You will need to have hands on experience with PHP, MYSQL, HTML, CSS and JQuery. You will also be seasoned with Photoshop or any other graphic tool to help you produce graphics for the UI.
Your work will involve working with business owners like Heather, customer service and logistics. You are expected to prioritize tasks and execute in order of business priority.
You will be working on all aspects of the website including backend and frontend UI.
You will also be expected to work with packages like OS Commerce (Experience preferred but not necessary).

This position does not require any level of Japanese fluency but I recommend that you learn the lingo if you are to live here. Learning the language will help you enrich and enjoy your life in Japan even more.

You need to have a previous online profile (not one registered just for the job application) like Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. An online profile will help potential employers to make a hiring decision - its helped me in the same way previously and if you don't have one then I urge you to create one as soon as possible - it *will* help your career.


You do not need to have any previous work experience with an employer but need to give examples of your previous projects that you may have worked on in your own time. I'm helping Heather look for the right person and when I hire I don't care about qualifications at all - its about what you can deliver and not about what a piece of paper says you can deliver.
Some of my previous employers hired MBA's and PHD's who looked good on paper but turned out to be incredibly poor performers.
To judge whether you are good at what you say you can do, we ask candidates to do tests - its the same method that Nature used when I applied for the job. They provided me with a week worth of tests ranging from translating to subscription forecasts - came through with the results and was handed my one way ticket to Japan. Come up with the results and you will be handed your one way ticket too.

Your homework is to redesign the top page of Rinkya. Study the site to understand the business needs and proceed to redesign the top page - then create in HTML with separate CSS and JS files. The design task is to have a look at your design and UI capabilities and the HTML coding is to evaluate your coding skills. The design is completely up to you. Use CSS3 for any shadows and don't use tables for layout. You should QA your work in the latest version of IE, Firefox (Windows) and IE, Firefox and Safari (Mac). As a developer you should have access to means to QA on these platforms even if you don't use both.

Your work should be in the following folder structure which should be self explanatory:-
Once you are done, zip everything up and sent it to us via mail. Once we unzip your files, we should be able to see your work immediately by clicking on index.html.

We need to asses your PHP coding skills too.
Create a text field on the top page that allows users to enter some arbitrary text that will be tweeted to an account that you set up - call it Use JQuery to post the results through a PHP script and wait for the response - then display a message to the user notifying her that the post was successful. There should also be a counter to let the user know how much of the 140 characters they are using up for the tweet.

You also need to be able to work with little direction - nobody wants to micro manage you. This is why the above information should be enough for you to complete the task. You are expected to fill in any gaps though recommendations and make decisions to get the task completed.

Send your work zipped up to and CC . Your mail should contain a text based resume in the body of the mail (not an attachment) introducing yourself and outlining examples of your previous projects ( need to have links to your work online ).
Also include your Facebook or other online profile. You do not need to include previous work experience or list up previous education but bear in mind that you must have a university degree as that is a requirement when it comes to sponsoring your visa.
Please include your address and phone number too.

Good Luck

I think that's it. While the initial salary range (will depend on your abilities) wont enable you to buy a Nissan GTR in your first year (neither did mine when I first got to Japan), I think its a great opportunity to work with a dynamic international team in Tokyo. You will learn a lot about running a web business in Japan and also learn much about the various business areas involved such as logistics, costumer service, fulfillment and so on. Heather is a great lady who has years of experience at this game and you will learn a lot from her. All you have to do is to show that you can deliver.

We will review and consider applications as soon as they arrive. A seasoned developer should be able to do this in no more than 3 days. We will wait a few weeks however and will announce when we have found the right candidate.
Candidates will be contacted by mail and followed up with interviews through video chat on Skype. If you are already in Japan and applying for the position then you would be called into the Rinkya offices at Komae for further interviews.

Don't ask when the deadline is - because if you are really interested in the position and want to live and work over here then you will take the initiative to prioritize your time to work on the task and get it in as soon as you can.

After I have advised Heather on whether I believe you can do the job, I will hand you over to her and will leave both of you to continue the rest of the interview process - its then up to you ask Heather everything that you want to know and call out any concerns that you may have - I'm sure Heather will do her best to help you. An Interview is a two way process - you must evaluate and make the decision on whether to join a company and you must do that through asking questions so that expectations on both sides are set.

And a message for those who are interested in this position but feel they don't have the skills.
Life is very very short indeed. Get out of that comfort zone that you are in and take the initiative to do something for the future you. I took the initiative to learn HTML in my spare time when I was working at Japan Airlines back in London - it was that experience with HTML that helped me get through the tests at Nature and without it I would not have been able to seize the opportunity when I discovered it.
Don't wait for life changing events to happen - make them happen and make them happen now. The Tokyo Photo Walk 4 article should give you a kick start if you need one.