Scholarships in Japan for International Students

Scholarships in Japan for International Students
Scholarships in Japan for International Students

Are you looking for scholarships in Japan for international students? You just found it, Scholarships in Japan for International Students is  offered by Japanese universities open every year between February and May. Scholarships by Japanese Government and organizations may be offered at any time of the year.

Requirements for getting a scholarship often include a certificate of proficiency in the desired language – Japanese language for Japanese -taught programs and English language for English-taught programs.

Why Study in Japan?

After World War II in 1945, Japan was in ruin. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been wrecked by atomic bomb; factories burned to aches, nearly everyone were jobless. The question then was; how will a devastated nation, with zero natural resources, less than 10% arable land, feed over 100 million people.

To survive, the Japanese resolved to continually develop the capacity to import raw materials, add value to them and export. This simplified approach to a complex problem has turned Japan to the third largest economy in the world today.

Known for making things smaller, faster and first, Japan’s economic strength is largely due to the strong research and development industry that underlies successful international brands such as Nissan, Toyota, Panasonic, Canon and Sony; as well as producing robots for every imaginable need.

Unsurprisingly, an excellent higher education system lies behind all this innovation. You wouldn’t be wrong to want to learn from this country.

Interestingly, the Japanese government is keen to attract more international students, and has set a target of having 300,000 foreign students in the country by 2020 (it reached the 100,000 mark in 2003). As a result, universities are focusing on making life easier for foreign students, from the application process all the way through to finding a job after graduation.

A point of attraction for international students to study in Japan is the introduction of more courses taught partly or entirely in English. Universities hire special staffs to support international students. International students are allowed to start courses in September, instead of April, which is when Japan’s academic year usually begins. There is also increase in exchange programs with universities in other countries.

How to Apply to Study in Japan

Because living and studying in Japan is expensive compared to many countries, the Japanese government has also introduced additional financial support for foreign students. Various university scholarships and grants are available through the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO).

The University of Tokyo, Kyoto University and Tokyo Institute of Technology are the top three universities in Japan according to QS World University Ranking 2019.

To apply for admission, rather than submitting a GPA (grade point average) or other assessment grades, students applying to universities in Japan, either at the undergraduate or graduate level, are required to take entrance examinations.

The ‘Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)’ is the standardized test for foreign students, designed to test basic academic skill in areas of science, mathematics and ‘Japan and the world’. About 95% of national universities, 65% of public universities and 44% of private institutions require the EJU for entrance.

Fees for the tests range between ¥7,560 and ¥14,040 (US$67-$125) depending on how many subjects you take, and the test is offered twice a year. But some fully funded scholarships may cover this and all costs

In addition to the entrance examinations, applicants are likely to be asked to provide a completed application form, academic transcripts, proof of sufficient finances to cover tuition fees, academic references, a valid passport and a couple of passport-sized photographs.

Visa requirements to Study in Japan

International students intending to study for more than three months in Japan will need to apply for a student visa. To do this, you should first obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, which will be applied for on your behalf by the Japanese institution you have been accepted by.

Once this has been issued, you will need to apply for your visa through your local Japanese embassy or consulate. As well as the original certificate of eligibility (and an additional photocopy), you will also need to provide a valid passport, a completed application form and a recent passport-sized photograph.

If you want to work in Japan while studying, you’ll need to obtain ‘Permission to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted’, which you can apply for at an immigration bureau once you arrive in Japan. As a general rule, this permission will entitle you to work up to 28 hours a week during term-time and eight hours a day during official holiday periods.

Tuition Fees, Living Costs & Funding

Tuition fees in Japan, although some of the most expensive in Asia, still look very appealing in comparison to Western countries such as the UK or the US. Typically, you can expect to pay between ¥535,800 and ¥1,725,966 (US$4,760-15,340) annually.

Average costs of living in Japan are ¥89,000 (US$790) per month, or $9,480 per year. Tokyo, unsurprisingly, is the most expensive place to live in Japan. Here, the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) recommends a budget of approximately ¥102,000 (US$905) per month to cover rent, food, insurance, entertainment and other living costs, which works out at $10,860 per year.

20+ Scholarships in Japan for International Students (+Fully Funded)

Thanks to Japan’s ambitious reforms, international students now have more opportunities to gain funding than ever before. With the percentage of international students remaining well below the targets laid out by the CIEE, there are a range of government scholarships, grants and loan schemes open to outstanding international applicants.

The Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship is one such scheme, for which students will need a recommendation from their university or local Japanese embassy.

We have put together a comprehensive list of partial and fully funded scholarships in Japan for international students:

1. Rotary Yoneyama Foundation Scholarships for International Students

The Rotary Yoneyama Memorial Foundation awards scholarships to overseas students who aspire to study or conduct research in Japanese universities or graduate schools. Its scholarship fund is supported by the contributions of Rotarians throughout Japan. The Foundation is Japan’s largest private scholarship organization, both in terms of program scale and number of scholarships awarded..

Application Deadline: 16th October.

Number of Scholarships: several

Value of Scholarship:

  • Undergraduates: 100,000 yen per month
  • Masters students: 140,000 yen per month
  • Doctoral students: 140,000 yen per month

Only for the first year of the scholarship, a supplemental of 400,000 yen is provided upon arrival in Japan.

Duration of Scholarship: period of study

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2. Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho: MEXT Scholarships for African Students (Undergraduate, Masters, Doctoral, College of Technology Specialized Training Programme)

The objective of the Scholarship is to provide opportunities for advanced education and training for African and other international students so that they may obtain the necessary knowledge to assist their countries to formulate comprehensive policies.

Application Deadline: Varying

Number of Awards: Numerous

Value of Award: MEXT scholarship is one of the few opportunities covering full expense hence very competitive in nature. Being eligible and having a high academic performance (GPA 2.3 or above out of 3.0) is vital.

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3. Government of Japan (MEXT) Scholarships for Research Students

The Japanese Government’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) is offering scholarships to those who are enrolled in a master’s course, a doctoral course, or a professional graduate course at a graduate school, or who are conducting research in a specialized field at an undergraduate department, graduate school, institute attached to a university, etc.

without the aim of completing the course, or who are receiving preparatory education in the Japanese language and other subjects prior to placement at the university, etc. (Excluding the Young Leaders Program(YLP) students or teacher training students.)

Application Deadline: 5th January. Visit individual country embassies for more information.

Number of Scholarships: Not specified

Value of Scholarship:

  • Allowance: 143,000yen (Research Students(non-regular students), 144,000yen (regular students in Master’s courses or professional graduate courses), or 145,000yen(regular students in doctoral courses) per month. (In case that the recipient research in a designated region, 2,000 or 3,000 yen per month will be added. The monetary amount each year may be subject to change due to budgetary reasons.)
  • Transportation to and from Japan
  • Tuition and Other Fees: Fees for the entrance examination, matriculation, and tuition at universities will be borne by the Japanese Government.

Duration of Scholarship: period of study

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4. Japan Africa Dream Scholarship Programme for African Students

The Japan Africa Scholarship (JADS) Program – capacity building in energy sector through skills development for sustainable development– is a joint initiative by the AfDB and Japan that aims at providing two-year scholarship awards to highly achieving African graduate students to enable them to undergo post-graduate studies (i.e. a two-year Master’s degree program) in priority development areas on the continent and abroad (including in Japan).

This JADS program is funded by the Government of Japan.

Application Deadline: Varying by universities (Earliest date 30th April)

Number of Awards: Several

Value of Award: The scholarship program provides tuition, a monthly living stipend, round-trip airfare, health insurance, and travel allowance.

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5. Keio University Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) for Masters Students in Developing Countries

Since 1996, the Graduate School of Business and Commerce of Keio University has been training promising tax personnel in the field of tax policy and administration with its Master’s Degree Program in Taxation Policy and Management.

This program brings together the cooperation of Keio University, the National Tax Agency of Japan (NTA), and the World Bank in an alliance between public and private institutions. Keio University, a leading private university in Japan, established the program as one of the partnership programs of the Joint Japan /World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP).

Application Deadline: 31st October

Number of Awards: 5

Value of Award: The JJ/WBGSP scholarship provides the recipient with the following benefits:

  • Economy class air travel between your home country and the host university at the start of your study program and immediately following the end of the scholarship period. In addition to the two-way air travel, scholars will receive a US $500 travel allowance for each trip;
  • Tuition for your graduate program and the cost of basic medical insurance usually obtained through the university.
  • A monthly allowance of JPY 152,000 to cover living expenses, including books.

Duration of Program: Two years

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6. Japan-WCO International Scholarships for Young Customs Officials

The Japan-WCO Human Resource Development Programme (Scholarship Programme) provides Customs officials from developing countries with an opportunity to pursue Master’s level studies and training in Customs related fields in Strategic Management and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) at the Aoyama Gakuin University (AGU) in Tokyo, Japan.

The Master degree programme comprises two segments: an academic segment and a practical segment. The academic segment starts with focused teaching of foundational skills in strategic management and IPR. The practical segment is taught in co-operation with the Japan Customs, including the Japan Customs Training Institute.

Application Deadline: 18th August

Number of Awards: 55 Customs officials from 38 Members in all the WCO regions

Value of Awards:

  • A monthly stipend of 147,000 yen which covers living expenses such as food, clothing, and other daily expenses, as well as accommodations, transportation, medical treatment, insurance, and various miscellaneous expenses related to your study at AGU.
  • Admission(290,000 yen) and tuition fees (902,000 yen) of  which will be paid directly to AGU by the Japan-WCO Human Resource Development Scholarship Program.
  • Round-trip economy-class air tickets between candidate’s home country and Japan. Airfare is provided for the scholar only and the travel must be on the date specified by AGU.

Duration of Awards: For the period of the master’s programme

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7. ABE Initiative Masters Scholarship + Internship Program for African Students

The objective of the ABE Initiative master’s degree and internship program is to support young personnel who have the potential to contribute to the development of industries in Africa.

This programme offers opportunities for young African men and women to study at master’s courses in Japanese universities as international students (hereafter referred to as participants) and experience internships at Japanese enterprises.

Application Deadline: August to October

Number of Awardees: 200 participants from the 54 countries in Africa

Value of Scholarship and Internship: JICA will provide the following expenses for participant of the program which is equivalent to similar JICA schemes.

  • Tuition at Japanese university master’s degree programs (and research student)
  • Allowances for living expenses, outfit, shipping etc.
  • A round-trip airfare
  • Expenses for support programs during the study in Japan, including the costs of observation tours and internship
  • Other costs should be covered by the participants’ organizations or other individuals.

Participants are not allowed to work while their stay in Japan.

Duration of Scholarship and Internship: It is expected that the duration of stay in Japan will be a maximum of 3 years. (6 months as a research student, 2 years as a student for master course and 6 months as an intern).

Apply Now


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