Japanese company implements paid leave for otaku workers when their idols marry or retire

Lim Yian Lu
·2-min read
TAIPEI, TAIWAN - OCTOBER 03:  (CHINA AND TAIWAN OUT) Japanese voice actress Nana Mizuki arrives at Taipei Songshan Airport for her concert in Taipei on October 3, 2014 in Taipei, Taiwan.  (Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images)
Hiroro Inc. was inspired to create paid "idol leave" for its employees after the company president noticed that a worker became less productive after voice actress Nana Mizuki (pictured) announced her marriage. (Photo: Visual China Group via Getty Images)

Japanese companies are known for being strict and not exactly welfare-centric, with karoshi (death by overwork) becoming a social issue in Japan. However, Hiroro Inc., a Japanese company in the entertainment industry, begs to differ – they've announced paid leave for employees who need time off to attend their celebrity idols' events or grieve when they marry or retire.

The president of Hiroro, Tsurumi Shizen, tweeted about this new policy called the Oshi Vacation System, where oshi means the artiste that a fan supports or the favourite member of an idol group. The incredible policy lists that the employees can leave work early or take leave to attend their idol’s live events. If there is a sudden event on the day itself, they may even be allowed to knock off early.

In fact, if the idol is retiring, the policy is not just limited to the top oshi — up to 10 days off — but also extends to the secondary oshi — up to three days off. In the case of the oshi getting married, the employee can take up to 10 days off as well!

Best of all is that such leave is all paid, and if there is emotional damage to the employee, additional recovery days can be added as necessary.

Such a policy may be unprecedented, but it is not surprising for Hiroro Inc., which deals with idol events and merchandise. Apparently, Shizen’s decision to introduce the Oshi Vacation System was motivated by two events: when he noticed a usually hardworking employee became unfocused and uncooperative after voice actress Nana Mizuki, who the employee is a fan of, announced her marriage; and when another employee was feeling down when his idol revealed that she would be retiring. Shizen said he realised that this system is "absolutely necessary for otaku to work.”

Otakus refers to a subculture in Japan referring to intense fans of manga or anime and the corresponding celebrities.

This Oshi Vacation System may seem weird for some, but it makes sense as Hiroro believes that “nothing motivates someone to work harder than the feelings they have for the people and things that they like.”