Top Ten Japanese Jobs That Lead To An Early Death


Overwork is a serious issue in Japan, where in recent years company employees are quite literally working themselves to death.

Therefore, tabloid magazine Nikkan SPA! has helpfully compiled a ranking of the top ten jobs that result in an early death for the people who work them.

While there doesn’t appear to be any solid data behind this ranking, working life for many in the Japanese working classes means long hours, bad pay, and a stifling seniority system, all of which might be costing them their health.

From Nikkan SPA:

Top Ten Jobs That’ll Make You Die Young


Subcontractor Systems Engineers In IT Business Come In At No.2!

For Japanese salarymen, with their relentless daily pace, most of their life is taken up by their jobs. Therefore choosing a job has a significant effect on how long you live. Haibara Fujio, who has worked as an industrial physician in several different industries, told us the following:

“With the exception of work that is very dangerous and where accidents occur easily, broadly speaking there are two primary factors that connect where you work to how long you live. One is whether or not you have any discretionary power. The more you can control your own job yourself, the lower your stress levels will be, thus prolonging your life. The other factor is working too much, eating too much, and drinking too much alcohol. Obviously it’s bad for your health when you work long hours, where it is common to work overtime until the small hours, or through the night, and where you have to drink excessively to entertain clients. Focussing on these two points, the job in which one is most likely to die young would be as salesperson for a large advertising agency. For people who work in advertising sales, working through the night is the excessive hard work that is expected as part of the job; however they have very little discretionary power. In addition to this, it is not unusual for them to drink heavily day after day as they entertain their clients. While their salary and status is high, their bodies bear the burden”.

Other jobs that were high up in the ranking in the same way were “IT business subcontractor systems engineer” and “manager of a chain pub/bar”.

IT subcontractors are second most likely to die young

“As well as both having to work long hours, both are badly paid. Systems engineers in a subcontracted company are fundamentally unable to go against the parent company’s demands, and the manager of a bar or pub is also ultimately a member of staff, and they have virtually no power to make decisions”.

One surprising job that entered the ranking was “young bureaucrat”.

“We have the impression that bureaucrats are the elite, that they get favourable treatment, but that’s only the senior bureaucrats. Japan is essentially a vertical society through its seniority system, so as a rule young people are badly paid, and are made to work late into the night. In fact, there is some data to suggest that out of every 20 young bureaucrats who enter a certain government ministry, 3 will have committed suicide within 10 years”.

Furthermore, jobs in which working hours are irregular, in addition to the two factors stated above, have a significant effect on someone’s lifespan.

“An irregular lifestyle is, naturally, harmful to the body. That is to say that jobs where there are unscheduled nightshifts, rather than those that have these shifts daily, place a strain on health. For example, nurses who work on wards, company taxi drivers, long-distance truck drivers. The people who do these jobs will have one night shift every few days, and therefore their bodily rhythms are easily disrupted. Furthermore, each of these jobs is managed from above, so these workers have no discretionary power. Cabin attendants are treated well if they work for big companies, and they can take holidays in between flights, but cabin attendants on low-cost carriers have poor wages, and work hard boarding flight after flight in order to reduce costs. These workers are shaving years off their lifespans”.

LCC cabin attendants are also likely to suffer an untimely demise

Japanese low-cost carrier Peach (image source)

No matter how high your social status or salary, it’s meaningless if you destroy your body in the process. It’s probably the case that people who don’t work in any of the jobs mentioned above are “winners” in terms of their health. In the July 16 edition of Shukan SPA!, we will publish the “People Who Die Young Chart Ranking” from a variety of different spheres, so how about checking it out?

【Top 10 Jobs That’ll Make You Die Young】

No.1: Salesperson for a large advertising agency

No.2: IT business subcontractor systems engineer

No.3: Manager of a chain pub/bar

No.4: Young bureaucrat

No.5: Ward nurse

No.6: Taxi driver

No.7: Low-cost carrier cabin attendant

No.8: Member of the Self Defence Forces

No.9: Teacher at a public school

No. 10: Truck driver

Comments from


How about manga artists?


I reckon the police have it harder.


Regardless of their ranking, all the jobs here seem pretty tough.


What about people working on construction sites?
But I guess that there are a lot of people who have been doing that work for quite a while there.


No.8 Member of Self Defence Forces
Excluding cases where they die at war, it should be common sense that those in the military or retired from the military have a longer average lifespan than virtually every other occupation. The reason for this is because they have well-regulated lifestyles, meals, and exercise. They also have their own medical care.

名刺は切らしておりまして:[in response to above]

Yeah, but with the tradition of bullying in the Self Defence Forces they get maximum stress.


Seriously though,
there’s nothing that’ll shorten your life more than if you have irregular sleeping hours or sleep too little.


Sumo wrestlers.
If you practice that much every day it’s gonna shorten your life.


School teachers are kind of the representatives for long life.
According to what I heard from an old guy who has worked in the town hall for over 40 years, a lot of people who are teachers, post office workers, rail workers (they all usually do some farming at the same time, mind you) live long lives to over 100.


I’d like them to have said the reason these people actually die. An overwhelming number of people in IT are stressed and overweight because they don’t get sleep and neglect their health, seems like they usually get circulatory problems and diabetes.


How about people who work on engineering and manufacturing sites?
These people work with unreasonable conditions.
Dangerous, dirty, smelly, hot and stuff…


I guess that homeless people don’t take a job per se, but their average lifespan is less than 60 years.

忍法帖【Lv=25,xxxPT】(1+0:8) 【中国電 86.0 %】 :

That software developer just died suddenly the other day, and I reckon if I go on this way I’ll be dead by the time I’m about 42 (`・ω・´)


I don’t know about IT, but people who work as technicians for electronics and machines live long lives despite excessive working hours.
Among my superiors at work, there are plenty of people who are in good health even though they’re over 70. Quite a few people who work on the business side of things and stuff die at just over 55, and I’ve even been to their funerals.
Including myself, I can’t think of a single person in the technical side who’s been ill.


Seems like their DATA is just compiling a list of jobs where they kind of think it might be true that people die young.
There’s no sign of any statistics that could back it up w

Share This Article
Help us maintain a vibrant and dynamic discussion section that is accessible and enjoyable to the majority of our readers. Please review our Comment Policy »
Personals @ chinaSMACK - Meet people, make friends, find lovers? Don't be so serious!»