• Work Cultures

Congrats on surviving the “Gogatsu-byo” season!

Happy June to all W&C blog readers. Days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and warmer and it seems like summer is just moments away.  We have made it through the first half of the year! The last few weeks even may have been a little bit tougher on some people than others. Why do we say this? Well, we are worried that some people may been hit by the “Gogatsu-byo” epidemic.

(featured image by www.pexels.com)


“Gogatsu-Byo” can be directly translated as “May-sickness”. Symptoms do not include a runny nose, sore throat or a fever but it’s more a  phenomena that occurs here in Japan.

The ‘sickness’ seems to most surface among people around the second week of May right after golden-week, a week with consecutive holidays, giving people in the workforce and students in school a whole week off. This sounds all great, but the problem is the following days after the long break. Millions of Japanese  are more or less affected  by social distress including sleep deprivation, exhaustion, loss in appetite and motivation triggered from melancholy.

According to research, internet questionnaire conducted by MediaInteractive, 28.7% of the targeted 272 people felt they were affected by “Gogatsu-byo”. In addition, the research also showed that around 10% of the new grads already thought of quitting their current jobs within 2 months of their start date.  This may be coming from the fact that  around half of the people felt that their new positions did not fulfill their expectations or felt anxiety towards getting used to their new environment.

So what is the lying core of such epidemic?  In Japan, April marks a new chapter for many. School starts a new semester and new hirings and reassigned staff start their  positions in the month. Many fresh faces are first excited by a new environment and new challenges filling their hearts with motivation and hopes thats lets them start off strong. However, it is thought that after the consecutive holidays that fall on the very first week of may, they get the chance to reflect and reality sets in. This is when it all comes down. The novelty of the getting accepted in a new school or dressing into a new crisp suite start wear off and the fire in the eyes slowly dim down. The struggle of getting out of bed and getting on the crammed trains gets worse. Attendance in school drastically drop and workers seem to call in sick more often or even worse, start to contemplating switching jobs. For students that promised themselves a full GPA and to make new friends, they notice that much hasn’t changed and schools is as dull as any semester triggering them to ditch. For many newly grads going into the working world, they realise that their hard work doesn’t really lead them balling. In addition  it is actually known In Japan that many companies tend to lose their newer employees in the month of May and June.

So, we would like to congratulate all our readers for making it to June! You have made it  through May and have tackled this first world sicknesses.  All we have to do is power through the rainy season that starts from mid June and then summer will be with us in no time. We hope to see our readers again on the other side.