Japanese Government and other types of scholarships for International Students

For years the Japanese government had been offering scholarship programs to help students enjoy the world class education Japan has to offer. Learn more about the government and other types of scholarships in Japan and know just which one is for you.

Table of Contents

Japanese Scholarship Grants

An Introduction

Japan has been incredibly generous including to people from different and diverse backgrounds when it comes to education. 

Among the different privileges that Japan can offer to non-Japanese students is a full or partial scholarship grant. Yes! Japan is a pro-education country who offers countless scholarships to higher education students. And anyone can get the chance to study in any university in Japan for almost absolutely free! As long as your country has diplomatic relations with Japan and you’re backed-up with proper recommendations, go through the process diligently, and get selected, then you’re good to go!

Now, there are lots and lots of scholarship grants that Japan offers to both domestic and foreign students. With regards to the scholarship grants offered to foreign or international students, there are also quite a numerous number of offers. Let’s explore some of them.

Japanese Scholarship Programs

These 4 scholarships offer a look at the different types of scholarships offered by Japan. These are government-offered scholarships, JASSO scholarships, scholarships offered by private corporations, and school-specific scholarships. Because of these scholarships, anyone can obtain high quality education in a highly globalized and innovative country!

MEXT Scholarship

Starting at the top is the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Scholarship. 

The MEXT scholarship has various types of programs. These include Undergraduate Students, Research Students, Japanese Studies Students, Teacher Training Students, Technology Students, Professional Training College Students, and Young Leaders Program.

MEXT scholarship applicants need to have either University Recommendation or Embassy Recommendation for them to have better chances of having the scholarship.

The MEXT scholarship program has a certain age requirement - 17 to 34 years old. It also has an academic background requirement, varying from high school to university completion. Another is the period of scholarship, from 1 year up to 5 years or until the course ends. These are all solely dependent on the type of scholarship program.

※ Kyoto University, "Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship"

Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) Scholarship

JASSO is an organization that funds international or foreign students. This organization works in cooperation with MEXT to regulate scholars.

JASSO has two kinds of scholarship, the Monbukagasho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students and the Student Exchange Support Program (Scholarship for Short-term Study in Japan).

JASSO scholarship seekers need to pass the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students. This is to see if the candidates are equipped with skills needed to study in Japan.

※ Japan Student Services Organization, "Scholarships for Study in Japan"

Mitsubishi Corporation International Scholarship

Mitsubishi Corporation International Scholarship, offered by Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES), is an example of a scholarship by a private foundation. It is approximately awarded to 50 new international students in their 3rd or 4th-year undergraduate studies, or Master's program, and Doctoral degrees with excellent academic achievement and with a high recommendation from their university. If you haven't received any scholarship grants from other institutions or Mitsubishi Corporation International Student Scholarship in the past, you are eligible to apply. However, this scholarship only applies to students at Designated universities, so you will need to contact the university you will enroll in to see if this program applies to you.

※ JASSO, "Scholarships for International Students in Japan" p. 25

Other examples of private scholarships include INOAC International Education and Scholarship Foundation, Nitori International Scholarship Foundation, Heiwa Nakajima Foundation, and College Women's Association of Japan (CWAJ) [for female applicants only].

Makita Jinichi International Scholarship

This scholarship is an example of a school specific scholarship, as this only applies to students who are studying at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, a school known for its diverse student population. Only 10 students are eligible for this scholarship fund which will last for 2 years. This scholarship is awarded to outstanding Undergraduate, Master’s, and Doctoral students who support their own studies.

※Japan Study Support, "MAKITA-JINICHI International Scholarship Fund"

Other scholarships that are school specific or prefecture/region specific include Atsumi International Foundation, Kato Asao International Scholarship Foundation, Iwaki Scholarship Foundation, and The Scholarship Fund for Foreign Students in Okinawa, to list just a few. There are also scholarships that are designated for the students’ country or region of origin or specific to area of study so details should be carefully checked to see if you are eligible. 

Please also check if you must be accepted or enrolled into a school first before you can apply to a scholarship, as many of the above have that as a general requirement. There is also a list of scholarships you can apply to from outside of the country in order to study in Japan as well. 

You can find all of this information on the JASSO website. 

Perks of being a Japanese Scholarship Recipient

All of these scholarship programs provide stipends known for notoriously allotting big sums of scholarship funds. For this reason, foreign and international students flock towards the country to access high quality education without breaking bank!

The amount every single scholar will receive will depend on the kind of scholarship program and the scholarship organization. Using the examples we listed above as reference:

MEXT scholars’ monthly stipend will depend on their academic level:

  • Undergraduate Students - ¥117,000

  • Research Students - ¥143,000 to ¥145,000

  • Japanese Studies Students - ¥117,000

JASSO scholars’ monthly stipend will depend on the kind of scholarship:

  • Monbukagashu Honors Scholarship - ¥30,000 to ¥48,000

  • Student Exchange Support Program - ¥80,000

Makita Jinichi and Mitsubishi Corporation scholars will receive monthly stipends based also in their academic level:

  • Undergraduate Students - ¥100,000

  • Graduate Students - ¥150,000

But wait, there’s more!

MEXT scholars who live in certain regions in Japan are subject to receive an additional ¥2,000 to ¥3,000 for their rent allowances like housing rent, electricity, water bills, and the like.

※Kyoto University, "Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship"

See? Everything is now practically free or very very affordable. Now, which of these prestigious scholarships would you apply for? Decide now!

To wrap it up!

A lot of scholarship grants are offered to students all throughout the world, but these Japanese scholarship programs are unlike any other! 

Japan offers highly trained professors and world class learning environments all for free for the sake of higher educational attainment and educational innovation! The country has already acquired an extremely advanced educational paradigm and to be part of it for absolutely free is one great opportunity. You really have nothing to lose yet you have so much more to gain!

※JASSO, "Scholarships for International Students in Japan"
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