Staff Parties in Japan

This post is about work related parties in Japan. Here are some tips that may help you.

  • You can never underdress, so dress formally according to the season. NYU hoodies and Crocs are unacceptable.
  • The parties are usually held at bigger, slightly upscale venues to accommodate the whole staff; an izakaya doesn’t have the room for a party of 50
  • Be prepared to make a speech if you’re a newcomer. A brief, yet formal greeting is best.
  • Don’t drink before kampai!
  • Don’t pour your own drink. Keep an eye on the drinks of those around you. Keep the glasses of those around you wet, and your glass will never go dry.

Here are the common kinds of staff parties

歓迎会 kangeikai

This is the welcome party. It’s held to welcome new staff and to get everyone in a good mood to start the work year, which begins in April.

送別会 sōbetsukai

This is the farewell party. The first character is [send], the second is [separate] the third is [gathering or event]. There can be a general one in March. Staff is usually transferred, retiring, or moved to another department at this time. There can also be one anytime throughout the year if it’s for one specific individual leaving.

歓送迎会 kansōgeikai

Rather than have a sōbetsukai in March and a kangeikai in April, why not combine them? You can send off your old coworkers and welcome newcomers. Hazing is so fun!

忘年会 bōnenkai

This one is held in mid to late December. It’s just like any other staff party, but people tend to drink more and wild out here. The characters read [forget] + [year] + [gathering]. People rarely speak of what happened the following day.



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