This article is all about how to complete the 2023 Embassy Recommended MEXT Scholarship Application Form, step-by-step, including advice on how to best use the essay questions on page 5 to strengthen your application.
Get a Sample Filled Form!
If you’re signed up to my mailing list, I’ve already sent you a sample filled version of this form. If not, then you can get your sample copy by signing up here for my MEXT Scholarship email notifications. Whenever I have a new post about the MEXT Scholarship, or other news that I think you need to know about the application process, you will be the first to know!
Note: Do Not Fill Out the Form in Red!
In the sample form (as you can see in the image above), I have filled in all of my answers in red, so that you can easily tell what I wrote and what is part of the original form. Obviously, you should not complete your own application in red! Use regular black text.
Where to Get the Form
I will not send you the fillable form or make it available here. That’s a deliberate choice.
The reason I do not send it to you is that you need to get it from the embassy or consulate where you intend to apply. Why? To make sure that you’re in contact with them and that you’re also getting any additional information or explanations they might have. Besides, depending on when you are reading this, the form I used in the example might be outdated. (Even if the contents do not change, MEXT always changes the year numbers on the first page.) Make sure you are using the most recent version of the form!
You can download the form from the official Study in Japan website, along with the other application documents and the application guidelines. Over the past few years, that link has stayed the same, so hopefully it will have the most recent version of the form no matter when you are reading this, but please be sure to check!
This article is about the application form for the Graduate-Level Scholarship Application. I have read the application forms for the undergraduate scholarship, and other types of MEXT scholarship (Teacher’s Training, etc.) and some questions overlap, so this article and sample will help you regardless of what scholarship type you are applying for, but be sure to check for yourself.
Instructions: Key Points
- You should type your responses into the pdf form using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software. Not only is it easier for evaluators to read a typewritten form, it makes it easier for you to make corrections, if you have to. If you fill in the form by hand, use a black pen and write in all capital letters.
*When typing, do NOT write in all capital letters!
If you are using another piece of software to open and edit fillable PDFs, then make sure that it does not leave a “watermark” (the software company’s name or logo) anywhere on the finished project.
- The instructions say to use Arabic numerals, which means “1, 2, 3” etc. Do not write out numbers (e.g. “one”) in the application form, even if it would be grammatically appropriate to do so. You should also use numbers, not words, when writing out months. (e.g. “05”, not “May”)
- Writing year numbers: Be sure to write all numbers in the CE or AD calendar used in most of the world. Do not use the Japanese, Buddhist, Islamic, Coptic Christian, etc. systems of counting years.
- Write out proper nouns, including cities, states, countries, etc. Do not abbreviate. (e.g. Write “United States of America”, not “USA”)
- Even if you are filling out the form in Japanese, write all non-Japanese proper nouns (such as names, places, school names) in English letters. Do not write them in Katakana and do not translate words in addresses, etc., into English. (For example, if your language uses words that mean “city” or “district” in addresses, write the original word in your language, in English letters, do not translate it to the English word).
Page 1: Basic Information
Photo: Your photo must meet the dimensions specified in the form, be clear and no more than 6 months old, and show your upper body.
Pro Tip: Include two extra photos in the envelope with your application form, keep them in a separate plastic bag to avoid damage.
1. Name: Your name has to match your passport, exactly. Specifically, it needs to match the computerized text at the bottom of your passport, as below:
To find your name and the correct order for the application form, refer to the bottom two lines of your passport. On the second-to-bottom line, there is a three-digit country code along with your name. For example:
Everything between the Country Code (USA in the example) and the “<<” is your surname. Everything after the “<<” is your given and middle name, in that order. It is your choice whether to list all of your given and middle names in the “given name” box or to split them between given and middle name, but you must include everything and cannot change the order, even if that’s not what you use in daily life. If you have no middle name, you can leave that question blank.
If you do not have a “<<” because you do not have a legal surname or have only one legal name, then you should leave the surname block blank.
You cannot enter any special characters, such as accented letters. Even if there are accented or special characters in the top part of your passport, near your photo, there should be none in the computerized text.
Yes, that’s a lot of instructions for a “name” line, but I’ve seen a shocking number of mistakes with this one in the past.
2. Gender: This must match your passport, regardless of your gender identity. Do not expect special treatment or even official acknowledgement of non-binary genders in Japan. In my experience, individual people understand different gender identities (or simply don’t care about your personal life), but the government and institutions recognize nothing other than biological sex.
3. Marital Status: This one is pretty straightforward!
4. Nationality: Write the name of the country that issued your passport. (In Japan, your “nationality” is a noun, not an adjective. For example, you would write “Japan” not “Japanese.”) If you have multiple nationalities, you will write only one and you should choose your “primary” nationality, which is the country that you are living in and where you will apply for the MEXT Scholarship.
5. Japanese Nationality: Japanese nationals are not eligible to apply for the scholarship, but if you have multiple nationalities and choose to give up your Japanese citizenship to apply, they you would be eligible.
Most applicants will check “No” and leave the rest of the line blank, but if you have Japanese nationality, then you would have to check “yes” and complete the line. If you have Japanese nationality (as a dual citizen) and want to give up your Japanese nationality to apply for this scholarship, then you would have to enter the date when you will surrender your Japanese nationality. Please note that I am not at all recommending this as a course of action.
6. Date of Birth: The tricky part of this line is filling in your age. You need to enter how old you will be as of the date shown in the form (April 1 of the year that you would start the scholarship). In the downloadable example, you can see that the fake applicant has a birthday of Jan 1. That means that he is 21 when he’s filling in the form but will pass his birthday before the next April, so he needs to enter “22.”
Note: In Japan, your age goes up on your birthday. It does not automatically go up on January 1 or on the lunar new year as it does in some other countries. Your age at birth in Japan is “0”. In some countries, newborn babies are aged “1” at birth, but use the Japanese system for this form.
7.(1). Current Address: Your address as of the day you submit the form. If you will move between when you submit the form and when you travel to Japan to start the scholarship (for example, if you will graduate from college and move home), you will fill in your address after the move in 7.(2). In the downloadable example, the applicant is studying abroad in Japan when he applies for the scholarship. (And, based on his address, he lives at MEXT headquarters.)
If your current address in is Japan, you need to fill out your current visa status (residence status), too. This is important for confirming how you conform to the eligibility criteria.
In line 7.(2), check the box saying that your current address is your permanent address or fill your permanent address (e.g. Your parents’ address, etc.), if you plan to move between when you submit the application and when you come to Japan. That way, MEXT and the embassy have a mailing address where they can reach you even after you leave the place you’re living now.
You also need to acknowledge that you will not receive a plane ticket to Japan paid by MEXT if your address prior to departure (in 7.(2) or 7.(1) if you checked “same as above”) is not in your country of nationality.
To complete 7.(3), you will need to access the website in the form (https://www.mofa.go.jp/about/emb_cons/over/index.html) to find the name of the Japanese Embassy or Consulate nearest you. Depending on your country, there may be only one embassy for the country or there may be multiple consulates. In the latter case, you will need to figure out which one serves the area where you live. Your final answer should include the type of office and the city (e.g. “Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago”). I recommend you click on the “Websites of Japanese Embassies, Consulates and Permanent Missions” link on that page, then use the search function on the page to find your country. Sometimes, Japan may consider your country to be in a different region from what you think is accurate, so searching by region can be confusing.
In 7.(4) and (5), for your phone number and email address, I recommend putting contact information that can reach you at any time. If you’re living abroad, as in the example, put a phone number in your home country. You’ll be going back there to apply, anyway, for the embassy-recommended MEXT application.
Be sure to include the country code for your phone number!
Page 2: Scholarship Records
8.(1) Past scholarship awarded record: The JASSO scholarship and MEXT Honors scholarship do not count for this question. Only the scholarship types listed in the “Program No.” table are relevant. If you are not sure about your past scholarship type, you can ask the embassy or consulate for more guidance.
If you check “No”, you can skip to question 9 and do not need to fill out any of the other questions in between. If you answered “Yes”, fill out 8.(2) and 8.(3)
If you have received one of the MEXT scholarships in the “Program No.” table in the past, then in 8.(2) fill in the start and end dates of your scholarship award and the name of the university in Japan. Then check the scholarship program in the section below.
If you filled in scholarship types 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, or 9 in any of the lines of 8.(2), then you need to complete 8.(3) as well. If you checked scholarship types 5, 7, or 8, then you can skip to question 9. Your past scholarship award is not in conflict with receiving another award.
In 8.(3), if required, you would need to fill in your research and education experience since the end of your last MEXT scholarship award. Typically, you would have to show that you have spent at least three full years (36 total months) enrolled in degree programs and or working full-time.
For this table, count the actual years and months you spent in the degree program or employed, not the “standard years of study” as we will discuss for the Academic Record below. So, in this case, if you completed a 2-year degree, but it only took a year and 9 months, you would fill in 1 year and 9 months.
9. Applying for Other MEXT Scholarships: You can only apply for one Japanese government scholarship at a time, so if you are still in the application process for another scholarship (such as the Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship or University-Recommended MEXT Scholarship from the previous year), you would have to check “Yes” here, which would make you ineligible to apply. Otherwise, check no.
10.(1) Overlapping receipt of other scholarships: MEXT does not allow concurrent receipt of other scholarships, so you must verify that you are not receiving other scholarships that will cover the same period as the MEXT scholarship or that you will withdraw from any others upon receipt of the MEXT scholarship. You may apply for other scholarship opportunities at the same time to give yourself a security net, but in the end, you must choose only one.
If you are receiving a scholarship for your current degree, etc., that will end before your MEXT scholarship begins, you do not need to fill in that information here.
While receiving the MEXT scholarship, you are eligible to apply for and receive onetime grants that do not overlap with MEXT payments. For example, you could apply for a grant to pay the cost of travel to a conference, or for a specific research activity. But you cannot receive a grant to cover the costs of your travel to Japan or provide a living stipend for you or family members, since the MEXT Scholarship specifically covers those same things.
10.(2) Other Scholarship: If you are applying for, or have already been awarded, a scholarship that will conflict in time with the start of the MEXT scholarship, fill in that information here. If you checked “No” in 10.(1), you can leave this blank or write “none.”
Page 3: Academic Record
Instructions: Most of the instructions are straightforward, but there are a few items that can cause confusion, as explained below.
- 1. The chart says to only list programs attended as a full-time student, but the Japanese term means “formally enrolled”, so it does not refer to whether or not you were taking a full-time load of credits. Even if you took less than a full-time credit load in a particular semester, as long as you remained fully enrolled, that still counts. However, courses at a university or any other school that did not lead to a degree (or to high school graduation, etc.) would not count. This includes language programs, extracurricular diploma programs, certification programs, or any other qualifications that are not academic degrees.
- 6. University Entrance Qualification Examinations: This refers to an exam taken instead of graduating from high school. Usually, it is for home-schooled students, students who dropped out, etc. It will not apply to most MEXT applicants.
- 8. Attended Multiple Schools: As you can see in the “Primary Education” line of the example, I have included multiple schools for the sample applicant. You can fill it out the same way for your situation. If there is not enough space, you would write “See attached” in the “School name” field and explain the details in an attached sheet.
If you are attaching an extra sheet, you should still write the start and end dates on the application form!
As explained in 5., if you attended preparatory education for university (e.g. a one-year program between senior high school and university), that would be a second “Upper Secondary Education” and you should fill it out the same way.
- 9. Attaching an Additional Sheet: If you attach an additional sheet because you attended multiple schools and cannot fit them in the same column, then the additional sheet should include a full duplicate of the column you are replacing, with all fields. In that case, still include the overall start date, overall end date, and total years of study in the form itself.
- Period of schooling attended/Total number of years of schooling attended: When calculating total number of school years, include extended vacations as part of the year!
The simplest way to think about it is that you are counting “school years” not “calendar years.” If your school year goes from September to June, that is 1 full year (even though it is only 10 calendar months). You should only use the “Months” field if you attended less than a full year at some point, such as a 4.5-year program.
Primary Education: Typically, this would be your first 6 years of education, though it may be 5 in some countries. Do not include Kindergarten. If you attended a single school that covered elementary and middle school or elementary through to high school, be sure to separate it into the rows according to how education is formally divided in your country.
Lower Secondary Education: Typically 2 or 3 years. As with elementary school, above, if you attended the same school from Middle School through high school, be sure to separate it into the two lines.
Upper Secondary Education: This includes high school and any college prep school you might have attended if that took place between high school and college. Do not count community college or Polytech experience where you earned college credits here, as those would be Tertiary education and should be in the next column.
Tertiary Education: Enter college or university undergraduate education in the first line and graduate in the second and third (if applicable). If you attended multiple universities as a degree-seeking student (including dual or joint degrees), you would fill those in here. However, if you spent a year at another university as an exchange or study away student, state that in the remarks section at the bottom, do not include it as a separate university. (During an exchange program, you are not a degree-seeking student at the exchange university, so it does not meet the definition explained in 1. above.)
Location: Only the city and state (or prefecture, province, etc.) is required. You do not need the full address. As you see in the example, I have separated the two cities with a slash in the Elementary column.
Remember, do not abbreviate proper nouns. This includes cities, states, provinces, etc.
Dates and Duration: As you’ll see in the example, I counted full school years, not calendar years. If you are still in school, be sure to count the full time that you will attend until your expected graduation, not just the time attended so far!
Status: This entry appears for the tertiary education only. Check the appropriate box. If you have not yet graduated, check “Expected to complete” and fill in the expected graduation date for your graduation date and the total years you will have completed upon graduation.
If you are currently enrolled in a degree program but plan to drop out or take a leave of absence from that degree if you win the MEXT Scholarship, then you should check “Other Status” and fill in your detailed explanation in the “Remarks” section below.
Degree: Check the name of the degree you have earned (or will earn, if you checked “Expected to complete” in the previous column). If your country uses different degree names, be sure to check the appropriate response for Japan’s system.
Total Years of Education: This should be the total years as of the time you arrive in Japan. If you still have 6 months left in your degree as of the time of application but you will complete the degree before coming to Japan, you would count those months as if you had finished them.
Remarks: In this section, you would list any special information pertaining to your academic history. For example, if you took a leave of absence from school for a year, skipped a grade, studied abroad as part of your education, etc.
If you transferred schools/attended multiple schools for one category of education and you did not attach an extra sheet to explain that, you could also explain the transfer information here.
Page 4: Academic Background (Continued), Scholarship Plans, and Employment History
12. Field of specialization studied in the past: List your focus, major(s) and minor, plus the department, faculty, college, etc., that you belonged to during your last degree.
For example, if you got a BA in History, you wouldn’t write simply “History.” You would write something like:
Majored in Japanese history, with a focus on Bakumatsu-era industrial reform. (Department of Asian History, Faculty of History, College of Arts and Sciences)
Note: Remember that one of the eligibility requirements for the MEXT Scholarship is that you must apply in a field that you majored in at university or a related field, so you should use this question to draw as strong of a connection as possible between your past studies and what you want to study in Japan.
13. Have you ever written a thesis? This question refers to a graduation thesis at the bachelor’s or master’s level or published articles, not to term papers for individual courses.
14. Publications: If you have any publications, including articles or conference proceedings, or any works that have been accepted for publication (and given a date) but not yet published, write them here. You should also list your graduation theses, if applicable, even if they have not been published.
Don’t worry if you have nothing to list. Many applicants, particularly those applying for Master’s degrees, do not at this point. MEXT will not hold it against you if your university did not require a graduation thesis.
Don’t forget to attach abstracts of all papers you list here in the “Abstracts of Theses” submission (document 8 of the required documents).
15. The first course you plan to take in Japan: What status do you want to start your studies with? (Note: you might not always get what you want. It depends on the university that accepts you).
- “Non-regular (Non-degree) course” is sometimes called “Research student” by universities. In this status, you are not working toward a degree, but you should be able to upgrade to a degree-seeking status. I recommend that almost all applicants start with this status because:
1. You would not need to take an official entrance exam to the degree program before arriving in Japan.
2. It gives you the opportunity to get settled into your new life in Japan and get used to the Japanese university system before you officially go “on the clock” for your degree. (You can get a maximum of 2 years of MEXT funding for a Master’s and 3 for an academic Doctoral degree, so you don’t want to stumble during that time).
There are other reasons that would benefit some applicants. For example, if your degree program only accepts students in the spring, but you want to arrive in the fall. Or sometimes, there are applicants who do not want to be part of a degree program in Japan, at all (for example, if they are enrolled in a degree program in their home country and only want to come to Japan for a year or two to conduct research for that degree.)
- Master’s Degree Course: This would include MA, MS, MSc, etc. In Japan, it is a two-year course and, as a MEXT scholar, you would need to finish in two years or you would lose the scholarship. If you think you need more time, go for a semester or two as a Non-regular student, first.
- Doctoral Course: Academic PhD program. In Japan, this is a 3-year program. The same time condition as Master’s Degree applies.
- Professional Graduate Course: This covers all non-academic graduate degrees, such as MBA, MFA, JD, MD, and programs, such as Teacher Training programs. These programs can be at the Master’s or Doctoral level. (You would have 2 years for a Master’s level course such as an MBA and 3 years or sometimes more for a Doctoral level course, such as an MD.)
16. Preferred Month of Arrival: Base this both on your own situation and the program you wish to enroll in. Obviously, if you haven’t finished your previous degree, you would have to arrive in Japan after that is over.
You’ll also want to see which semester the degree program starts for your preferred program(s) in Japan. If you don’t speak Japanese yet, keep in mind that you may be placed in a semester-long introductory Japanese course for your first semester after arrival. Account for that semester in your plans when deciding if it is best to arrive in the spring or fall. You can also leave the choice up to the universities, if you do not need to choose one semester or the other.
Ultimately, whether you arrive in the spring or fall is going to be determined by what the university that accepts you writes in the Letter of Provisional Acceptance, but they may use your answer here as a point of reference.
17. Term you wish to study in Japan: This question does not guarantee that you’ll get the whole term you ask for. You’ll have to apply for each extension separately later. (See my article about How to Extend Your MEXT Scholarship.) It tells the Embassy and the Universities what your long-term plans are, though, so they have a better idea of your situation.
It is possible to start as a Non-regular student (in 15 above) at the Master’s degree level and select Doctoral degree here.
If you have are still a student and have no employment history, that will not count against you, so don’t worry about it.
19. Employment Record: List your most recent two full-time positions here, with the most recent position in the top row.
Page 5: Motivation for Studying in Japan
Of your entire application form, this page is likely to be the most important and receive the most attention by reviewers, so it is important to put some thought into how to present yourself in the essay questions.
Keep in mind as you fill in this section that you want to have a theme to your application and every answer in this form, as well as in your Field of Study and Research Program Plan must revolve around that theme to create the strongest application possible and beat out the competition. Every answer you write should help persuade the reviewers that you are the best candidate for the scholarship and have a unique strength that you can offer. So, do not just write the first thing that comes to mind. Approach these questions strategically to give yourself the best chance possible of success.
20.(1). What was the trigger for having an interest in Japan? Do not take this question too literally! A lot of applicants will talk about what sparked their initial interest in Japan, which was probably a manga, anime, or game. But writing about how you were passionate about Pokemon as a teenager, etc., will not help your application and wastes an opportunity to stand out from other applicants. Instead, treat this question as if it said, “What was the trigger for having an interest in Japan related to your field of study?” It is fine to mention that your first exposure to Japan/Japanese culture was through something like anime, but keep that comment as short as possible and transition to how that exposure helped you deepen your interest related to your degree.
Remember that throughout the entire application process, you are trying to present yourself as being able to bring unique value to the Japanese government and the government of your home country, plus the university that you’re applying to, by showing that you have more potential for achievement in the future than other applicants. Every answer needs to relate back to the theme of what you will contribute to both societies after your graduation. If you are researching wartime memory across cultures and Grave of the Fireflies sparked your interest in Japan, then it’s perfectly fine to mention that as your trigger. But if your research is in marine biology, I would not recommend saying that your trigger was Pokemon. Instead, focus on the first thing that interested you in Japan related to marine biology.
You could say something like, “I have always been interested in Japanese culture and art since watching Doraemon cartoons as a child, but my interest became serious when I learned about . . .”
20.(2). Why do you choose Japan as a destination to study graduate-level education? In this question, you want to be specific. Do not simply try to flatter the officials by saying “Japan has a highly developed education system” or “Japan is technically advanced.” I see that in far too many applications, and it is meaningless fluff to a reviewer. Do not just write about how you want to live in Japan because you admire the culture. Any of these answers do not distinguish you from other applicants and waste space where you could write about your research or future contributions.
Instead, you want to focus on what advantages studying in Japan offers for your specific field of study or for your future goal to contribute to society. Instead of saying Japan is technically advanced, write about one or two specific innovations or recent research developments related to your research. Or focus on how Japan has unique experience in tackling the problem that you want to research and how you think you can leverage specific knowledge and experience in Japan for your research. Be specific!
20.(3). What kinds of things do you think you can contribute to Japan and your home country through your experience of studying in Japan? In my article about “How to Maximize Your Chances of Earning the MEXT Scholarship“, I talk about having an application strategy, and this question is where you summarize that strategy. Your entire application should be built around a practical goal that you want to achieve after graduation, and your research and studies in Japan should be essential to achieving that goal. Your goal should never be something self-centered, but must focus on how you can serve your society and the relationship between Japan and your home country. For example, if your goal is to become a professor in your home country and elevate the education level in a particular field (where Japan has more expertise), then you would serve your home country by improving the education level and also serving Japan by maintaining connections to your professors and university in Japan to strengthen their research network and encourage future students to study in Japan, as well. Your goal is going to be specific to you and your country’s situation, but try to figure out how it will benefit others. Again, see the article above and my book How to Apply for the MEXT Scholarship (link at the bottom of the article) for more strategy.
Page 6: Language Ability, Family, Contact, and Visit History
21. Language ability: You must enter an answer in each block of both the Japanese and English rows here, even if the answer is “0”. Note that while the English translation for “0” is “poor”, in Japanese, the term can also mean “no ability”.
22. Japanese language qualifications: The question in Japanese specifically asks for your certifications. If you have taken the JLPT, fill in the highest level that you have passed in the first block (N1-N5) as well as your score. But if you have no passing scores on the JLPT, then you can fill in the highest level you have taken and the score, even if it wasn’t a passing one–that’s still better than nothing!
If you have another official Japanese language proficiency test score, such as one conducted by your country’s foreign service office, you can list that in “other.”
If you’ve taken Japanese classes in undergrad, etc., but had no official test score, that would not count as a certification, but you can list it under “Other” anyway (e.g. “8 semesters of Japanese language education”).
If you fill in language proficiency test scores, then it is mandatory to attach three copies of that test score as document 9 in the application package, “Certification of Language Proficiency”.
Proof of Japanese language ability is not required for the Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship if you are applying for a degree program taught in English. You will take a language proficiency test as part of the primary screening. (You must not leave it blank, even if you are completely guessing!) However, if you are applying in a field of study that would require primary research in Japanese (interviews, primary source reading, etc.), such as Japanese history, Japanese literature, Japanese law, it would be highly advisable to have language proficiency certifications. Your acceptance will be determined based on your language ability at the time of application. They will not offer you provisional acceptance based on your promise to study the language before you arrive.
23. English language qualifications: Similar to the question above, fill in your test scores for any official TOEFL (be sure to note the type) or IELTS test. “Other” can include CEFR ratings, O levels, TOEIC, and country-specific tests like GEPT, but understand that not all universities will accept them, so they may ask you to submit internationally recognized test results when you apply for a Letter of Provisional Acceptance. If you are a native speaker of English, I would recommend writing that in the “Other” category.
English language proficiency is only required if you are applying for a degree program taught in English, but I assume that applies to most people reading this article.
24. Accompanying Dependents: MEXT (and universities) discourages bringing your dependents (limited to spouse and children) with you when you first come to Japan. (In fact, in terms of visa requirements, you may find it impossible to do so.) They want you to come first, adjust to life in Japan, then apply for Dependent CoEs to bring dependents later. Neither MEXT nor the universities will take any responsibility for your dependents or provide any support for them, including for their visa. However, if you are planning to invite any dependents, you would need to fill in their information in this section. If you will not bring any dependents, write “None” in the first line.
If you do plan to bring dependents with you, list their names and relationship to you in this table. (Relationship should be from your perspective, so a son would be “son”, not “father-son relationship”).
25. Emergency Contact in home country: To put it bluntly, if you were to die in Japan, who should the university call to pick up your body and bring it home to your country?
I know that sounds morbid, but MEXT wants a point of contact that is that close to you.
The person should also meet the following criteria:
- Must not be listed in the accompanying dependents question (24) above
- Must have an email address and access to a phone
- Should have English or Japanese language ability
- Should be an immediate family member if possible
When I was reviewing these applications, any time an applicant wrote “friend,” “boyfriend/girlfriend,” “supervisor,” or anything other than a close family member, we would encourage applicants to choose someone closer.
You must complete every item in this section (although you can leave out the fax number).
Remember to include the country in the address, the country code in the phone number, and use no abbreviations in the address.
26. Past visits or stays in Japan: List your two most recent trips to Japan. In the “purpose” section, the purpose of your visa is sufficient (study, work, tourism, etc.). You do not need to go into too much detail. List your most recent visit in the top row. If you have not visited Japan in the past, write “None” in the “From” field in the top row.
Signature Block: Be sure to sign and write the date by hand. A typed signature is never acceptable. (I typed it in the sample application for the sake of completeness, but you must handwrite yours.)
Hooray! You’re finished!
Special thanks to the TranSenz supporters on Patreon, especially my amazing Daimyo-level supporters: Pablo, Alessia, and newest Daimyo Supporters, Jay and Chris, who contribute at least $10 per month to help me keep this site running and updated for everyone. I also want to send a special thank you to the newest Samurai supporter, Johrdan. If you have found this website helpful and want to help keep it running for future applicants, then please consider supporting my work on this site for as little as $1 per month (onetime contributions are also welcome!). Patreon supporters also get priority responses to questions and advance access to articles and discounts on my books and coaching services.
As of this posting, I am 92% of the way to my first milestone goal on Patreon. If we reach $50 in monthly pledges, I will hold a 1-hour live video Q&A session each month on Facebook live, with the videos to be shared here later!
If you want to show your support, but Patreon is out of reach for now, I’d appreciate it if you share this post on your favorite social media platform.
I am happy to answer all questions left on this article as quickly as I can.
Interested in Learning How to Maximize Your MEXT Scholarship Chances?
My ebook, How to Apply for the MEXT Scholarship, will help you understand the scholarship and its purpose from the reviewers’ perspective, master the successful applicant mindset, and develop an application strategy that will give your application focus and give you the highest chances of success. For more details and a list of ebook retailers that carry the book, click the image to the right!
Ads by Google:
I have a question about the job recommendation letter. Nowadays I’m working under a modality that doesn’t establish a legal link between my boss and I. That’s the reason why my direct boss refused to write that kind of letter. The question is: Should I eliminate the information regarding my current job in one of the forms since I couldn’t get the recommendation letter?
Thanks in advance!
Hi Maria Sandoval,
Is there anyone at your employer that does have a legal relationship with you? In that case, that would probably be the appropriate person to recommend you. If you are an independent contractor or are employed by a dispatch company that has sent you to work for someone else, then that could be different. In the latter case, a supervisor at the dispatch company would be the appropriate person to write your letter. If you are an independent contractor, then it may be difficult to write the kind of letter that your boss would write for a direct report, but the boss could at least write something about the assessment of your work, if they were willing. If they are not, then you would simply have to explain in your application that you are an independent contractor and do not have a supervisor.
– Travis from TranSenz
I have a silly question but it bothers me a lot can you tell me how to fill recommendation letter for mext scholarship because my teacher didn’t know how to fill please reply 😭😭😭😭😭
MEXT offers a sample Letter of Recommendation template, with questions, so your teacher could use that. But if they didn’t want to use the template, a free-form letter that covers all of the same information (written on university letterhead) would be fine, as well. Particularly in a freeform letter, if your teacher can include specific examples that highlight your qualities as a student, that would be best.
Note: The sample format says that it has to be submitted sealed in an envelope, but that is no longer a rule, so don’t worry about it. (It used to be a requirement back when everyone had to use that format, but they have changed their approach since then.)
– Travis from TranSenz
I couldn’t find this information anywhere. Who is required to take the 6-month preparatory Japanese language education in Japan prior to starting the master’s program? Also who makes that decision and based on what? Does it apply to everyone who has no or poor Japanese language skills?
Thank you for always providing quick answers.
There is no precise guideline/requirement. (e.g. there is nothing like “applicants who do not have at least N2 Japanese must take it”, etc.)
It is up to your accepting university to decide whether or not you should enroll in the language program. The university makes that decision when MEXT contacts them after the Secondary Screening to formally request that they accept you. In the form they have to fill in and return to MEXT, there is a box to tick specifying whether or not you should take the language semester.
I have heard of cases where universities asked applicants for their preference, but since that is equivalent to revealing that MEXT has assigned them to that university before the official announcement, many universities just make the call on their own.
Typically, it only applies to applicants with minimal or no language skills, since it is intended to give you enough language ability to get through daily life.
I hope that helps!
– Travis from TranSenz
Hey Travis! So the application form for 2024 doesn’t seem to have a block for our signature. Am I missing sth?
No, you’re not missing anything. The signature block seems to have been replaced by a check box. It looks like MEXT has modified the form so that it can be completed entirely digitally, without needing to print, sign, and scan. That’s unusually modern of them!
Incidentally, that appears to be one of only two significant changes I saw in the form this year (updated article to come later). The other was removing the option to say that you only want to be a research student.
– Travis from TranSenz
Thanks for your respone! It is indeed surprising. Seems like they are pumping up the pace towards digitalization. Let’s hope that in the future universities in Japan will require only online applications.
Thank you for this infromation, its really help me a lot.
I have two question regarding the Application form.
1. As we know there are 3 part of name in the form such as surname, given name, and middle name.
How i fill this information if my name only stand from one word “Jacky”. Do i need to put it in surname, or given name? and is it okay if one or two field empty for this?
2. I graduated from Diploma Degree (D3) university on 2020, then continue my study to achive my undergraduated degree on august 2021 and finish on 2023, have 1 year break before continue to undergraduate degree. How i need to fill this in the Education part in the form? and how i calculate the duration of study? should i write it 4.5 years (2017 – 2020 -> 3 year for D3 + 2021 – 2023 -> 1.5 year for undergraduate) or 6 years (2017 – 2023).
Thank you for your experience and input on this!
Thank you for you kind feedback!
1. If your full legal name on your passport is only one name, then I would recommend that you fill in “(none)” for your last name, then fill in your name (“Jacky”) for your first name. The middle name section can be left blank.
2. It sounds like you are probably going to need to attach an extra sheet to fit all of that information in the tertiary education section!
So, what matters is how long the “official length” of an undergraduate degree program is in your country. If it is normally four years to complete an undergraduate degree in your country, then that is the duration of study you should use, even though your personal length was different. But you should fill in all of the correct start and end dates. Then, in the remarks section, you can explain that you completed a diploma program then enrolled in the bachelor’s program as a transfer student to earn your degree.
– Travis from TranSenz
thanks for your rapid response.
need something to confirm.
1) you mean i need to write “None” in the last name? or just keep it blank?
2) yes, our standard to achive undergraduate degree here is 4 year, but for me it cost 3.5 year for Diploma and 1.5 year for undergradute and 1 year break. the total should be 5 year without counting the break, is it okay if i still write it 4 year? will it be any issue?
1. Yes, I recommend that you fill in “(None)”, including the parentheses, to indicate that you haven’t just skipped the field/left it blank by accident.
2. For the period of education, it should be the standard number of years, not the years it took you, so yes, 4 is OK. (For example, if you attended part-time and it took you 8 years to complete a 4-year degree, you would still write four. Of if you had finished it early in 3.5 years, you would still write four.)
You should still fill in all of the correct dates for when you started and finished your diploma and your undergraduate program.
– Travis from TranSenz
I would like to seek more clarity about No.15 regards pros and cons and perhaps plainly ask the question in relation to my example…
So firstly I would love to do the 6 months language course provided my university sees it fit, then start my degree. My Masters starts in September so would love to travel in April for the language course. Given this timeline and based on your advise to first go as a non regular student, should I select non-regular in my application? Will I easily be able to transfer to degree seeking by September? And does it make me a non-regular student during the 6 months of the language course?
Hope I’m clear.
My understanding is that you should fill in No 15 based on when you want to start your studies at the host university, not counting the language semester. That would be added as an extra at a later time (during the secondary screening).
So, if you do not plan to have a semester as a research student at your university after the language semester, you would fill in that you want to start with the Master’s Degree program and that you want to arrive in September.
You would be a non-regular student during the language program and it may even be held at a different university.
I hope that helps!
– Travis from TranSenz
Your advice has been truly invaluable in my preparation for the application this year.
I would appreciate it if you could only clarify a couple of points to me.
1. I HAVE a bachelor’s degree but only 15 total years of education because the education system in my country was like this: 8 years of elementary school, 4 years of high school and 3 years of undergraduate studies after which you obtain a bachelor’s degree. Will only 15 years of education be a problem?
* I also want to note that this system changed about 15 years ago, and now there is 9 years of elementary school (which makes 16 in total) BUT that doesn’t apply to me as I explained above.
2. Continuing in the same vein, in my country, the education is formally divided into elementary school and high school, nothing in between. Do I leave the “Lower Secondary Education” field EMPTY, and write all the elementary school years in the “Primary Education” field and high school years in the “Upper Secondary Education” field?
All the best,
1. This is part of the description of eligible applicants from the application guidelines: “Applicants who have completed a program with the standard study period of three years or more at universities or equivalent educational institutions in countries other than Japan and received a degree equivalent to a bachelor’s degree.” That seems to match your situation exactly, so you would be qualified. (It does not matter that the system has since changed.)
2. Typically I recommend splitting your elementary studies into 6-2 or 5-3 for your situation, even if it was at the same school, but that is because in most countries I have studied, there is at least some difference in the style and content of education in the later levels, even if it is not conducted at a separate school. But if there is really no difference, then you could list it all under Primary and in the Lower Secondary line, write “Included above”.
– Travis from TranSenz
I am asking about the undergraduate program.
in the application guideline it was said I should submit my transcripts. My high school transcripts is not that good although I performed well on my national exam (WAEC). I am joining a local university this September so I am asking if I get a good transcripts in my computer science degree program would it cover for my bad high school transcripts. Note I am planning to apply for an undergraduate program in 2023.
I am worried that my bad high school transcripts would ruin my chance.
To be frank, I think the “bad” high school transcripts are going to hurt you if you apply for the undergraduate scholarship, regardless of whether or not you also have college transcripts. (Of course, it depends on how bad they really are when converted to the MEXT scale). If you apply in 2023, you would likely only have one semester of grades from the college by the application deadline, so they are still going to rely more heavily on your high school record.
If you really want to bury the high school transcripts, then your best solution might be to graduate from undergraduate in your home country then apply for the MEXT Scholarship for graduate students later.
– Travis from TranSenz
I have been accepted by one university. Should I wait until the second university accepts me. Is it mandatory to present two unversities in the preference form? How soon should I give my acceptance letter to the Embassy? Is there a quota?
Each embassy sets its own timeline for when you should submit the Letters of Provisional Acceptance and the final Placement Preference Form, so please be sure to check the deadline with the embassy where you applied. There is no advantage to submitting the LoPAs and Placement Preference Form before the deadline, so if you are waiting on a second university where you have applied for a Letter, I recommend that you submit it after you hear back from them.
It is not mandatory to have more than one LoPA and university on your Placement Preference Form, but a Letter of Provisional Acceptance is not a 100% guarantee that the university will accept you in the end. (It’s very rare that they won’t but not impossible), so having more than one could be safer. I recommend you at least wait until you have heard back from everywhere that you submitted an application.
– Travis from TranSenz
Hi Travis, I just want to know about the result of the primary screening, that whether I have passed it or not?? Thanks
The only way to find out would be from the embassy or consulate where you applied, since each embassy has its own practice.
First, I would recommend that you check their website to see if they mentioned a schedule for the Primary Screening, such as when they would contact applicants for interviews, when the final results of the Primary Screening would be out, etc.
If there is nothing on their website or in their previous communications, then I think it would be OK to call them to ask when and how they will release results.
– Travis from TranSenz
Thank you for your help.
I am aware we are allowed to contact two universities after passing the primary screening.
Does contact such as asking Kyoto University for permission to contact the supervisor count?
Because I am not asking for a letter of acceptance just yet, I am not sure if this counts.
As Kyoto is my third choice, I would like to secure this in advance to make sure that I can communicate with my supervisor if rejected from any of the first two universities, but I want to ask the first two universities officially for letter of acceptance in the meantime.
Thank you so much
Asking the university for permission to contact the professor is a gray area. If you don’t follow through and contact the professor, then I guess it would not count, but the university could see it differently (particularly if they take the step of contacting the professor to let them know to expect your message).
As soon as you contact the professor directly, then that would certainly be official “contact” for the purpose of the application.
I wouldn’t recommend contacting the university for permission at this time, but I don’t think it would technically violate the rules.
– Travis from TranSenz
thank you so much, this was super helpful.
I was not sure about it as I do not know if there is any way how the universities let the MEXT know which participants contacted them. If there is such a system, I thought universities would contact MEXT only if a letter of acceptance is issued.
As a general rule, if you ever find yourself thinking “how would MEXT know”, then you’re probably doing something wrong or going against the spirit of what they expect, even if you are technically within the letter of the rules. I don’t think there is any way that universities report to MEXT who contacted them about a Letter of Provisional Acceptance. As far as I know, it is on the honor system for applicants to contact only two schools and to report any and all LoPAs they receive.
The reason they restrict you to contacting only two schools is because it requires a time investment on the part of the universities and professors to deal with each applicant and they don’t want to use that time unnecessarily on someone who has very little chance of actually ending up at that university. I have seen cases when universities are unwilling to work with applicants because they think it’s just a waste of time when there’s little chance they will end up there (this is why many universities have a policy to not respond to any MEXT scholarship applicant interviews until after they have passed the primary screening). So, by trying to keep the burden on universities lower, MEXT is really trying to increase the opportunities for scholars and improve treatment.
– Travis from TranSenz
Thank you so much, it really all makes sense to me now. I was not aware of the real reason, I apologize for considering that option. I will definitely only contact two universities as it will save time for the universities.
You are extremely helpful
Hello travis, thanks to your help I managed to take the interview last week but there is something that confused me during the interview, after presenting myself someone asked me why I put non regular student and I explained that I will start as a research student and take the master’s entrance examination after the first semester but he said that if I put non regular then I can only apply for master’s degree after the 2 years of the research and I need to put master’s degree and not non regular that’s how I can enter a master’s degree after the first semester, I tried to explain but they all seemed to approve with him. This really confused me during the interview as I have prepared for a whole year and read the guidelines multiple times, Now the first impression they had on me is that I didn’t understand the guidelines and that I should have checked before applying. Please travis tell me, if I put non regular as the first course I plan to take in Japan does it mean I can’t apply for a master’s degree until the end of the 2 years?
It sounds to me like the embassy staff are confused. Almost all applicants who come to Japan first as non-regular students end up extending to a degree program after one semester. Almost nobody waits the full 18 months or 2 years.
But it doesn’t really matter what they think. By the time you arrive in Japan and apply for the extension, then the embassy will be out of the picture!
You should be fine putting non-regular student as your start point!
– Travis from TranSenz
I have passed the first screening.
I found a suitable supervisor but he is from a different course but same faculty. Can I still contact him?
If your potential supervisor is from a different course, then you would likely need to enroll in that course in order for that professor to supervise you. Look at the coursework requirements for the two courses to see how different they are and decide whether or not it is more important for your to take the coursework of the original course or to switch your focus so that you can pursue the research that you are interested in with that professor.
– Travis from TranSenz
I gave my entrance and got shortlisted for the interview which is in two days. However, I’ve been really concerned about something. I read somewhere that self-rating 0 in Japanese language ability might negatively affect the chances of scholarship. I know around 100 kanji but I still can’t write or speak so I wrote 0 for all the elements. I’m so scared about this now. Do you think they might reject me because of that?
I am planning to let them know that I’ve been learning Japanese in the interview. But I’m not sure if that’ll help in any way.
I have never heard of someone being rejected for the scholarship because they filled in “0” in the Japanese language ability section and I don’t think that’s something that you need to worry about. However, I have heard of people being rejected for leaving the Japanese language exam blank, so be sure to attempt that exam!
If you indicated that you have no ability, they will probably ask you about your willingness to study Japanese during the interview and you can mention your studies then. But even if they don’t, I recommend that you bring it up. It won’t make a huge difference, but it should certainly help.
– Travis from TranSenz
I have just passed the primary screening, your posts helped a lot, thank you so much!
I would like to ask 2 questions:
1. is there a high chance that the chosen universities will accept me, like do they tend to be favorable towards embassy-recommended students?
2. The mandatory Japanese language course is supposed to start in April 2023 – can I start my master’s degree in April too or is it mandatory to first complete the course and then start my course.
Thank you so much
Congratulations on passing the Primary Screening!
I have an article about the next step of your process: How to Get a Letter of Provisional Acceptance that might help as you move forward. That article is from last year, so disregard the dates. I will update it soon with the new dates for this year!
1. In the article above, I describe how to increase your chances (and avoid the mistakes that will get you rejected). It is not guaranteed, but as long as you go about the application the right way, the university screening should be less intensive than the embassy was.
2. The language program is optional, not mandatory and can start in either April or October. It will be up to you accepting university to decide whether you should attend it. But if you do attend, then you would be focused only on the language program in that semester, and it could even be at a different university. You could start corresponding with your advisor during that time and starting your literature review, etc., if you have time, but you cannot be officially enrolled in the degree program.
– Travis from TranSenz