Not every company is like this, of course.
One of the main reasons Ryosuke and I moved out of Tokyo (to the quieter, surrounding countryside) is the incredible work ethic people seem to have in Tokyo. All day at the office, then drinks with your boss and coworkers, stumbling home on the last train, and grabbing a couple hours of sleep before heading back to work the next morning.
During the busy season in some offices, workers end up spending the a couple of nights a week sleeping at a nearby capsule hotel. There isn’t enough time to go home.
This seems to be the biggest complaint of foreign (especially Western) wives of Japanese men, in Japan: their husbands work too much. They don’t have enough time for date night, spending time with the kids, helping with housework, or hobbies. Their entire life revolves around work.
Ryosuke’s job wasn’t ever that bad, thankfully, but it still had him working more hours than what is emotionally healthy. He usually spent over 12 hours in the office, five days a week. On weekends, he was too exhausted to go out or do anything.
Lucky for us, we were in a position that allowed him to quit his job. We don’t own a house. We don’t have children (yet). We had paid off all our loans/debts. I had income coming in from book sales/freelance work.
Other people haven’t been so lucky and it really does break my heart. It’s so easy to get trapped in a less-than-deal situation because of financial constraints.