ブラックフラグ[black flag]

November 6, 2009 at 4:48 am (general, otaku word, slang)


 A while ago, I saw a funny demo video for the upcoming movie named ブラック会社に勤めてるんだが、もう俺は限界かもしれない[I am working at a black company, but I am nearly coming to the end]. The title even makes me laugh, but as I learned about the storyline, it chilled my spine. The plot is like this: An ex-NEET guy who dropped out of high-school starts to work at a certain IT company. He managed to get a lisence as a programmer since his hard work was paid-off. But his job hunting was really tough because he used to be a NEET for ages. Still, he decides to get a steady life for the sake of his mother who passed away. He finally gets a job, and everything seems to be okay…but the company is actually…ブラック会社[black gaisha]!

 First thing first though, what is ブラック会社? I think some of you can guess what it means, well, maybe you might say “dark” to replace it. As an adjective usage, you could say like a dark-hearted guy. However, we Japanese say 黒い[kuroi] or black to mean something like this. For example, バンギンは黒い男です[bangin wa kuroi otoko desu] or bangin is a dark-hearted man, which is possibly true僕はオトメンだから黒くないよ^^. In this way, black in Japanese means something dark, something scary, something awkward unless it mentions just a color.

 So ブラック会社[black gaisha] is, as you figured out, a terribly awkward company(会社[kaisha] means a company). You can also say ブラック企業[black kigyou], the meaning is the same.

 Then what is ブラック会社 like? The point is, 1) poor salary and 2) less or no holidays. Because of such a terrible working circumstance, most people quit soon. It used to be an internet slang, but now it has become a general term. それっていいことなのだろうか…Especially, those students who are engaged in job hunting often use to call such a company. Also, if you tell or doubt the company seems to be a ブラック会社, watch out, there is a ブラックフラグ[black flag] on it. I already explained フラグ[flag] here, but that was just a turning point in love. But if you can see ブラックフラグ on the company you are going to…what would you do? You really have to care before you enter, or your life would be…

 There are some tactics to check if a company is a ブラック会社. Please look at the headline of the classified ad. They mostly say good things, and never say bad ones. So you have to see the other side of it.

a. 若い人が多い会社です![There are so many young people!]

 This might mean that almost no one can go on working for a long time, that is why everybody is so young.

b. 土日完全週休二日制[Sat and Sun are absolutely off],

 means that you can’t get a day-off on other holiday weeks.

c. ノルマ一切無し![No quota at all],

 means that you are forced to make your quota, and if you can’t fulfill it, you would get a pay cut or be fired.

d. 残業はほとんどありません![Almost no overtime work],

 means there is NOT no overtime work, BUT no salary for overtime].

 Above is just a few examples, and there are more. In particular, what most otakus hate is d, that is 残業[zangyou] or overtime because there would be no time to spare for your hobby. You can’t find time to make a doujinshi, can’t go to comiket, can’t cosplay. Nothing to do. If you can get a salary for overtime, it is still fine. But if not, are you sure about this? We say サービス残業[service zangyou], and abbreviate it as サー残[sahzan]. In above movie, the hero is forced to do サービス残業 or work all night long. I can’t believe it! I have two friends who are working at an IT company, and according to the two, this is true. They have to meet the deadline, so that is why they must work overtime. But they say that is ブラック会社 if you can’t get an extra payment.

 However in this recession, having a job is even a good thing. There are a bunch of jobless people, and even professional technicians fail to get a job. Things changed. Nothing is sure, no one knows what is sure. ブラック会社 is sure terrible, but we have to work to survive. I can’t say 働いたら負けかなと思ってる because I have to make money for cosplay! Yes, if you have something motivates you, you can work. As I have said, things changed. Company won’t protect you like before, so no one but you can protect yourself. 世知辛い世の中になったものですね…

 No matter what, it’s not a bad thing that we try to be aware of a ブラックフラグ. Okay, this is practice. Do you see a ブラックフラグ on this blog?


  1. animekritik said,

    that’s funny. but black gaisha are terrible things indeed. and i think if you join they will try to keep you there forever!

    • bangin said,

      That’s why it chills my spine!

  2. kyatto said,

    I did a survey when I was in Japan, and asked lots of people questions like, “日本社会から、残業が減る可能性があると思いますか。” (Do you think there is a possibility for overwork to decrease in Japanese society) And most people usually said No. Their reasons were “日本人の文化的な所” (Japanese culture) or “社会のシステム、日本人の考え方” (The societal system, the Japanese way of thinking.)

    Like it’s ingrained or something. It’s not just the ブラック会社’s fault….. *shrug*

  3. bangin said,

    Even if we finish the work till a right time, we yet to help others or wait until they finish. Such is a main reason. If you go home, they might say you are self-centered or KY(空気が読めない人).
    Meanwhile, there are people who do 残業 on purpose to make money. If the company pays an extra money for overwork, anyone would do.

    Sounds like people are shrewed, but no. Because they can’t get enough salary unless they do 残業. Pretty difficult.

    Can I ask you one thing? When were you in Japan?

    • kyatto said,

      I was in Japan from September of last year to May of this year 🙂 I’m thinking about going back after I graduate in May. ^_^

  4. Mariko said,

    Wow… This is something new. (I mean about –> [black flag]) I know about this but no one ever goes into details.. till now.

    Just to speak, why would people allow their employees to be overworked. Cases of overworking in Japan are extremely common, in severe cases, the worker dies because of it… I read them in the World section of my local English paper.

    The most obvious thing is, if you overwork, you don’t get enough sleep; no sleep = bad for health. My mum told me that Japan was a great place for travel but something like [black flag] it is things people have to change themselves.

    PUSH FOR CHANGE!~ (laughs)

    • bangin said,

      A friend of mine overworks almost everyday, by 23:00 or so, and there’s no extra salary for it unless the total amount of overworking hour comes to 140 hours per month. But well, considering a lot of jobless people, I think this is still good.

      Yes, while you are staying in Japan as a tourist, here looks good. But if you keep living here for more 3 months, you would find it difficult or painful.

      Sometimes I feel like praying for Kira-sama(Death Note) or Zero-sama(Code Geass)! 笑

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