How to Fill In the 2023/2024 Embassy Recommendation MEXT Scholarship Application Form

Follow this step-by-step guide to complete your Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship Application Form, including advice for the essay questions.

This article is all about how to complete the 2023/2024 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!

Where to Get the Form

I will not send you the fillable form or make it available here. That’s intentional. If you’re reading this in a future year, the form will be different (if nothing else, the year number will change!), so you need to use the most recent version.

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

  1. You should type your responses into the pdf form using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software or your internet browser. Typing makes it easier to read and easier 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 document.
  2. 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”)
  3. 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.
  4. Write out proper nouns, including cities, states, countries, etc. Do not abbreviate. (e.g. Write “United States of America”, not “USA”)
  5. 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

Pro Tip: If sending a physical photo, include two extra photos in the envelope with your application form, keep them in a separate plastic bag to avoid damage.

Photo: You can insert a digital image directly into the form (insert photo) before printing or attach a physical photo afterward. If you decide to attach a physical photo, it must be on photo paper and you should attach it with paste or a glue stick. DO NOT use staples, as that will damage your photo and make it useless.

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:


Example of how to fill in the Embassy-Recommended MEXT Application Form

Click here to join my MEXT scholarship mailing list and receive a sample completed application form.

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 refers to your biological gender as stated in your passport, not 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 most institutions recognize nothing other than biological sex.

3. Marital Status: This one is pretty straightforward! You should fill in your current marital status as of the date of submission. It is not a problem if your status changes later before you travel to Japan.

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 ( 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

Sample of page 2 of the Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship filled

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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 one-time 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

Filled sample of page 3 of the Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship application form

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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 level of education. 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 as well as the “Period of schooling attended (see note below) in 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.

Schooling Level

Primary Education:

Typically, this would be your first 5-6 years of education. Do not include Kindergarten. If you attended a single school that covered elementary and middle school or elementary through high school, but these are considered separate levels of education in your country, then you should separate it into the appropriate lines. To find out what the “official” levels of education are in your country, Google “Education system in [COUNTRY NAME]”. One of the top results will usually be a Wikipedia article that describes the system, and this is usually good enough to figure out how to separate your schooling for this chart.

Lower Secondary Education:

Typically 2 or 3 years. As with elementary school, above, if you attended the same school from middle school/junior high school through high school/senior high school, separate it into the two lines, if appropriate for your country. This is the most common level of schooling to be absent in some countries’ education systems. For example, Bangladesh has no “Lower Secondary” school and goes straight from Primary to [Upper] Secondary. If your country (not just your town) does not have Lower Secondary Schooling, then fill in “n/a” for the name and explain in the Remarks line that your country does not have Lower Secondary School. Do not expect the university to know this without your explanation.

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.)


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.


For the dates, enter your actual start and end dates for your enrollment (year and month, only). If you attended multiple schools and are attaching a separate sheet to explain that, then you should enter the date you started your first school at that level and the date you completed your last school at that level, even if there were gaps in between.

If you are still enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at the time of application, fill in the expected date of graduation.

Period 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). There should never be a situation where you would have less than a full year in any of these spaces.


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.


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, counting the official, expected years, as explained in “Period of schooling attended” above. 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.


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

Filled sample of page 4 of the Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship Application

Click here to download a sample completed application form.

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 Political Science, you wouldn’t write simply “Political Science.” You would write something like:

Major in political science with a focus on post-Cold War Japanese Official Development Aid investment in the Philippines (Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Department of Political Science)

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 any graduation theses, even if they have not been published. For an unpublished thesis, you can city it using the APA format below:

Transenz, T.F. (2024). Post-Cold War Shifts in Japanese Foreign Policy: An Analysis of Official Development Aid Investment Changes in Africa (unpublished bachelor’s thesis). University of Chicago, Chicago, United States of America.
Breaking it down, that’s:
Author Name (Year of presentation). Title (“unpublished [degree level] thesis). University name, city, country.

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 officially enrolled in a degree program. You are a pre-graduate student, but you will still be expected to take some classes (the credits that you earn will transfer to your degree, as long as it is at the same university) and start your research. You will apply to enroll in the degree program after arriving in Japan and will also apply to extend your MEXT Scholarship at that time. 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.
  • 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.
  • Professional Graduate Course: This covers all non-academic graduate degrees, such as MBA, MFA, JD, MD, and Teacher Training degree 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.)
  • Doctoral Course: Academic PhD program. In Japan, this is a 3-year program. The same time condition as Master’s Degree applies.

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. However, you cannot select that you only want to be a Non-regular student. You must have the intent to earn a degree in Japan.

18. Do you currently have a job? You should only fill in “yes” if you are working full time. A part-time student job is not relevant. This section is for MEXT to determine if you are working full time and what working experience you have (especially if it applies to your studies). If you are currently working, then you will have to submit a letter of recommendation from your employer, in part to show that you are free to leave that job to pursue your studies in Japan.
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.

For the “location” of your organization, the city and country are sufficient.

The period of employment should include the year and month in YYYY/MM format. You do not need to include the day. For example, for November 2023, you would fill in 2023/11.

When you describe your “Type of work” you should use a general description, such as “clerical work”, “customer service”, “programmer”, etc. This is not a CV where you would be trying to impress the readers with statements like “Delivered high-quality responses to over 200 customer inquiries per week.” Instead of that mouthful, “customer service” would be better.

Page 5: Motivation for Studying in Japan

Sample essay questions for Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship application form

Click here to download a sample completed application form.

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. Every answer in this form and 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.

Also, keep in mind that while you are only writing the essay once, your reviewers will probably be reading dozens of these application back-to-back in order to decide who to keep for the next stage and who to reject. Try to make your application stand out. Don’t just write something than anyone else could say.

Length: A lot of applicants ask me how long these essays should be. There is no fixed requirement, so the answer “as long as it needs to be to make the point” applies. The fewer words that you can use to make your point, the better. Shorter is easier to read for reviewers, who will be going through as many application as possible as quickly as possible to move on to the next step. You should also use blank space between paragraphs and short paragraphs to increase readability.

If you type too much, you will see that the words start to shrink to fit in the space. That is a sure sign that you have written way too much!

20.(1). What was the trigger for having an interest in Japan?

Do not take this question too literally! A lot of applicants will write in detail 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 field of studies.

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. Besides, anyone else could write the same thing. 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

sample filled Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship application form page 6

Click here to download a sample completed application form.

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”.

For the “Others” line, if there is another language that is relevant to your research, fill in that one. For example, if you plan to reference Spanish-language sources, enter your Spanish ability. If you are doing a comparative study with your home country, then the language of your home country would be best to fill in here. You only need to fill in one language in this block, even if you are a polyglot!

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 those, 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, write 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. You do not need to have official language proficiency test scores when you apply to the Embassy, since you will take a language test during the Primary Screening process, but some universities may ask for official scores when you apply for the Letter of Provisional Acceptance.

24. Accompanying Dependents: MEXT (and universities) discourages bringing your dependents (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. But if you were a MEXT scholar during that visit, you should indicate that.

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.

Certification: It is no longer required to sign by hand as in the past!

Fill in the check mark to indicate your consent to the application guidelines, then type the date in the bottom line.

Hooray! You’re finished!

Special Thanks

Special thanks to the TranSenz supporters on Patreon, who donate to help me keep this site running and updated for everyone. 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.

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Please leave any questions in the comments below and I will answer them as quickly as possible.

Interested in Learning How to Maximize Your MEXT Scholarship Chances?

How to Apply for the MEXT ScholarshipMy 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!

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