Photo by Fiona Lee
Our Janitorial Staff – Who Are They?
This feature is part of a series that will highlight the often unseen but hugely important helping hands at ASIJ — the people who make the gears of the school turn smoothly.
You’ve seen the ASIJ janitorial staff, no doubt about it. But have you given them more than a cursory nod or glance? Perhaps not. They clean our classrooms and bathrooms, take out the trash, and make sure the Book Locker Room HS Commons doesn’t become the pigsty it otherwise would.
The majority of the janitorial team hails from China, many from rural villages. They are in Japan because of an immigration law that allows Chinese with some Japanese heritage to come to Japan and work, even if they don’t have college degrees. Though their pay is not high, these employees generally have access to better salaries and working conditions than they can find in China.
We’ve interviewed a few members of the janitorial staff to hear their stories and learn more about them. The interviews were conducted in Chinese, so the excerpts below have been translated into English and lightly edited for clarity.
A special thank you to Ms. Joyce Huang for helping us initiate and translate these interviews.