Japanese article shows the strict working environment at Konami

An article published by Japanese publication, Nikkei, depicts a harsh working environment at Konami, with major reshuffles of positions and monitoring lunch breaks.

The report is originally in Japanese; however, freelance Japanese-English game localiser, Thomas James, has translated it via his twitter. The story continues to bring up questions of what is going on with Konami.

The article states that Metal Gear Solid 5’s development has already cost upwards of $80 million. This monumental budget doesn’t necessarily show why Konami and Hideo Kojima have fallen out, but could serve as a reason to Konami’s new focus on mobile games.

According to the article an employee believes this move started with the release of Dragon Collection for the mobile, with a low budget game creating a high profits. Thomas says “Kagemasa [Kozuki], Konami founder, is not keen on increasing budget for console games with diminishing returns.”

The problems with budget are not the only cause for concern. Any worker who is believed to be ‘useless’ have their positions reallocated to assembly line work, security guard duty or even cleaning at their fitness clubs. These reshuffles are not just exclusive to general workers with even producers and other high up employees being affected.

One instance saw a mass reshuffle when an employee posted on Facebook he was leaving Konami for another job. Anyone who had ‘liked’ the status were then reshuffled around the company, this includes people in upper management.

Workers have lunch breaks regulated with time cards, in order to see how long a person takes for their break and if they are away for longer than their allocated times then they are shamed throughout the company. It is also appears some departments, like sales, use randomised emails that get changed regularly when communicating with people outside of the company.

We have already seen several games being halted on several of their titles like Tokimeki Memorial, and the whole Kojima situation suggests for fans of Konami’s console games the future is not bright.


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Raul Zaha August 3, 2015 at 21:21

This corporate etiquette seems to me like it’s some sort of cultural thing. I remember an article (or a video on YT, can’t remember) in which Satoru Iwata said that when he was still fresh at Nintendo he was told by other colleagues: “if you’re not going to put out a good game, you might as well kill yourself” (or somewhere around those lines, totally paraphrasing here). Japanese corporations are rough man.

James Haxell August 4, 2015 at 14:32

Wow i had never knew it was a tough working environment at Nintendo, I wonder how many other Japanese companies have similar methods to Konami. I always thought Nintendo would be a pleasant place to work, but I suppose that’s why public image is important.

Raul Zaha August 4, 2015 at 15:33

I did some reading and apparently public image is very very important. There’s apparently very strict laws in Japan with regards to firing people from a company. Basically, you can’t fire anyone from a company as long as they are hard workers, regardless of what job they are doing. So it’s very common for companies to make their employees quit by making them do pointless jobs, like guard duty, or factory line work. I even heard they make people sit for 8 hours in a room doing nothing just so that they would make them quit.

Japanese companies prefer to do this instead of having the bad public image of firing hundreds of people out of the blue. It sounds strange to our standards but it’s apparently true.

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