Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

William Ascher

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2019 Mei Masuyama


Japanese workers are facing a threat of literal death from working too hard. In 1978, karōshi, defined as death or severe disability from overwork, was added to the Japanese dictionary. Japan is recognized as having one of the worst working conditions in the developed world with awfully long working hours. This thesis deconstructs the underlying psychological, cultural and economic reasons that contribute to the long working hours in Japanese companies. Then, this thesis examines the previous and current efforts by the Japanese, South Korean and German governments to reduce working hours in their countries to prevent the fatal consequences of overwork. It concludes by recommending the Japanese government to continue the research on overtime and death, raise awareness through education and outreach, enforce strict labor laws, and to adopt a method of flexible working hours.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.