Studying in Japan may sound like a long-reach dream, especially for financially challenged students. However, given the multiple selections of scholarships available in Japan, this dream could quickly become a reality as long as you drive yourself to look for a scholarship that you are eligible.

One of the most prestigious scholarships offered in Japan is the JASSO Scholarship. This scholarship is being provided by the Japan Student Services Organization or JASSO. The organization provides scholarships for both Japanese and international students in Japan. For Japanese students, the organization provides scholarship loans to financially challenged students.

On the other hand, for international students, the organization provides the following two scholarships: (1) Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students and (2) Student Exchange Support Program (Scholarship for Short-Term Study in Japan).

The Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students

JASSO provides this scholarship for international students with excellent academic standing who are enrolled in undergraduate schools, graduate schools, junior colleges, colleges of technology, specialized courses in specialized training colleges, university preparatory courses, or Japanese language institutions in Japan and financially challenged.

The scholarship is given to 7,800 students, which is composed of 7,170 undergraduate and graduate students and 630 students of Japanese language schools. The recipient will receive a monthly stipend of 48,000 yen for undergraduate and graduate students, and 30,000 yen for students of Japanese language schools. This grant will run for 12 months, from April to March of next year.

To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must be enrolled in undergraduate schools, graduate schools, junior colleges, colleges of technology, specialized courses in specialized training colleges, university preparatory courses, or Japanese language institutions in Japan. The applicant must not also be receiving MEXT scholarships or any other foreign government scholarship.

In order to apply for this scholarship, please contact the educational institution that you are currently enrolled in. Please take note that the application is processed through the institution, not through JASSO itself. The application runs from late March until the middle of May. For more details, please refer to this link: The Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students – JASSO

Student Exchange Support Program (Scholarship for Short-Term Study in Japan

JASSO offers this scholarship to students who intend to do an exchange program at universities in Japan. This scholarship covers both undergraduate and graduate programs. The recipient of this scholarship will be granted a monthly stipend of 80,000 yen per month until the exchange program ends.

To be eligible for this scholarship, students must come from a country that has diplomatic ties with Japan, including Taiwan and Palestine. Applicants must also prove that they are not financially capable of studying in Japan without the scholarship.

The application of this scholarship is processed through your home university. To learn more about the application process, please contact the relevant office at your home university.

Advice from Past JASSO Scholarship Recipients

Soukei (Waseda-Keio) Tournament

Jonghoon Ok – Keio University & Seoul National University

“There was no choice for me except for applying to JASSO scholarship. There were lots of awards, but all of these have a strict screening (e.g., monthly income of parents). Fortunately, JASSO does not require any special conditions to receive. You can try it!

Other scholarships for international students studying in Japan were not for me. Scholarships for exchange students are very limited, and the JASSO scholarship is the best from what I know. Also, there are many scholarships for exchange students you can apply before leaving your home country. I recommend you to search as many as you can.”

Sherah Reyes – Waseda University & New York University

“During my application process to Waseda University’s year-long international exchange program, I was told by my academic advisors at my home university to be considered for JASSO, all I had to do was check a box next to a statement saying that I want to apply for the scholarship.

Therefore, in my case, applying was a process that was a straightforward, one-step act. I learned that I was an applicant who met the following conditions of enrolling and eventually being accepted in a higher educational institution in Japan, demonstrating excellent academic and personal records at my home school, completing my studies at my home school upon termination of the period of study in Japan, being eligible for ‘Student Visa’, and not receiving any other scholarship from the Japanese government or JASSO together with this scholarship. This meant that I qualified for being considered to receive JASSO.

Both the recruiting period and how exchange students are selected to receive JASSO varies from school to school and from program to program. In the case of Waseda University, all students with a 3.1 GPA or higher are eligible to be nominated for the JASSO scholarship. The system is nomination-based only as students are not required to submit additional application materials. However, due to the competitiveness of the scholarship, students who received JASSO usually have a GPA of 3.5 or higher out of 4.0.

How did the JASSO Scholarship help me?

The JASSO scholarship has improved my personal experience as a short-term international exchange student in various ways. I have used my scholarship stipend to aid in fees related to my dormitory, school supplies and textbooks, and academic projects. Without the JASSO, my educational experience would be vastly different so far because I wouldn’t have had been able to meet a lot of my goals, such as those that involve going on trips within and beyond Tokyo to gather information for my upcoming senior thesis, that is of considerable significance to me. All in all, receiving JASSO has been such an impactful blessing for me, and I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to reap its benefits. “

Jasper Valentino – Keio University & University of the Philippines

“I applied for an exchange program and JASSO scholarship through our international office in the Philippines as the university is promoting the new programs that they offer. I needed to pass a study proposal and other documents such as medical certificate, transcript of grades, and financial documents.

Fortunately, I got in, and it enabled me to do the study abroad.”