Leisure Time in Japan: How Much and for Whom?

25 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2006

See all articles by Scott M. Fuess

Scott M. Fuess

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: March 2006


Japan is famous for long working hours. For decades the Japanese government has tried to influence how people spend their free time. In 5-yearly surveys since 1986, the government has surveyed "quality of life" by gauging how much time people spend daily in various "noneconomic" activities. Using results from the 1986, 1991, 1996, and 2001 surveys, this study determines whether time spent daily on leisure activities has actually changed. Controlling for labor market forces, in recent years Japanese adults have not experienced more leisure time overall. They have increased time spent, one hour per week, in media-oriented leisure; this increase, however, comes at the expense of more outgoing amusements like hobbies, playing sports, or socializing with friends. There is a significant gender gap for leisure time. Shorter work schedules do encourage a more active leisure lifestyle. Leisure is directly related to regular income, but is stifled by bonus pay.

Keywords: time allocation, leisure time and working hours, country studies, Japan

JEL Classification: J20, J22, J40

Suggested Citation

Fuess, Scott M., Leisure Time in Japan: How Much and for Whom? (March 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2002, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=890279

Scott M. Fuess (Contact Author)

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - Department of Economics ( email )

Lincoln, NE 68588-0489
United States
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+1 402-472-9700 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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