Another popular series currently airing this season is My Tiny Senpai. It’s a self-described “sweet-like-sugar office romance” about a cute but short senpai and her tall and energetic kohai. Read my thoughts on this anime here!
My Tiny Senpai, aka Uchi no Kaisha no Chiisai Senpai no Hanashi, is the story of Takuma Shinozaki, who has just started work at a new company, and his height-challenged senpai Shiori Katase. Takuma is full of youthful vigor and ready to tackle his new job. Meanwhile, Shiori has never had a kohai before, and is giddy at the prospect of having a new employee to guide and support. As you can probably guess, it doesn’t take long for romance to blossom between the two.
Uchi no Kaisha no Chiisai Senpai no Hanashi started out as an amateur manga posted to Twitter before being collected into official doujinshi volumes. It got picked up for professional distribution and has sold 700,000 copies so far, showing how interested Japanese manga fans are in a relaxing office romance.
What Can My Tiny Senpai Teach Us About Work-Life in Japan?
Let’s see what interesting things we can learn about working at a Japanese company from this fun anime!
Not Every Japanese Firm is a “Black Company”
The outstanding Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead anime shows us an example of a burakku kigyou. These “black companies” take advantage of their employees, forcing them to work unpaid overtime and essentially live at work. Some companies can be so terrible to work for that their employees would rejoice at the prospect of a zombie outbreak because it means they don’t have to go to work anymore!
Watching My Tiny Senpai, it’s nice to be reminded that there are normal companies where employees work hard but take plenty of breaks and form positive relationships with their co-workers. (And J-List, too!)
Being a Senpai Isn’t Easy
According to the Know Your Meme website, the phrase “I hope Senpai notices me” became popular on the Internet in 2012. Senpai, of course, refers to any senior in a school or organization, including companies. The role of a senpai is to be a mentor and guide for their kohai juniors, who in turn show deference and respect. The relationship is based on the number of years in the organization, not age, so a 30-year-old could easily have a 22-year-old senpai…as Rudeus learns in a recent episode of Mushoku Tensei.
(As an aside, the tendency to refer to people by these titles, Senpai, Sensei, Kacho / Section Chief, etc. makes it a challenge to ever learn peoples’ names, since you’re referring to them by these titles all the time.)
What are the five linguistic features that define the Japanese language? Read this blog post!
I’ll never forget when I first became a senpai. I had taken a newly hired ESL teacher out to an izakaya for drinks so I could get to know him. Although Americans will generally treat each other as equals right from the start, I realized that I was now a senpai to the new guy, and thus had to take responsibility to guide him as he got used to living in Japan. This meant that drinks would have to be on me, because that’s what a senpai does. When the new hire tried to protest, I told him, “Some day you’ll understand. This is a senpai thing.”
My Tiny Senpai Reminds Us That Japanese Have Low Dating Experience
You’ve probably read articles about how “40% of Japanese have never been on a date.” Heck, I’ve written some of those articles. It’s true that the number of Japanese who have never been in a romantic relationship can be shockingly high, and because they lack basic relationship skills, it can be a difficult issue to fix. I find it both hilarious and sad that the “most perverted country in the world” is among the least sexually experienced.
In one episode of My Tiny Senpai, Shiori, Takuma and Takuma’s childhood friend Chinatsu are asked to describe anecdotes from their own romantic histories. Because none of them had ever had a boyfriend/girlfriend, they were all unable to suggest anything.
Workplace Romance is Important to Japan
Since we all spend so much time at work, obviously the workplace is an important potential source of potential romantic partners. In the past, as many as 50% of Japanese found their partners at work, although, in recent years this has been on the decline. Currently, marriages from high school or university and partners that met on online apps are the most common.
Good Things Come in Small Packages
The concept of moe is all about creating cute and charming characters will win the hearts of fans, and what’s more kawaii than being short? It works great in this anime, and it worked in reverse with The Dangers In My Heart.
Ignore Haters on the Internet
When the trailer for My Tiny Senpai dropped, certain users of the
And for all the whiners complaining that My Tiny Senpai would be filled with sexy fan service? There’s almost none at all. Other than the general male fantasy of working with a sexy, short senpai who’s interested in what we have to say.
What should we do with “problematic anime”? Probably watch and enjoy them. Blog post for you here!
Want some awesome My Tiny Senpai posters from Megami Magazine? They’re in stock on the site now!
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