There’s no such thing as “taking a break” after college to assess your life goals or career opportunities — not in Japan.
The third year of being college marks a wild and frenzied race towards a job. But we’re not just saying it. There’s even a Japanese word for it: “shuukatsu”.
This rite of passage is romanticised in ‘Recruit Rhapsody’ by Maho Yoshida, a furious and intense animation following the life of a young college girl as she competes with her peers to get a job.
We say it’s romanticised, but “hellish” is possibly closer to reality.
Captured in 7 minutes with a brilliant music composition, our protagonist is rudely catapulted into the feverish world of job hunting.
It’s filled with applications, career workshops, handbooks, peer pressure, interviews, waiting and rejection. There’s no lull. The music builds up with a frightening pace and pitch.
It’s a breathless and frightening journey that doesn’t end when the credits start rolling. Spoiler alert — she doesn’t get the job.
Work and career is a big part of Japanese society, and undergraduates dedicate about 18 months of their life to get that coveted job. Lifetime careers are norm. Employment drives are seasonal and begins in spring. Entrance requirements are rigorous. It drives some people to suicide.
Maho made this animation for her graduate animation programme at the Tokyo University of the Arts. Her website, in Japanese, here.