Japanese culture ~ do you want to know? Chapter 2: Bonenkai

yakitori ビジネス全般(海外での働き方含む)

Do you know Japanese year-end-party, so called Bonenkai?

Bonenkai is typical Japanese ceremony so that celebrate last year accomplishment with your colleagues.

I’d like to share tips of Bonenkai so that enjoy this traditional ceremony with your Japanese colleagues.

When will Bonenkai be held?

The objective of Bonenkai is celebrate last year accomplishment with your colleague.

You may aware of that Japanese company close the office approximately 29th or 30th Dec.

Bonenkai will be held between X’mas and the office close day, 26, 27, 28 in Dec. are most popular date for Bonenkai.

It will kick start at 18:00 to 19:00 after daily work.

Normal Bonenkai would be 2 hours duration, it really ties up with your venue of Bonenkai.

Most of Izakaya (Japanese bar and restaurant) will have 2 hours limitation.

How Bonenkai goes?

Question: How many colleagues will join Bonenkai?
Answer: It varies. from 4~5 to 50 members will join. It depends on you will join team Bonenkai (it would be 4 to 5 people there) or department or company.

Q: What is “Kanji”
A: Kanji is the person in charge of leading Bonenkai. His or her responsibility to make reservation Izakaya restaurant, to determine who will give opening and closing remarks, and to make agenda. Bonenkai agenda is sometimes very punctual and organized (very Japanese way) and you will join “Kanpai” at the opening remarks and “Ippon sime” which is the sign for good fortune at the closing remarks. Same pronounce “Kanji” exist but different meaning. Kanji at Bonenkai describe 幹事 in Chinese character and Chinese character itself is 漢字 in Kanji.

Q: What is ”Nijikai”?
A: Nijikai is another ceremony after Bonenkai. After Bonenkai (duration approximately 2 hours), some of members those who are with good relationship, like friends will have another one after Bonenkai. It is called “Nijikai”. Nijikai will have another 2 hours and more… until last train time. Don’t worry, alcohol is not expensive in Japan. You will only be exhausted and should hang over…

Do and Don’t


  • Expand your network
    Bonenkai is the great opportunity to expand your network in your company. Japanese tends to be not open for others usually. However, they are very open at Bonenkai. You can reach out many people those who are limited interaction as usual.
  • Talk with your Japanese manager
    How is your Japanese manager in the office? Is he or she open and easy go guy? If not, Bonenkai is good opportunity to talk with your Japanese manager about your hobby, pets, family and other than business topics. It would make the relationship between you and your Japanese manager to be robust before.


  • Drink too much as same as your Japanese colleague
    You will find crazy drinker at Bonenkai. Japanese are not hesitate to show their heavy drinking. Rather, more drink better culture in Japan. I know people from western country are hesitate to show their drink too much. But, in Japan, some people (usually young man) are willing to drink too much. Actually, you can see ambulance which is taking care too much drunker in Bonenkai season.
    Be careful! Your Japanese colleague will recommend too much drink. Easy, you can say, “No thank you.” Otherwise, hung over..
  • Force your colleagues to go “Nijikai”
    Decades before, invitation of Nijikai from your manager means mandate. You can not deny the Nijikai invitation from your manager. However, you can deny their offer if you don’t want to accompany with them nowadays due to spread knowledge this is kind of harassments.
    Vice versa, you should not force your colleagues to join Nijikai. Currently, Nijikai is voluntary activity. Of course, this is your decision. You can find fun things at Nijikai, for example more deep local place you can go and to know your colleagues more, something behind your colleagues at the office!?

7 Steps to Become an English Teacher In Japan: Second Edition【電子書籍】[ Christopher Kona Young ]

(2022/11/8 21:24時点)


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