Residency recruitment is conducted differently in Japan compared to the US. In fact, in the US I do not even know if there is any official recruiting method besides word-of-mouth and the interview day where they give out brochures and take applicants on a tour of the hospital.
The number of medical schools in Japan is also quite astounding for a country with the approximate size of California. Can you imagine >80 medical schools in California, with most of them in, say LA? Now, granted the population of Japan is also quite high, about half the US, with many of them living in urban areas. So, imagine half the US population being squished into California, and mainly in the big Californian cities, no less…. can be quite crowded.
Anyways, in Japan most residency programs congregate into one big convention center on a specific date at a specific city, i.e. Tokyo, Osaka, etc. I attended the residency recruitment fair in Tokyo (which interestingly enough also hosted an anime convention in the same building) with several other members of the faculty and residents.
On entering the convention hall, rows and rows of booths were lined up with each booth about 7 x 7 x 7 feet representing different residency programs. Some booths were extraordinarily large, which I believe, meant that particular program spent extra money for extra space.
Members of each booth were not allowed to step out of a marked line so that they couldn’t actively pursue and chase down medical students who happened to pass by. When the students showed interest in a particular program’s booth, they stepped into the “designated space” so that they could speak with any member of the program.
I was there mainly as the program’s “advertisement” of the year-round American faculty and US-styled residency program. Throughout the 8 hours of the fair, I spoke to about 3-4 interested students. While some of the students initially expressed interest in the American faculty to the other members, when I was pointed out to them that they could immediately speak with me, some of the students got a little scared (hopefully because they were not prepared to speak English and not because I was scary looking).
Anyways, it was an interesting experience, and the hospital may attend another recruitment fair in another city in the future.