The Top 5 Most Prestigious Scholarships in Japan

Author: Nadira Annisa

Published date: December 13th, 2019

Japan provides various scholarships for both international and domestic students, to cover for those who need some form of financial help to pursue their studies. The amounts vary, however prestigious and big scholarships, give quite a large amounts.

As an international student studying far from home, we really come to learn how to live by ourselves and manage on our own. This includes learning to pay for our own bills, rent, electricity and so much more. Some students also do part time jobs to cover for their own expenses, which gets very tough when you also have your classes and many extracurricular activities to balance as well.

However, scholarships can be a great opportunity for these students who might not have the means to continue their studies otherwise. So here are the top 5 scholarships you can apply for, and some tips from students who successful got a scholarship.

JASSO Scholarship

JASSO, or the Japan Student Services Organization, is an organization that supports international students living in Japan. They are an organization that works in tandem with the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan to manage scholarships for International students.

According to their website, “We provide scholarships and information both for students studying abroad and international students looking to study in Japan." They also state that "as globalization progresses and the acceptance of foreigners increases, we will be aiming to further promote the exchange of international students."

JASSO has two kinds of scholarships, one is the Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students. For this scholarship, applicants must apply through their own educational institution, as this scholarship is for privately-financed international students. Recipients in the undergraduate and graduate level will receive 48,000 yen per month.

The other scholarship is the Student Exchange Support Program (Scholarship for Short-term Study in Japan). Students that are accepted here can receive 80,000 yen per month.


Deadline: Depending on university, but generally occur before May (for the Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students)

Amount of Money:

The Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students: 48,000 yen a month (6 months or a year)

Student Exchange Support Program (Scholarship for Short-term Study in Japan): 80,000 yen per month

Ando Momofuku Award

The Ando Momofuku Award is actually considered more as an award rather than a scholarship. This award is given by the late Dr. Ando, the founder of Nissin, and the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Ritsumeikan University. The prize is intended to support and encourage students who are expected to go on to become leaders in the Asia Pacific region.

Because Ando Momofuku himself graduated from Ritsumeikan, the recepeints are limited to students studying under the Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Osaka, Shiga or Ritsumeikan APU in Beppu, Oita.

Radoslav Tsvetkov

We interviewed Radoslav Tsvetkov — or more known by his nickname Radi — to tell us a bit about how he applied for the award. He is currently a 7th semester student at Ritsumeikan APU, and was a recipient of the Ando Momofuku Award.

"Here in APU, the process of applying for the scholarship is a bit different compared to students in other Ritsumeikan Universities. In other universities, they only look at their GPA. However in APU, we go through a few screenings until it is announced whether or not we received the award. First we write an essay, and also give our activity record. After we passed the first screening, only 4 people get chosen, and those 4 people will then present, which is open for public at the final round." said Radi.

He also told us a bit about the contents he needed to write, although similar to other scholarships, what makes this award unique is the requirement to read the book by Ando Momofuku, and create a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) plan for Nissin Corporation based on that. Radi himself applied when he was in the 3rd semester, and was preparing since the previous semester.

Lastly, he also added, "Some of the qualifications they are looking for are students that have high academic and extracurricular achievements. Secondly, they want to see a role model behavior from these students, and [the potential] to be future leaders that want to contribute to the Asia Pacific. Last but not least, [they want] people with the same ideals as the late Ando Momofuku."


Application Deadline: (previous year) October 25th 2019

Amount of Money: 500,000 yen (for 3rd and 5th Semester Students) / 1,000,000 yen (for 8th Semester students)

MEXT Scholarship

The MEXT Scholarship is another well known scholarship within international students. The MEXT Scholarship is funded by the Japanese Government, and there are different types and ways to receive this scholarship.

The amount of money that is given for each type of scholarship also vary. The scholarship with large amounts are usually offered before you study in Japan. They are further divided into types of students (undergraduate, masters, or doctoral). You can receive this scholarship is through the Japanese embassy of your home country, or via recommendation by the university you will study at, or lastly, through your current school.

Radi tells us that on top of the Ando Momofuku award, he also received the MEXT SGU Scholarship. "I received an email before going to Japan, they said that they recommended me for this scholarship, and I could try to apply. It was an interesting application process since they asked me to write about my research plan if i were to write a thesis paper."

Below are the specific amounts of money you can receive for each different scholarship.

Scholarships you can apply to before coming to Japan

Scholarships for Exchange Students

Scholarships you can apply to after coming to Japan

(Source: Study in Japan website)


Upcoming Deadlines: Depending on program

Amount of money: Depending on program (view table above for more detailed information)

Makita Scholarship

Another scholarship you should know about is the Makita Scholarship. Zena Fadilla, a recipient of the scholarship, told us about her experiences. "I was selected to be one of ten international student recipients of the Makita Jinichi Scholarship, which pays a stipend of 100,000 yen (approximately 1000 USD) per month for a period of two years. This scholarship was awarded to students who excel in both academics and extracurricular activities."

Zena also tells us a bit about her process of submitting the scholarship, which is offered by Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES). "It's just like a normal scholarship essay, where you talk about your academics and extracurricular activities, but you also need to ask for a recommendation letter. Another part that's different is that in the essay they also ask you to talk about your research or thesis paper that you are currently writing."


Upcoming Deadline: January (Dates depending on University)

Amount of money: 100,000 yen per month (for 2 years)

Mitsubishi Corporation International Scholarship

The Mitsubishi Corporation International Scholarship, also provided by JEES and supported by the Mitsubishi corporation, is one that intends to "provide support to outstanding foreign students who are studying at Japanese universities and graduate schools at their own expense. It is hoped that this will both help alleviate the financial concerns and enhance the learning effectiveness of the recipients."

The scholarship is given on the basis of alignment with "Mitsubishi Corporation’s Three Corporate Principles: Shoki Hoko (Corporate Responsibility to Society), Shoji Komei (Integrity and Fairness) and Ritsugyo Boeki (Global Understanding Through Business)."

Undergraduate recepients will receive 100,000 Yen per month for two years, while graduates students can receive up to 150,000 Yen per month. Applications need to be done through your own university or educational institute, and not directly through the organization.


Upcoming Deadline: January (Dates depending on University)

Amount of money: Undergraduate: 100,000 yen for a month / Graduate: 150,000 yen for a month

Word of Advice

Based on the interview with senpais that have received the scholarship, here are 4 tips to keep in mind before you submit your applications.

  1. Know yourself really well, because in the scholarship you will talk about yourself and what you want to achieve

  2. They want to see a connection between your past, present and future. So they want to know where you are headed to, after experiencing your past and present.

  3. Appeal yourself without sounding selfish. So try to appeal in a humble way. Your attitude matters.

  4. What's most important is the ability to sell yourself. (This also applies to job hunting.)

We hope that these articles have helped you figure out more about scholarships, so don't give up and good luck on your applications!

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