If you want to study in Japan, home of the bullet train, Nintendo Wii, instant noodles, and karaoke, you’ll be happy to learn that they want you as well.
The government is working hard to attract more international students, with a goal of 300,000 international students in the country by 2020. (it reached the 100,000 mark in 2003). As a result, institutions are concentrating their efforts on making life easier for international students, from the application process to obtaining a job after graduation.
The introduction of more courses taught partly or totally in English will undoubtedly aid in attracting international students. Other programmes aimed towards attracting more international students include:
- Recruiting specialised personnel to assist international students
- Allowing students to begin classes in September (rather than April, when Japan’s academic year typically begins)
- Recruiting more non-Japanese teaching personnel
- Increasing international exchange programmes with colleges throughout the world
Recognizing that living and studying in Japan is more expensive than in many other countries, the government has given additional financial aid for international students. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Japan Student Services Organization offer a variety of university scholarships and awards (JASSO).
In Japan, there are roughly 780 universities, with over 80% of them being private. There are also specialised institutions and universities that provide degree programmes that are more vocational in nature.
The University of Tokyo now has the nation’s highest worldwide position, ranking 24th in the QS World University Rankings® 2021. Kyoto University (38th) and Tokyo Institute of Technology (56th) are close behind, with a total of 38 Japanese universities listed among the finest in the world.
Let’s look into the Universities where you can study as a Foreigner.
The Institution of Tokyo, abbreviated as Todai, is a Japanese public research university in Bunkyo. The institution was founded in 1877 and is now designated by the Japanese government as a Top Type university of the Top Global University Project.
UTokyo comprises 10 faculties and 15 graduate schools, with around 30,000 students, including 4,200 overseas students. In the ten years since 2010, the number of privately supported foreign students has grown 1.75 times, accounting for more than 80% of all international students, and the institution is focused on helping international students. Hongo, Komaba, Kashiwa, Shirokane, and Nakano are the five campuses. It is regarded as Japan’s most renowned and selective institution. Seventeen Prime Ministers, 18 Nobel Laureates, four Pritzker Prize laureates, five astronauts, and a Fields Medalist are among the University of Tokyo’s graduates, faculty members, and researchers as of 2021.
Kyoto University (Kyoto daigaku), sometimes known as KyotoU (Kyodai), is a Japanese public research university. It is one of the erstwhile Imperial Universities and Japan’s second oldest institution, having been founded in 1897. KyotoU is consistently listed among Japan’s top two universities, Asia’s top ten universities, and the world’s top fifty universities.
KyotoU is made up of three campuses with ten faculties, eighteen graduate schools, thirteen research institutes, and twenty-two research and educational centres, all founded on the ideals of its slogan, “freedom of academic culture”. The Kyoto University Library is Japan’s second-largest academic library, with about 7 million volumes. KyotoU was also one of the original three Designated National Universities and is classified as a Top Type university in the Japanese government’s Top Global University Project. The university’s total net assets were evaluated at 316 billion JPY in March 2019. KyotoU has ties with a variety of academic institutions outside of Japan, advocating for international collaboration in teaching and research.
Kyoto University is known for producing world-class researchers and has produced five prime ministers of Japan and one president of Taiwan to date. Kyoto University has the most Nobel Prize laureates of all Asian universities, with 19 Nobel Prize laureates, 2 Fields medalists, and 1 Gauss Prize winner as of October 2019. Aside from well-known politicians and academics, the university has a long list of prominent medical and legal experts, writers, artists, and business executives among its graduates. In 2017, Time’s Higher Education’s Alma Mater (Global Executives) Index placed KyotoU 12th globally, showing its alumni’s prominence in the corporate sector. The university is also the cradle of the Kyoto School of philosophy, which is famous for its discussions on religion and the meaning of “nothingness”.
Osaka Institution (Osaka daigaku) (also known as the University of Osaka) or Handai is a Japanese public research university in Osaka Prefecture. It was once one of Japan’s Imperial Universities and is now a Designated National University recognised in the Top Global University Project as a “Top Type” university. Along with the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University, it is frequently considered among Japan’s top three public universities. In the 2022 QS World University Rankings, it is placed third among Japanese universities and 75th overall.
At the time of its foundation in 1931, Osaka University was one of Japan’s earliest modern universities. The institution’s history, however, includes far older predecessors in Osaka, such as the Kaitokudo, which was created in 1724, and the Tekijuku, which was founded in 1838. Nobel Laureate in Physics Hideki Yukawa, manga artist Osamu Tezuka, Lasker Award winner Hidesaburo Hanafusa, author Ryotaro Shiba, and discoverer of regulatory T cells Shimon Sakaguchi are just a few of the notable intellectuals and scientists who have attended or worked at Osaka University.
Hokkaido University, often known as Hokudai, is a Japanese national university located in Sapporo, Hokkaido. It was Japan’s fifth Imperial University, designed to be the country’s best institutions of higher learning and research. Hokkaido University is regarded as one of Japan’s best universities, ranking 5th in THE Japan University Rankings. The Japanese government’s Top Global University Project also named it a “Top Type” university. The main campus is located in downtown Sapporo, about 2.4 kilometres north of Sapporo Station.
Two graduates and faculty members have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry as of 2021.
Special degree programs for international students
The institution provides two programmes directed solely at international students: the Modern Japanese Studies Program (MJSP), a four-year undergraduate degree programme, and the Integrated Science Program, a five-year degree programme that includes both undergraduate and graduate studies (ISP). Competitive scholarships are available for both graduate and undergraduate students, ranging in value from tuition discounts to full financing, just as they are for other English-based degree programmes at the university.
Modern Japanese Studies Program (MJSP):
The Contemporary Japanese Studies Program is a bilingual bachelor’s degree programme that attempts to teach students about modern Japan’s history, culture, society, and political economy while also improving their Japanese language skills. There are two majors available in the programme: one in History and Culture and the other in Society and Political Economy. Because the majors share coursework, a student’s minor will be whichever of the prior specialities he or she does not choose as their major.
Integrated Science Program (ISP):
The Integrated Science Program is a multidimensional degree programme that intends to equip students with a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or physics before enrolling them in one of Hokkaido University’s graduate schools. Students can complete a master’s degree in five years because to the program’s innovative, accelerated methodology (made up of three-and-a-half years of undergraduate study and one-and-a-half years of graduate study and research). It also strives to improve students’ English skills, given the importance of English as a scientific language.
Nagoya University (Nagoya daigaku), sometimes known as Meidai or NU, is a national research university in Nagoya, Japan. It is located in Chikusa-ku. It was Japan’s sixth Imperial University, one of the original five Designated National Universities, and a Top Type university of the Japanese government’s Top Global University Project. It is Japan’s third-highest ranked higher education institution (72nd worldwide).
The Sakata School of Physics and the Hirata School of Chemistry were both founded at the institution. Nagoya University has been affiliated with seven Nobel Prize winners as of 2021, the third most in Japan and Asia behind Kyoto University and the University of Tokyo.
Kyushu University (Kyushu Daigaku), sometimes known as Kyudai, is a Japanese national university on Fukuoka, Kyushu Island.
It was Japan’s fourth Imperial University, ranked fourth in the 2020 Times Higher Education Japan University Rankings and designated by the Japanese government as a Top Type university of the Top Global University Project. Kyudai is a member of the Alliance of Asian Liberal Arts Universities, alongside the University of Tokyo, Waseda University, Peking University, and others, and is considered one of Japan’s most distinguished research-oriented universities.
The history of Kyushu University may be traced back to the Fukuoka Domain’s (Fukuoka han) medical schools, which were founded in 1867. In 1903, the institution was renamed Fukuoka Medical College of Kyoto Imperial University, and in 1911, it became Kyushu Imperial University. On December 25, 1922, Albert Einstein paid a visit to the university.
As of 2016, the University had 2,089 international students enrolled. It has been selected for the Global 30 university programme, as well as the top 13 global university project.
Keio University (Keio Gijuku Daigaku) is a private research university in Minato, Tokyo, Japan, abbreviated as Keio or Keidai.
It is Japan’s oldest western higher education institution. Fukuzawa Yukichi, the institution’s founder, founded it in Edo in 1858 as a school for Western studies.
In Tokyo and Kanagawa, the university has eleven campuses. Letters, Economics, Law, Business and Commerce, Medicine, Science and Technology, Policy Management, Environment and Information Studies, Nursing and Medical Care, and Pharmacy are the 10 undergraduate faculties. There are fourteen graduate schools on site, as well as research institutes and facilities on and off campus.
The university is a participant in the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology’s Top Global University Project. Keio University is also a member of RU11 and APRU, and one of only two Japanese universities (together with the University of Tokyo) to be in the World Economic Forum’s Global University Leaders Forum.
Three former prime ministers, two astronauts, six international honorary members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Wolf Prize recipient are among its alumni and faculty. According to the Times Higher Education’s “Alma Master Index 2017,” Keio University also produces the most CEOs of firms listed in the first part of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and ranks 53rd (in the globe) in the top 100 Global Executives.
University of Tsukuba:
Tsukuba daigaku (University of Tsukuba) is a public research university in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. It is one of the top 9 Designated National Universities in Japan, and the Japanese government has designated it as a top type university for the Top Global University Project.
With around 16,500 students, the university contains 28 college clusters and schools (as of 2014). The main Tsukuba campus is the second largest single campus in Japan, with a total area of 258 hectares (636 acres). The branch campus in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, offers graduate programmes for working people in the capital and oversees the university’s K-12 schools in the city.
STEMM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine), physical education, and related interdisciplinary fields are among the university’s academic strengths. It is situated in Tsukuba Science City, which houses over 300 research institutions. Three Nobel laureates have come from the university (two in physics and one in chemistry; see also “History”), and over 70 athletes, students, and alumni have competed in Olympic Games.
Through competitive financing projects from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, it has launched interdisciplinary PhD programmes in Human Biology and Empowerment Informatics, as well as the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine.
On the national Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction, its Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences is represented.
Akita International University;
Akita International University (Kokusai Kyoyo Daigaku), sometimes known as AIU, is a Japanese public university in Akita City, Akita Prefecture. AIU was founded in 2004 and is one of the few universities in Japan that offers all of its courses in English. It is modelled after American liberal arts institutions. Currently, it has 185 international partner institutions.
Bachelor’s degrees in Global Business and Global Studies are available at the undergraduate level, and master’s degrees in Japanese Language Teaching, English Language Teaching, and Global Communication Practices are available at the graduate level. Akita International University offers a one-of-a-kind undergraduate curriculum in Japan. With the exception of foreign language classes, all courses are taught in English. Undergraduate students are required to spend one year of their academic career studying abroad. The rigorous English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Program prepares non-native English speaking students to use English in the classroom. Norihiko Suzuki is the president of AIU as of 2021.
Waseda Institution (Waseda Daigaku) is a private research university in Shinjuku, Tokyo, shortened as Sodai. Founded in 1882 by Okuma Shigenobu as the Tokyo Senmon Gakko, Waseda University was formally renamed in 1902.
Waseda has a long list of notable alumni, including nine Japanese Prime Ministers, a number of important figures in Japanese literature, including Haruki Murakami, and a number of CEOs, including Tadashi Yanai, the CEO of UNIQLO, Nobuyuki Idei, the former CEO of Sony, Takeo Fukui, the former president and CEO of Honda, Norio Sasaki, the former CEO of Toshiba, Lee Kun-hee, the Chairman of Samsung Group In the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2017 and the Times Higher Education Alma Mater Index 2017, Waseda was placed 26th and 48th internationally, respectively.
Waseda is widely regarded as Japan’s most elite university, notably for its humanities education, and routinely ranks among the most academically rigorous and prominent institutions in national and regional university rankings. It is frequently listed with its competitor, Keio Institution, as Japan’s greatest private university. In the QS World University Rankings for 2020–2021, Waseda was rated 189th. Waseda is one of the top Japanese universities to get additional financing under the MEXT’s Top Worldwide University Project, which aims to boost Japan’s global educational competitiveness.
Waseda University is divided into 36 departments, including thirteen undergraduate and twenty-three graduate schools. There were 42,860 undergraduate students and 8,269 graduate students as of May 2016. The university has campuses in Chuo, Nishitokyo, Tokorozawa, Honjo, and Kitakyushu in addition to its main campus in Shinjuku. Waseda’s main Shinjuku campus also houses twenty-one research centres. Waseda University Library is one of Japan’s largest libraries, with about 4.5 million volumes and 46,000 serials in its collection.
Tokyo Institute of Technology:
Tokyo Institute of Technology (also known as Tokyo Tech, Tokodai, or TIT) is a Japanese national research institution in the Greater Tokyo Area. Tokyo Tech is Japan’s largest scientific and technology-focused higher education school, as well as one of the first five Designated National Universities and a Top Type university in the Japanese government’s Top Global University Project. It is widely acknowledged as one of Japan’s most elite institutions.
The main campus of Tokyo Tech is located in Ookayama, on the border of Meguro and Ota, with its main entrance facing Ookayama Station. Suzukakedai and Tamachi have additional campuses. Tokyo Tech is divided into six schools, each having approximately 40 departments and research institutes. For the 2015–2016 academic year, Tokyo Tech enrolled 4,734 undergraduates and 1,464 graduate students. It has over 1,100 faculty members. Hideki Shirakawa, Ph.D., a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, was born at Tokyo Institute of Technology.
Tohoku University (Tohoku daigaku), sometimes known as Tohokudai (Tohokudai), is a Japanese national university in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan. It was Japan’s third Imperial University, the first three Designated National Universities (together with the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University), and the Japanese government designated it as a Top Type university of the Top Global University Project in 1907. Tohoku University was voted No. 1 university in Japan by Times Higher Education in 2020 and 2021.
Tohoku University has a total enrolment of 17,885 students in 2016, with 10 faculties, 16 graduate schools, and 6 research centres. “Research First,” “Open-Doors,” and “Practice-Oriented Research and Education” are the university’s three main values.
Japan is deeply anchored in East Asian culture, yet it is also heavily influenced by Western and American culture. On top of that, you have a really distinct Japanese culture that is unlike any other.
Japan is a fairly safe country with low crime rates and a very courteous population. They expect you to act in the same way, but if you appear to be a foreigner, you may get away with a lot. You never tip in Japan since the service is among the best in the world. Even if you go to a cheap restaurant or just purchase some reduced ready meal in the evening at the local grocery, the cuisine is fantastic.
There is so much to see and do in Japan if you have a better understanding of the country and its language. Although living in Japan might be difficult at times, most individuals will miss it when they return home. Nowhere else can you get such delicious food and service, as well as limitless shopping and wild activities in such a secure and courteous setting. Even if you have lived in Japan for a long time, there is always something new to discover.