What jobs can bring me to Japan

Age research: New job instead of retirement - what we can learn from Japan

When age researcher Hiroko Akiyama is out and about in the Japanese capital, she is perfectly made up and wears elegant clothes by Japan's top designers. The professor at the elite University of Tokyo looks completely different when she pursues her second career. Then the 77-year-old wears misshapen work trousers and long-sleeved shirts, gloves, sturdy shoes and a towel around her neck, with which she wipes off her sweat in the sultry Japanese summer when she stands in the field.

Five years ago, the academic fulfilled a dream and bought a piece of land. "I have always admired the work of farmers," says Akiyama, explaining the motivation for her "second life". With this English term, which is increasingly used in Japan, she means her second working life, which for more and more Japanese people begins when they actually could retire.

For many Japanese, retirement is not a dream, but a horror. In hardly any other country in the world do people define themselves so strongly through their work. This is especially true for men who often have little contact outside of work and family.

Although women are better networked socially, they are often financially weaker in old age due to disadvantages in the labor market - and accordingly often still at the supermarket checkout in retirement.