Art Jobs in Japan: How to Find and Apply
Are you an artist who wants to work in Japan? If so, you might be wondering what kind of art jobs are available, how to apply for them, and what are the benefits of working as an artist in Japan.
Japan is a country that has a long and rich history of art and culture, from ancient traditions like calligraphy, pottery and origami, to modern movements like manga, anime and video games. Japan also has a vibrant and diverse contemporary art scene, with many galleries, museums, festivals and events that showcase local and international artists.
Working as an artist in Japan can be a fulfilling and exciting career choice for artists who want to expand their horizons and perspectives. However, finding and applying for an art job in Japan can also be challenging and competitive, as there are many factors to consider, such as language, visa, portfolio, etc.
In this article, we will guide you through the process of finding and applying for an art job in Japan, and provide you with some tips and resources to help you succeed. We will cover the following topics:
- What are the types of art jobs in Japan?
- What are the requirements for art jobs in Japan?
- What are the benefits of working as an artist in Japan?
What Are the Types of Art Jobs in Japan?
There are many types of art jobs that exist in Japan, depending on your discipline, interest and goal. Here are some of the most common categories of art jobs that you can find in Japan:
Teaching is one of the most popular and accessible art jobs in Japan, as there is a high demand for foreign teachers who can teach English or other languages, as well as art subjects such as painting, photography, design, etc. You can teach at various levels and institutions, such as schools, universities, language centers, art studios, etc. You can also teach online or privately. Teaching can be a rewarding and flexible job that allows you to share your knowledge and skills with others, while also learning from them.
Residency is a program that offers artists the opportunity to stay and work in Japan for a certain period of time, usually ranging from a few weeks to a few months. During this time, artists can enjoy the facilities, resources and support provided by the residency organizers, as well as interact with the local community, culture and environment. Participating in a residency can have many benefits for artists, such as expanding their artistic horizons and perspectives, developing their skills and techniques, creating new artworks or projects inspired by their experience or surroundings, building their network and reputation by exhibiting their work or collaborating with other artists, having fun and enjoying themselves by immersing in the japanese lifestyle and traditions. There are many Japanese art residency programs, catering to different disciplines and backgrounds.
Gallery is a place that displays and sells artworks by artists, either on a permanent or temporary basis. Working in a gallery can involve various roles and responsibilities, such as curating, managing, marketing, selling, etc. Working in a gallery can be a great way to gain exposure and experience in the art world, as well as to network and connect with other artists, collectors, buyers, critics, etc. There are many galleries that exist in Japan, especially in major cities like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Some examples are:
- Ota Fine Arts: A contemporary art gallery in Tokyo that represents both japanese and international artists, such as Yayoi Kusama, Nobuaki Takekawa and Chen Wei.
- Mizuma Art Gallery: A contemporary art gallery in Tokyo that focuses on Asian artists, such as Ai Weiwei, Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba and Aida Makoto.
- Kyoto Art Center: A cultural institution in Kyoto that promotes contemporary art and culture through exhibitions, events and programs. The center also operates a gallery space that showcases local and international artists.
Museum is a place that collects, preserves and exhibits artworks or objects of historical, cultural or scientific significance. Working in a museum can involve various roles and responsibilities, such as researching, cataloging, conserving, educating, etc. Working in a museum can be a rewarding and challenging job that allows you to contribute to the preservation and dissemination of art and culture, as well as to learn from the experts and professionals in the field. There are many museums that exist in Japan, covering different genres and themes of art and culture. Some examples are:
- The National Museum of Modern Art: The first national art museum in Japan that exhibits modern japanese art from the Meiji period to the present day. The museum has branches in Tokyo, Kyoto and Saitama.
- The National Art Center: A unique art museum in Tokyo that does not have a permanent collection but instead organizes various exhibitions throughout the year. The museum also hosts educational programs and events for the public.
- 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art: A contemporary art museum in Kanazawa that features both japanese and international artists, such as Olafur Eliasson, Anish Kapoor and Yoko Ono. The museum also has a children’s workshop and a library.
Freelance is a type of work that allows you to work independently or on a project basis for different clients or employers. Working as a freelance artist can involve various tasks and projects, such as creating artworks or designs for commissions, publications, exhibitions, etc. Working as a freelance artist can be a flexible and creative job that allows you to work on your own terms and pace, as well as to explore different styles and mediums. However, working as a freelance artist can also be challenging and risky, as you have to manage your own time, finances, contracts, etc. To succeed as a freelance artist in Japan, you need to have a strong portfolio, a good reputation, a reliable network and a competitive edge. You also need to be aware of the legal and tax issues that may affect your work and income.
What are the requirements for art jobs in Japan?
The requirements for art jobs in Japan may vary depending on the type, level and employer of the job. However, some of the common requirements that you may encounter are:
- Education: Depending on the job, you may need to have a certain level of education or qualification in art or related fields, such as a diploma, degree or certificate. You may also need to provide transcripts, diplomas or certificates as proof of your education.
- Experience: Depending on the job, you may need to have a certain amount of experience or skills in art or related fields, such as teaching, curating, managing, etc. You may also need to provide references, recommendations or testimonials as proof of your experience.
- Portfolio: Depending on the job, you may need to have a portfolio that showcases your artworks or projects in a professional and attractive way. Your portfolio should reflect your style, personality and vision as an artist, as well as your suitability for the job. You may also need to provide a website, blog or social media account that displays your portfolio online.
- Language: Depending on the job, you may need to have a certain level of proficiency in Japanese or English or both languages. You may also need to provide certificates, tests or samples as proof of your language skills. For example, you may need to have JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) certificates.
- Visa: Depending on your nationality and the duration of your stay in Japan, you may need to have a valid visa that allows you to work legally in Japan. You may also need to provide documents such as passport, resume, contract or invitation letter as proof of your visa eligibility. For example, you may need to have a working holiday visa, a cultural activities visa or a designated activities visa.
What are the benefits of working as an artist in Japan?
Working as an artist in Japan can have many benefits for you personally and professionally. Some of the benefits are:
- Salary: Depending on the job, you may earn a decent salary that can cover your living expenses and savings in Japan. According to Indeed.com, the average salary for an artist in Japan is ¥3,721 per hour or ¥6,000,000 per year (as of July 2023).
- Culture: Working as an artist in Japan can expose you to the rich and diverse culture of Japan, which can inspire and influence your artistic expression and development. You can learn from the ancient traditions and modern innovations of Japan, as well as from the people and places that make up its society.
- Network: Working as an artist in Japan can expand your network and connections in the art world, both locally and internationally. You can meet and collaborate with other artists, curators, critics, collectors, buyers, etc., who can support and promote your work or career. You can also participate in various events and programs that can showcase your work or skills to a wider audience.
- Inspiration: Working as an artist in Japan can spark your creativity and imagination, as you can discover new ideas and possibilities for your art or projects. You can explore the nature, architecture and art of Japan, as well as the challenges and opportunities that it presents. You can also experiment with different styles and mediums that suit your artistic vision and goals.
How to find an art job in Japan?
Finding an art job in Japan can be a challenging and competitive process, as there are many factors to consider, such as language, visa, portfolio, etc. However, there are also many resources and strategies that can help you find and apply for an art job in Japan. Here are some tips and steps that you can follow to find an art job in Japan:
Do some research:
Before you start looking for an art job in Japan, you should do some research on the art scene and market in Japan, such as the trends, opportunities, challenges, etc. You should also research the specific type of art job that you are interested in, such as the requirements, benefits, expectations, etc. You can use various sources of information, such as websites, blogs, magazines, books, podcasts, etc., to learn more about the art scene and market in Japan. Some examples are:
- Tokyo Art Beat: A website that provides information and news on the art and design events in Tokyo and other cities in Japan.
- Art Space Tokyo: A book that introduces 12 of Tokyo’s most distinctive galleries and museums.
- Japan Times Arts & Culture: A section of the newspaper that features articles and reviews on the arts and culture in Japan.
Build your network:
Networking is one of the most important and effective ways to find and apply for an art job in Japan, as it can help you gain exposure, referrals, recommendations, feedback, etc. You can network with various people who are involved or interested in the art scene and market in Japan, such as other artists, curators, critics, collectors, buyers, etc. You can network with them online or offline, by using platforms such as social media, email, forums, etc., or by attending events such as exhibitions, festivals, workshops, etc. You can also join or create groups or communities that are related to your field or interest of art. Some examples are:
- The Japan Foundation: An institution that supports and promotes cultural exchange programs throughout the world, including arts and cultural exchange programs that introduce various aspects of Japanese arts and culture overseas, and foster networking and human resources development in the arts and cultural fields.
- Japanese Arts Network: A national resource for artistic collaboration and connection that provides access to resources and development programs and platforms that support and strengthen visibility for Japanese and Japanese-American artists in Colorado and nationally.
- Japan Illustrators’ Association: An association that supports and promotes illustrators in Japan and abroad.
- Canvas Tokyo: An online network for Tokyo's creative community. It's a place for professional and amateur creatives to show their skills, make new connections and find work.
Prepare your portfolio:
Your portfolio is one of the most essential and influential tools that can help you find and apply for an art job in Japan, as it showcases your artworks or projects in a professional and attractive way. Your portfolio should reflect your style, personality and vision as an artist, as well as your suitability for the job. You should also update and customize your portfolio according to the specific type and employer of the job that you are applying for. You should also have a website, blog or social media account that displays your portfolio online, as well as a printed or digital version that you can send or show to potential employers or clients. You can use tools like Canva to help you create a professional portfolio online.
Apply for the job:
Once you have found an art job that you are interested in and qualified for, you should apply for it as soon as possible, as there may be deadlines or limited spots. You should follow the instructions and guidelines provided by the employer or organizer, and submit your application materials, such as resume, cover letter, portfolio, etc. You should also prepare for the interview or audition process, if there is any, by practicing your answers, questions, presentation, etc. You should also follow up with the employer or organizer after submitting your application or completing the interview or audition, by sending a thank you note or email, asking for feedback or updates, etc.
Be patient and persistent:
Finding and applying for an art job in Japan can take time and effort, as there may be many challenges and competitions along the way. You should be patient and persistent in your job search, and not give up easily. You should also be flexible and open-minded, and consider different options and opportunities that may come your way. You should also keep learning and improving your skills and knowledge as an artist, by taking courses, reading books, watching videos, etc. You should also keep creating and sharing your artworks or projects, by participating in exhibitions, competitions, residencies, etc.
Working as an artist in Japan can be a fulfilling and exciting career choice for artists who want to expand their horizons and perspectives. If you are interested in finding an art job in Japan, start by doing some research on the available options, preparing your portfolio and application materials, and contacting the employers or organizers for more information. You might be surprised by the opportunities that await you in Japan.
We hope this article has been helpful and informative for you. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading and good luck with your art job search in Japan!