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Are Train Conductors in Japan Middle Class? 2018/1/25 16:09
I have been to Japan 2x for a total of 1 month. Obviously I have used JR trains a lot; so I'm quite interested in train conductors in Japan. Although I will never be able to become a "Japanese Train Conductor", I have been researching.

And I noticed that the salary for newly hired, "right out of college" conductors in Hokkaido (JR Sapporo) is only around (more or less) 1500-1800 USD. And around (more or less) 1900-2000 USD for JR East. I round up the amount .

The extra benefits for JR Hokkaido is quite good though; better than JR East. Those extra benefits includes: housing assistance ( if you are eligible to stay in single-housing runs by JR Hokkaido, the rent is only about $100/month); if you want to buy a house they may offer better loans or something like that , Cold District Allowance, Health Benefits, commuting allowance, vacation....
While JR East only offer basic benefits such as health/life insurance, vacation...

Both companies offer yearly bonus; and salary raise 2x/year.

All info I got directly from official JR Hokkaido & JR East website (in Japanese).

Looking at the example of workday, it seems like they only have enough time to sleep for a few hours/day.
With such low salary and hectic working hours, why is this such a popular career choice for Japanese youths? Most people who successfully join JR staffs as conductors have engineering/business...degrees.
Do they even make "middle class" status with that salary?
by 2xstudent  

Re: Are Train Conductors in Japan Middle Class? 2018/1/25 22:46
One of my Japanese friends told me one of his former classmates did like a lot trains and he is now shinkansen driver. As for how he reached that, from what I recall he started working in office and in a small station until becoming driver of local trains and then shinkansen driver, this is just a small summary I don't really know all the details. My friend told me that this person was so busy that for vacation he really wanted to go to Peru so he could only go less than 1 week there and come back work.

As for why? I am not Japanese and big fan of trains specially Japanese ones because they are efficient and there's a lot of culture of trains and I can understand this people. On the other hand depending on where you are working can be stressful specially in Kanto area or West Japan around Kansai or Central Japan around Nagoya where timetables are very strict, check Amagasaki 2005 year train accident in Hyogo prefecture, there are some videos explaining that, it was interesting and shocking at the same time.
by Peter1986 rate this post as useful

Re: Are Train Conductors in Japan Middle Class? 2018/1/25 23:01
I don't think that being a JR conductor is "such a popular career choice for Japanese youths" in the sense that a high percentage of the youth would want to be one. At least it's not included in the best 5.
https://www.rirekisyodo.com/research/popular-occupation.html

But the JR Group is well-established, has name value, and a lot of people young and old love trains, so I don't see any reason that it should not be popular either.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Are Train Conductors in Japan Middle Class? 2018/1/26 00:39
Driving a train in Japan is a reasonably paid job in Japan which can be rather competitive to become a driver. This may be due to a large 'train watcher' community which thrives in Japan. There are even books the allow people to travel hundreds of km's on trains and pay 200 yen or less as the final stations are right next to one another.

From memory, people want to drive trains in this order (1) Shinkansen, (2) JR, (3) other private train companies. This information may be incorrect as I once taught a Japanese/American student (in Japan) who was absolutely obsessed with trains. He has the intelligence and language to find out what was needed to work at these locations. Many people also start by working at train stations and working their way up....
by mfedley rate this post as useful

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