A Japanese friend that works as a teacher told me he wants to quit his job and come to work in Europe. I asked why and he answered:

EUに行くのが夢。 あと、日本社会の中でも教える仕事はスーパーブラック

What is the meaning of ブラック in this sentence? I understand it has a negative connotation, but what does it imply actually? Is the job of teacher not respected in Japanese society? I spent one year in Japan and it didn't look like it to me. Does he mean that the job is tiring or underpaid?

In general, what is the meaning of ブラック when it does not refer to the color? Thank you for your help!

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    I don't suppose this to count as an answer, but the only other slang usage of ブラック that I know when spoken about a person is someone who is blacklisted for any reason, such as from obtaining credit or renting an apartment due to poor credit, someone who has been 86'd from an organization or club, etc. This can't be what they are referring to but might have a lead towards the connotation? Maybe trying to say that a job where you teach/train, even within companies, is "super black" as in "terrible job, terrible pay, sketchy", etc...
    – psosuna
    Jan 13, 2018 at 0:56

1 Answer 1


This ブラック refers to ブラック企業 or ブラックな仕事, which is a workplace with terrible/illegal working conditions. Typically, employees are required to work for a long time, not allowed to have a day off freely, unpaid for their overtime work, or forced to face chronic mental stress.

Note that this can happen even for respected professionals like teachers, lawyers and doctors. Such people tended to pride themselves and volunteer to overwork so as to meet the high social expectations, and few people seriously cared about that. Recently, many people started to consider their working environments are problematic and illegal.

He said 日本社会の中でも ("even in the Japanese society") because Japan has been widely considered a hard-working country (cf. Karoshi).

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