Japan Data

Girls Want to Bake, Boys Want to Play Soccer: Japanese First Graders’ Dream Jobs


First graders are excited to be starting elementary school. They have their whole future ahead of them; however parents have strong ideas of what kind of career they want their children to have.

Japanese first-grade girls still want to work in cake shops or bakeries, while first-grade boys dream of being athletes. The top choices in the annual survey by manufacturer Kuraray, which makes synthetic leather for school backpacks, have remained unchanged since it began in 1999.

First Graders’ Dream Jobs (2019)

Girls Boys
1 Baker at cake shop/bakery Athlete
2 Celebrity/singer/model Police officer
3 Florist Driver (of buses, trains, etc.)
4 Nurse Firefighter/rescue worker
5 Nursery school teacher Researcher
6 Worker at ice-cream shop TV/anime character
7 Teacher Baker at cake shop/bakery
8 Doctor Doctor
9 Beautician Carpenter/artisan
10 Police officer Celebrity/singer/model

Compiled by Nippon.com based on the Kuraray annual survey.

After baker (26.7%), the second most popular job for girls was celebrity/singer/model (9%); this was the ninth year in a row it ranked in this place, as idol groups like AKB48 remain in the public eye. Florist (6.2%) and nurse (5.6%), which both used to regularly appear in the top three alongside baker, were third and fourth place respectively this year. However, compared to 20 years ago when the survey started, the ratio of girls choosing these roles has dropped by more than half.

For boys, athlete (20.1%) was followed by police officer (14.2%) in second place and driver (8.8%) in third. Since 2012, the year after the Great East Japan Earthquake, the ratio for police officer has gradually been rising and this job is now nearly as popular as athlete. In addition, researcher climbed to fifth place for the first time. This included answers like insect expert and dinosaur expert. In the breakdown for athlete, the most popular answer by far was soccer player with 59.0%. This was followed by baseball player (20.6%) and racing driver/ motorcycle racer (5.2%).

In contrast, first graders’ parents chose specialist jobs that require qualifications and experience. For girls, they were predominantly related to medicine like nurse (18.9%), pharmacist (8.7%), and doctor (7.5%).

For boys’ parents, the top answer was public servant (18.0%) which has consistently remained first choice, apart from one time in 2009. Compared to previous years, company worker (8.9%) and researcher (5.2%) scored higher than ever, clearly indicating that parents want their children to have steady careers.

Jobs That Parents Want Their First Graders to Pursue (2019)

Girls’ Parents Boys’ Parents
1 Nurse Public servant
2 Public servant Athlete
3 Pharmacist Company worker
4 Doctor Doctor
5 Company worker Police officer
6 Medical professional Researcher
7 Teacher Firefighter/rescue worker
8 Baker at cake shop/bakery Engineer
9 Nursery school teacher Driver (of buses, trains, etc.)
10 Specialist Pilot

Compiled by Nippon.com based on the Kuraray annual survey.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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