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Shujiro Mizuno, Ed.D, is a certified clinical psychologist, professor in the Psychology Department at Rissho University, President of Japan Peer Mediation Association, and former President of Certified Counselors in Japan. His major fields are ethics, moral education, and counseling psychology. He coauthored Happiness and Virtue beyond East and West, Charles Tuttle, 2012. He is the executive director of Japan Industrial Counseling Association. Correspondence to: smizun10.sm@gmail.com 


Fluid Employment

 According to a survey conducted by Ministry of Labor, Health and Welfare (MLHW) in Japan, the number of people wanting to change jobs rose from 3870,000 to 5240,000 between 2012 and 2014. In a related development, non-regular employment or contractual employment as a proportion of total employment increased from 20.2% to 37.4% between 1994 and 2015, according to Statistics Today (2015). The MLHW believes that the reasons for such fluid job conditions include the falling birthrate, an aging society, changes in industrial structures, and globalization.


 The onset of an aging society, coupled with a falling birthrate, means that Japan’s population will decline rapidly. The resulting labor shortages will accelerate the introduction of Artificial Intelligence into the workplace. Nomura Research Institute, in collaboration with C. B. Frey & M. A. Osborne, estimates that in ten to twenty years, 49% of jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence and robots.


Savickas’ Theory in Japan

 Savickas(2011,2012, 2013, 2015) has proposed life design counseling as a career intervention paradigm for the 21st century. In order to deal with insecure and fluid employment, one has to be autonomous in constructing one’s career and maintain employability throughout life.


 Life design counseling has been proposed as an effective alternative to guidance, education, and the career consulting model. It is important to guide and educate the clients, but through guidance alone we are unable to help clients to be autonomous in the fluid society and make active changes in their behaviors. Japanese language resources for this approach were only recently available after the translation of two key texts, Career counseling(2011) and Life design counseling manual(2015). The translation of these books resulted in 16 Japanese career development professionals undergoing training in Life Design in 2017.


Introduction of Savickas’ Theory

 In 2013 at the 100 year anniversary of National Career Development Association(NCDA) convention, several Japanese participants including ourselves discussed with Dr. Savickas how to introduce his life design counseling to the Japanese counselors.


 Our first task was to understand the meaning of changes in work life in the 21st century. Savickas recommended that his article “Life Design: A Paradigm for Career intervention in the 21st Century” (2012) be translated into Japanese to help with this.


 Secondly, we had to understand career construction theory and the meaning of transition. In a sense, people are born into a culture and brought up in a culture, so Japan must have its own stories about career transitions. When people face transitions, they experience dislocation in their sense of belonging. In order to adjust to such dislocation, they have to reflect upon themselves and try to integrate their dislocation experiences into their life themes.


 Thirdly, we needed to assess how culture is incorporated in constructing one’s own story in Japan. People explain their actions and construct reality through social processes and interpersonal relationships. Therefor they have their own stories as well as a cultural story.


Career Construction Interview

The CCI consisted of an introductory question as five further ones, as follows:


Introductory question: How can I be useful to you as you construct your career?


Question 1 (on role models):

Who did you admire when you were growing up? Tell me about him or her.


Question 2 (on preferred working environment):

Do you read any magazines or watch any television shows regularly? Which ones? What do you like about these magazines or television shows?


Question 3 (on favorite life story):

What is your favorite book or movie? Tell me the story.


Question 4 (on advice given to oneself):

Tell me your favorite saying or motto?


Question 5 (on preoccupations):

What are your earliest recollections?  I am interested in hearing three stories about things that you recall happening to you when you were 3 to 6 years old, or as early as you can remember.