This summer I'll be doing an internship doing R&D (in computer science) in a japanese company. Right now I'm a CS student in college in a western country, so there is no dress code among the researchers. I already did an internship last year in another university in my country and everybody dressed casual (except maybe the lab director who was more formal, but still less than wearing a suit).

Am I expected to show up wearing a suit, or do you think that wearing a shirt and blue jeans will be ok?

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    I'm not going to vote to close this as I don't know Japanese culture well enough, but the best person to ask about the dress code would be your manager. – David K Feb 8 '18 at 14:04
  • @DavidK In this case/context that is the only answer. – Neo Feb 9 '18 at 12:48
  • (1) Manners are important in Asian world. Please never forget to capitalize "Japanese" everytime you write it. (2) As a #1 rule everywhere, ask the manager if you are not sure about the dress code. Do not ask here. Most people (except your future manager) cannot give you an accurate answer.. – scaaahu Feb 10 '18 at 4:59

Will the internship with the Japanese company be in Japan or in their office in a Western country?

Regardless, I would say ask the recruitment contact / hiring manager at the company.

If the directions from them are unclear, and if the job is in Japan, then ask anyone you know who might have Japanese friends if they could weigh in. If you end up with no clear answers from people with first-hand experience, then the standard salaryman attire seems like a safe bet. Good luck!

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    Thank you for your answer, the internship will indeed be in Japan. You're right, I'll just ask them myself. – Ricardo Feb 8 '18 at 14:14

As others have said at the end of the day it does come down to that specific companies' culture. To add to that though, my wife and I both work in the software industry in Japan and both our companies have very informal dress codes (a number of employees at both offices frequently wear gym shorts and flip flops). In my experience start-ups and companies with western parent offices seem to be to follow this rule more often than not. Certainly asking is the best option, but I'd also recommend to dress up your first day regardless (which generally tends to make a good impression anyway) and get a feel for how everyone else is dressed and plan accordingly after that.

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It really depends on the company culture. If it is an older/large company, there is a large chance that it may require suits for work, but newer smaller companies are starting to dress more casually, especially if it is a non-customer facing position. Have you not seen anyone from the company, or pictures of the work environment? Emulating that manner of dress would be acceptable. However, your best bet is to just ask your contact what the expectations are.

If you can't get a good answer from your contact, then I would recommend wearing a suit on your first day, and figure out what to wear on your second day on from there. You'll leave a better image being overdressed than you would being underdressed. There are still many old-fashioned people who take this sort of thing seriously in Japan.

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