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Japanese Company Hiroro Grant Employees Paid Leave To Mourn For Idol Retiring

Japan, it’s the blend of old and new. The neon lights of Shibuya alongside the quaint, bookishness of Shimo-Kitazawa. The musical toilets alongside the men picking leaves out of the gutter by hand. Japan is nothing if not a contradiction, rich in heritage and tradition, yet buoyed forward by technology and economic development. It’s as though the country is being torn in two, as the past and the future struggle to overwhelm the present.

Sad to say, the country is also known to have perhaps the most toxic work culture in the world. With many places of work, including some Japan-based Fortune 500 companies, literally slaving their employees, there is a common term that floats around every now and then – karoshi, which means ‘death by overwork’.

This comes as no surprise, seeing that some companies make it a shameful act to take even one day off. Granted, the country has definitely strived to improve its work culture. But they’re not quite there yet.

But you don’t always have to cry in the bathroom stall at work—if you work for the right employer. At Hiroro, a Tokyo events and advertising company, you can now officially take time off to nurse your broken heart. 

According to Hiroro President and Founder Shizen Tsurumi, the notion of mental health being equal to physical health is an important element to consider when looking at employee performance.

And so he rolled out the Oshi Vacation System, which allows employees to take days off if they’re sad about their favorite idol(s) retiring, getting married, or whatever else may cause fans grief. In Japan’s idol fandom, oshi is slang that’s used to refer to someone’s favorite idol.

Tsurumi was inspired to do this after observing a couple of employees who became unfocused and distracted at work because their idols had announced unpleasant news. For these employees, Tsurumi decided to give them the day off to take their minds off the bad news, or to properly mourn the loss of their idols. Eventually, it became an official company policy to allow this kind of paid leave.

Employees are also allowed to take leave for idols that aren’t necessarily their favorite.

For instance, if an employee’s number-one idol announces retirement, they can take up to 10 days off. But let’s say the idol in question is the employee’s second or third favorite – in this case they’re allowed three days off.

If an employee’s absolute favorite idol is getting married, they’re given up to 10 days off, and they’re allowed split the days into an engagement and wedding ceremony time period.

But the Oshi Vacation System isn’t just for times of grief or sadness. Employees can also utilize it to take leave or get off work early to catch pop-up or ‘surprise concerts’, which are usually announced just hours prior to the event.

If you think about it, the Oshi Vacation System makes complete sense. The front page of Hiroro’s official website states, “I think that the most powerful thing to move people is the feeling of love for people and things. I always want to be a person who works for the people and things I like.”

J-pop fanatics like the attackers have given other fans a bad name, but Hiroro’s founder Tsurumi pointed out that fandom isn’t necessarily harmful.

Tsurumi’s words, apparently.


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