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The Japanese Speaking Community
Massage in Japan 
17th-Feb-2014 08:53 pm
Hi there.

I know this might not be best posted here, but I am at a loss of where to go and have known this community to be extremely helpful with most things Japanese. I am a Registered Massage Therapist in Ontario, Canada, and was wondering what the massage education requirements (or if there are any) in Tokyo, Japan. I have gotten in touch with the embassy of both countries and neither has anything to tell me. Does anyone have any information on massage in Japan and whether it is a regulated health profession or not? In Ontario, 2 years of schooling is required as well as $1200 worth of board exams and testing to achieve certification. It is heavily regulated here.

Thank you in advance to anyone who has any information, and my apologies if this is not the correct place to post this. m_ _m
18th-Feb-2014 02:31 am (UTC)
Whoops, apparently I can't post links.

According to some yahoo answers-type sites I looked at (not the most official sources, but still), "massage" seems to be a protected term, and to be a masseur you would need a Japanese qualification. Apparently it's illegal and for public health reasons there are a lot of regulations, but these are often unenforced. Many chiropractors aren't qualified in anything, but still manage practice in Japan (according to the commenters). However, from my personal experience there are plenty of Thai massage places around Tokyo and Osaka (most of them genuinely being massage and not "massage"), and I think they'd have a lot of trouble immigrating to specifically work an illegal job. Perhaps there's a Thai qualification that's considered equivalent, or an easy way to get a Japanese qualification.

As some of the commenters point out though, as part of a standard haircut, hairdressing assistants give you a little bit of a neck massage after they wash your hair, and you don't need a qualification for that.

You might have to have a look at some senmon gakkou that specialise in massage or rehabilitation, and look at the courses they offer. At the very least, if you make inquiries with them, they'd know a lot more about the regulations, and what it takes to become qualified. There seemed to be some places offering courses for Thai/Balinese styles in as little as 10 days, but I'm not sure if those are for qualifications.
5th-Mar-2014 02:26 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for the info, and sorry for the late reply! ^^;
I will definitely look into the Japanese qualifications more. I'm a bit surprised it is this hard to find a website stating such things. Then again, I am mostly searching in English, not Japanese... :s

Thanks again!
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