Finding a job in Okinawa
*NOTE This service is for OIST community members only.
One of the biggest challenges one may face as a trailing partner of someone working at OIST can be finding a job. While it can be difficult to obtain employment in Okinawa without Japanese skills, it is not completely impossible. Positions teaching English to Japanese students are often available and clerical/administrative positions, as well as restaurant work can be found on occasion.
Since we are not professional career consultants, there are certain things that resource center can and can not provide regarding to your job search.
What Resource Center can offer:
- Provide information on how to search jobs in Okinawa
- Provide information on how to get a permission for part-time job
What Resource Center does NOT offer:
- Career Consulting
- Translation service of your resume
- Look for a job for you
Listed below are several resources that may help you find information about jobs in Okinawa.
Hello Work (Harō Wāku ハローワーク)
The most important resource available to job seekers on Okinawa is Hello Work, a program run by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Hello Work provides job databases, assistance with resume writing, interview advice, and many other services. The Okinawan branches do not offer English-language assistance, so if you do not speak Japanese, please bring someone along to interpret for you. Your passport and Alien Registration Card are necessary when you first register to use their services. There is a small Hello Work office in Urasoe City Hall, and larger offices in Naha and Okinawa City. Hello Work offices are open Monday-Friday 8:30am-12pm and 1pm-5pm.
- Hello Work Urasoe - Located on the 1st floor of City Hall.
- Hello Work Naha - Located on the 3rd floor of Co-op Appletown in Shintoshin.
- Hello Work Okinawa City - Located on the 1st & 2nd floors of the Okinawa Labor Building, 1-23-1 Sumiyoshi, Okinawa City.
Many towns hire foreign residents to teach English in public elementary and junior high schools. Selection for jobs usually takes place at local Boards of Education (BOEs) from January through March, but it is always worthwhile to inquire at other times. Urasoe, Naha, Ginowan, and Okinawa City are the largest cities and have the most opportunities. Inquire at their BOEs, which are located in their respective city halls.
If you would like to teach a language other than English, high schools may be your best option, as some of them offer instruction in languages such as Chinese and Spanish. For high school teaching positions, consult with the Okinawa-ken BOE, located in the Naha Kencho.
Teaching jobs are also available at private language schools, but they sometimes do not have private listings. You can try looking in the phone book and making cold calls, visiting “Hello Work”, asking friends, and trying the Internet-based searches.
Jobs on U.S. Military Bases
The U.S. military is one of the biggest employers of local residents in Okinawa. Some jobs are only open to Japanese citizens, but there are many which can be filled by local residents of other nationalities. Here are some military-specific job websites:
- Jobs on Kadena Airbase in Chatan
- Jobs on Marine Corps bases in Okinawa
Jobs for Japanese Speakers
If you speak Japanese above the 2kyu level on the JLPT, you may be able to work in the translation/interpretation fields. There are several translation companies located in Okinawa, mostly in Okinawa City and Urasoe. Consult the phone book for specific information.
There are also a plethora of Japanese job search websites. Help Wanted ads are called 求人情報 (kyūjin jōhō), and an online search of 沖縄 + 求人情報 will bring up a lot of useful websites.
English Language Job Search Websites
Several search engines allow you to search the Internet for jobs in Okinawa in English:
- Japan Update - Click on "Classifieds" in the upper right-hand corner, and then select "Help Wanted" from the pull-down menu at the top.
- Gaijin Pot - Click on the "Japan Jobs" tab near the top of the page, and then select "Okinawa" from the "Areas" pull-down menu.
- Okinawa Craigslist
- Okinawa Bookoo- Click the “Jobs” link
- Indeed - Set "Okinawa" as the location and write “English” in the job type field to find jobs for English speakers.
- Career Cross- A good job resource for bilinguals. It lists mostly white-collar jobs.
- Daijob- Very similar to CareerCross in that it lists jobs mostly targeted towards bilinguals.