Japan holds the recognition as a country popular to foreign nationals to do business in Asia or just to explore the temples amongst the cherry blossoms. The country, commonly referred to as “The Land of the Rising Sun,” is especially popular with the younger generations.
For years, Japan has continuously produced various media, from manga to anime, from J-pop and J-rock music to all the variations of Pokemon and Nintendo video games. These have helped fuel curiosity about Japan’s culture, advanced technology, and education. This article will discuss scholarships in Japan for international students.
Living Costs in Japan for International Students
Having an advanced economy comes with a price: a high standard of living. Rent varies in the different prefectures of Japan but be prepared to shell out ¥250000 (US $2500) if you prefer living in one-bedroom apartments in the major cities of Tokyo and Nagoya.
This will significantly go down to around ¥60000 (US $600) if you decide to live outside the city center, and this is what international students mostly do. Since Japan is very well-connected by trains, one option to cut costs is choosing apartments near train stations. Compare that to studying in less expensive cities such as Sapporo, Kyoto, and Fukuoka, which will only set you back by around ¥150000 (US $1500) per month.
Not to mention, the price of other expenses such as utilities (¥20000), transportation (¥5000 for a commuter rail pass), food (¥25000), and other miscellaneous expenses (¥10000)—including socials and phone plans—can total around ¥60000 (US $600). The differences between cities may not be much, especially since these are very urbanized cities, and they are always in competition globally in being the most expensive.
Can International Students Work in Japan?
Status of residence plays an important part in working in Japan. International students can work part-time under a student resident status if they ask for permission to perform activities other than what is allowed by their visa. After graduation, their status of residence should be revised according to their actual status.
They will be permitted to look for employment for six months under a Designated Activities status; if already employed, the status should be according to what their employer is (i.e. Skilled Labor).
Top Universities in Japan
Much like the Ivy League of the United States, Japan has its version of this prestigious group of universities. Previously called the Imperial Universities, they are now commonly called the National Seven Universities, a group of public universities in Japan considered Top Type universities by the Japanese government. Hokkaido University, Osaka University, Kyoto University, Kyushu University, Nagoya University, Tohoku University, and the University of Tokyo compose this group and consistently ranks internationally.
All these universities except Hokkaido U and Kyushu U are also assigned as Designated National University for their research, society collaboration, and internationalization. Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Hitotsubashi University—all in Tokyo—and the University of Tsukuba complete the nine universities with this coveted designation.
Best Scholarships in Japan
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) scholarship is the best scholarship in Japan and is a government-sponsored scholarship designed for international students. Students can choose from the various universities and higher learning institutions of Japan. There are scholarships for research students, teacher training students, and Young Leaders’ Program students for the graduate level.
Meanwhile, there are scholarships for undergraduate students, Japanese Studies students, College of Technology students, and Specialized Training College students for the undergraduate level. The students must take note of their preferred course and if this is available in their university of choice before applying for the scholarship. If accepted into the scholarship, a preparatory Japanese language education of 1 year for undergraduates and six months for graduate-level is required before university proper.
The Monbukagakusho scholarship comes with a tuition fee and academic fee waiver Tuition and enrollment fees total around ¥800000 to ¥900000 annually for national and public universities in Japan, while private universities go over ¥100000 in annual total fees. This Japan scholarship also comes with a monthly stipend and a roundtrip economy-class airfare ticket from Japan to the nearest international airport by their residence. MEXT will also provide an additional ¥2000 – ¥3000 monthly based on their location. The following are the awards for the different scholarships and varies per university:
- Undergraduate Student – ¥117000 to ¥119000
- Research Student – ¥143000 to ¥146000
- Masters Student – ¥144000 to ¥147000
- Doctorate Student – ¥145000 to ¥148000
Students in need of financial assistance can take this Honor Scholarship administered by the Japan Students Services Organization. Students of all undergraduate, graduate, college of technology, specialized training colleges, and Japanese studies institutions only need to enroll in their respective universities to be considered.
There are 6,640 slots total for the combined undergraduate and graduate-level students, while there are 560 slots for Japanese language students. These Japan scholarships include 12-month and 6-month scholarships. Successful applicants will receive a monthly stipend of ¥48000 for undergraduate and graduate students and ¥30000 for Japanese language students. Students must ensure that they didn’t avail of the tuition waiver of the MEXT or any other foreign scholarship to be eligible.
The Asian Development Bank provides scholarships for masters and doctorate students of development fields ranging from economics to science and technology. If they come from an ADB-borrowing member and have worked for at least two years after university graduation, then they may apply. With this Japan scholarship, a typical scholar of the ADB from Tokyo Tech, for example, will be provided a full tuition fee waiver, monthly allowance, housing, academic fees, roundtrip airfare, medical insurance, book allowance worth ¥10000 annually, and a research allowance worth ¥50000 annually.
Privately financed graduate students can avail of this Japan scholarship from the University of Tokyo. If the student is receiving other financial aid, then they are not eligible. This student will only be awarded a research grant worth ¥150000 to ¥200000 monthly, with no tuition fee exemption will be provided.
In total, less than 600 students who graduated with master’s, doctorate, and professional degree students have been fortunate to receive this scholarship in UTokyo.
One of the top universities in Japan, Kyushu U is located in the southernmost of Japan’s major islands. This university offers to finance the studies of international students enrolled in universities outside Japan and must be known as a leading university in their country of origin.
The undergraduate or graduate students must possess leadership qualities before being considered and offered these Japan scholarship for a 3- to a 12-month term of study. Only up to five students will be able to receive the paid travel cost of ¥50000 (if from Asia) or ¥100000 (outside of Asia), and a ¥80000 and ¥100000 monthly grant for undergraduate and graduate students, respectively. Only students who prefer to obtain a degree in Kyushu U as special auditors and special research students are eligible to apply.
The Japanese culture of ensuring quality makes everything in Japan —from goods, services, transportation, and most especially, education—maintain the hefty price tag. Despite the high education costs, Japan is still tracking closer to its goal of internationalizing its universities, with international students reaching less than 300000 by the latest numbers. Furthermore, with the support the Japanese government is giving to its students until employment, the international student population will inevitably continue to grow in the years to come.