Socialization to Acting, Feeling, and Thinking as Shakaijin: New Employee Orientations in a Japanese Company

  • Haruko Minegishi Cook
Part of the Communicating in Professions and Organizations book series (PSPOD)


In Japanese society, new college graduates are expected to acquire the new identity of shakaijin 'mature, contributing adult(s) in society' when they become full-time employees of a company. To make this major transition in life smooth, most Japanese companies provide new employees with orientation training. From the perspective of language socialization, this chapter examines the process of this culturally meaningful transition by qualitatively analyzing interactions between trainers and new employees in new employee orientations in a Japanese company. The chapter discusses different activities the trainers perform. The findings suggest that despite the world trend toward a globalized economy, in which the boundary between formal education and full-time work has become blurred, Japanese company’s new employee orientations contribute to keeping that boundary intact in Japanese society.



This study is supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, JSPS KAKENHI 24652088. I would like to express my gratitude to Fuji’s employees who participated in my research project. Earlier versions of this chapter were presented at the American Association for Applied Linguistics Conference in 2015 and the International Pragmatics Conference in 2015 and 2017.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haruko Minegishi Cook
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

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