MEXT Overhauled its application form beginning with the 2018 Embassy-Recommended Scholarship Application Process, so some of the information below is no longer accurate. Click here for a step-by-step instructions for the new application form, plus a downloadable sample!
The (Old) Form
The English translations on the MEXT scholarship application form are confusing at best- and sometimes downright misleading. I used to have two pages of correction bullet statements to copy/paste and send to applicants (most of which were about question 7).
One mistake on the form might force you to have to re-complete and re-send the form by expensive international express mail, depending on how your university handles it.
By following the question-by-question instructions in this article, you can be sure that your application form will clear review with no problem. So, let’s get started.
- Type the application if at all possible. This isn’t only about clarity, but if you type every entry on a page, you can sometimes make corrections by email. If you handwrite any portion of a page, you will have to make all corrections by post.
- If you must handwrite, use block (all capital) letters and black ball-point pen. Other colors are not considered official in Japan.
- Use Arabic numerals (e.g. 1, 2, 3). Do not use any other type or write out numbers in text.
- All years must be in AD (also called CE). This goes for any of your supporting documents, too! If your country uses a different year system (Buddhist, Muslim, Coptic, Japanese, etc), make sure you translate those into AD. (e.g. 2015)
- Do not abbreviate proper nouns (e.g. cities, countries, school names.)
- If you have to make corrections, it’s best to start over and recreate a clean form. But if that’s not possible, cross out the error with two horizontal lines through the text and write the correction above.
- I highly recommend submitting two copies of the form: One printed double-sided, as per the instructions, and one printed single-sided. Having a single-sided version may just save you from having to resend the application by express post in case corrections become necessary!
Application for Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho: MEXT) Scholarship – Page 1
1. Name in full in native language
- This must match your passport (if written there) or birth certificate. You cannot leave out any names, such as patronymics, “bin” or “binti”, middle names, etc.
- If your passport does not specify surname/family name and given names, then use your own discretion to separate them
- If English is your native language/script, be sure to fill in this blank in English (block capitals!), even if the next line is identical!
- If you can’t type your name in your native language in the form, try to insert it using other software or handwrite it after printing
- Vietnamese applicants: Write your names in the order they appear on your passport, even though that means your “given” and “middle” names will be in the opposite spaces
In Roman block capitals
Same as above. Double-check your passport, especially if you’re from Russia or a former Soviet Republic – sometimes you have middle names that appear only in Cyrillic, so leave those out in the English section.
Straightforward- just don’t forget to check one!
Make sure to check this one, too.
Enter the name of the country not the adjective. For example, write “USA” not “American.”
If you have multiple nationalities, write the one for the country you live in/ the passport you will use when you enter Japan
2-2. Japanese Nationality
If you have multiple nationalities and one if Japanese, you are not eligible for the scholarship unless you revoke your Japanese nationality.
3. Date of Birth and age as of April 1 [of scholarship year]
For the month, day, and year, use all numbers- do not write out month names.
Age: About one quarter of applicants get this wrong! It is not your current age, but the age that you will be on April 1 of the year you start the scholarship. If your birthday falls between the date that you fill in the form and April 1, you need to add a year to your age.
Note: In Japan, as in most Western countries, you are age 0 when born. If you come from a country that counts babies as age 1 at birth, you are going to need to convert.
Please see the instructions in the supporting documents article for instructions regarding the photograph. Paste – do not staple – one photograph in the square given here.
4. Present status with the name of the university attended or employer
This one is also a constant source of confusion. You need to fill in two things here:
- If you are currently enrolled in a university, write “Student at [university name]”
- If you are not enrolled in a university and you are working full time, write: “[Job title] at [company name]”
- If you are not enrolled in a university and not working full time, then your status is “Unemployed.”
Note: “Recent Graduate,” “Fresh Graduate,” etc. are not acceptable statuses.
5. Present address, telephone/facsimilie number, and E-mail address.
Write your present address so that if I write that on an envelope and nothing else, the letter will reach you- that means you need everything from your room number up to your country name
Note: Be sure to write in English! (I used to get addresses in Chinese or people who write an overseas address in katakana – don’t do that!)
Telephone (include the country code!) and email are straightforward. Don’t worry if you don’t have a fax machine- that’s not required.
6. Field of specialization studied in the past (Be as detailed and specific as possible)
The scholarship eligibility criteria require that your field of study in Japan match what you have studied before, so when you fill in this question, write your past studies in such a way as to sound as similar to your proposed field of study as possible.
The biggest problem I saw with this field was leaving it blank. Don’t do that.
7. Academic Background (Page 2)The academic background table only makes sense if you know how the Japanese education system works and exactly what they’re looking for.
Here’s what those confusing directions really want:
Primary Education, etc.
Japan’s education system follows a 6-3-3-4 pattern: Six years of elementary, three each of lower and upper middle, then four years of college.
Regardless of how schooling is broken up in your home country, you’re going to be expected to write it according to the Japanese pattern. It can be 6-2-4-4, 5-3-4-4, or any other pattern, but make sure you divide your schooling into each of the categories on the table- only the “graduate” row is optional.
That means that even if your elementary and middle school was the same school (or if your lower- and upper- middle school) was the same physical school, you should divide it up on the chart.
If you Attended Multiple Schools for One Row:
In the “name” field, write “multiple – see attachment” and attach a paper with an identical style table, but with rows only for the level of schooling you need to explain.
For example, if you attended two high schools, then your attachment would have two “high school” rows and nothing else.
On the attached paper, fill in each of the fields as explained below.
Back on the application form: Leave the “location” blank in the form (fill it in on the attached paper).
Complete the “from” field with the date you started your first school and “to” with the date you finished the last school.
The “Duration of Attendance” should be the total time for all schools attended for that row. Calculate each separately on the attached paper and then add them together here.
In the right-hand column, write that you transferred schools, and the reason. You should also fill in this same information in the attachment.
Remember, no abbreviating proper names.
Write only the city and country name (still no abbreviations).
Year and Month of Entrance and Completion
The “From” date is the date that the school year started in your first year and the “To” date is the last day of the school year. These dates may not necessarily match the dates you were in class.
Check your transcript and your graduation certificates. If there are dates written on those certificates, then the dates in your form must match!
If you don’t know the exact dates, try to contact the school- most keep that sort of thing on record. In the worst case scenario and you can only find out the month, that should be enough, but fill in the 1st, middle, or last day of the month, whichever is closest.
Haven’t graduated yet? Fill in the month and day that you are scheduled to graduate. This date must match whatever is written on your certificate of expected graduation.
Years and Months
This field is the probably the most difficult to get right on the whole form.
“Years” should be school years. In Japan, the official school year starts on April 1 and ends on March 31 (even though class dates are different). So, in Japan, primary school is exactly 6 years, for example, and Monbukagakusho doesn’t understand any other system, so you should match this style.
If your school year starts in September and ends in June, like in the US, you should still count that as 1 school year when you fill in the table. So, if you started High School on September 1, 2010 and finished on June 30, 2014, that is 4 years and 0 months, not 3 years and 10 months.
“Months” is anything less than a full school year. If you finished a semester early, or a semester late, you would enter that in the “months” category.
Note: The number in “months” should be less than 12. I saw a lot of applicants write “4 years and 48 months.” Don’t do that.
When you add up the total time spent at the bottom of the table, note that there is no months category, so you’ll have to convert months to a decimal. So, 15 years 6 months becomes 15.5 years.
Diploma or Degree Awarded, Major Subject, Skipped Years/Levels
Most people won’t need to fill in anything in this field for Primary or Secondary.
If you skipped a grade, took a year off school, transferred schools, etc., then you should fill that in.
If you went to a specific science high school, or something like that, you could fill that in, too. But in most cases, it’s not necessary.
For the Undergraduate Level (and Graduate Level, if applicable), fill in your Major and Minor and the name of your degree.
Page 3 – The Hard Part is Over, Just a Few Tricks Left!
Only published works should go here. Books, journal articles, or conference presentations that were published in a conference summary publication are all OK.
9. Employment Record
This is one of the rare fields you can leave blank. It won’t hurt you if you do.
List only paid employment here (no unpaid internships) and be sure to begin with the most recent.
For the dates, be sure to write at least year and month (day, if possible).
10. Japanese Language Proficiency
It ismandatory to fill in each row, even if you have no ability. If you have no ability, check “Poor” (the Japanese header actually means “no ability”, so you’re not lying or inflating your ability, don’t worry).
11. Language Ability
Same as above, the first four rows are mandatory. The “fill in your own language” row at the bottom is the only one that can be left blank.
Yes, my university used to send back applications to be resubmitted (and in some cases, resent by post if there was any handwriting on the page) when these fields were empty.
I’m not saying that’s the right way to handle it (I don’t think it is), but be aware that some universities are going to be that strict!
12. Past Awarded Record
If you have received any form of Monbukagakusho (MEXT) Scholarship in the past, check yes and fill in the dates (year and month) as well as the university.
Remember from the Eligibility article that you must have at least three years of education and research activities between the end of your last MEXT scholarship and the start date of your new one. Some scholarship categories are exempt, so see the eligibility article for details.
Page 4 – The Signature Page: Make No Errors Here!
13. Accompanying Dependents
If you have a spouse or children that you want to bring with you to Japan, enter their information here.
The form itself, and Japanese universities, are going to advise you to come alone first to Japan and to invite your family later. This is so you can get settled on your own and find appropriate housing for your whole family (careful- it will be quite a bit more expensive than a single studio).
Another practical reason is that the Japanese university and MEXT are not going to help you at all with your family’s immigration paperwork, so you have to be in Japan to do all the Certificate of Eligibility paperwork for them, anyway.
Really, the only important thing about this field is that you cannot have the same person listed in both this field and the next one!
14. Person to be notified in applicant’s home country in case of an emergency
Basically, if you 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 (13) above
- Must have an email address and access to a phone
- Should, if at all possible, have English or Japanese language ability
- Be an immediate family member if possible
When I was reviewing these, any time an applicant wrote “friend,” “boyfriend/girlfriend,” “supervisor,” or anything other than a close family member, we would flag it for follow up. That means that until the applicant replied to explain why they hadn’t filled in a close family member, their application wasn’t getting reviewed.
If you cannot enter an immediate family member, you should briefly explain why in the “relationship to you” line (in addition to writing their relationship, of course!)
For example: “Only English-speaking family friend- will relay messages”, “Closest living relative”, “Only family member with email”, etc.
The only “optional” detail in this question is the fax number. Everything else, must be complete.
Be prepared to face scrutiny on the email address, in particular. If it is the same as your email address, or if it is blank, that will not be accepted.
Caution: Since this field is on the same page as your signature, if you have to make any changes, you will have to submit the whole thing again by post!
Immigration Records to Japan
You will need the exact dates as stamped in your passport.
In the purpose column, include both the type of visa/residence status and your reason for coming to Japan. (e.g. “Short Term Stay – tourism”)
If you are currently in Japan, for example, finishing up an undergraduate degree in Japan and graduating in March, fill in your projected date of departing Japan (within 2 weeks of graduation) and explain that in the Purpose column.
Last Thing: Date, Signature, and Name
Make sure you fill it in! You’ve come this far, don’t screw up your application by leaving this blank. (Yes, I’ve seen it done too many times to count).
Note that your name must be in all capital letters.
Get the application form together with your Field of Study and Research Program Plan plus all of your other required documents.
Before asking any questions in the comments below, please read through the MEXT Scholarship Application FAQ top page and specific FAQ pages to see what I’ve answered already and to find tips about how to get your questions answered faster.
You can ask your questions in the comments here, on the FAQ page, or by email and I will answer them by updating the FAQ and letting you know when the answers are available.
I’d also recommend signing up for my mailing list to get notified whenever I have updates to any of the FAQs or new articles about the MEXT scholarship!
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Hi Travis! Thank you so much for this helpful information. I am from the Philippines and I tried applying for MEXT undergraduate category last year but I did not manage to pass the application process. I wish I read this article sooner. I will try again to re-apply for 2024 and I hope I will be able to make it.
I also would like to ask a question about the size of the documents that are needed to submit. Should I only pass A4 size paper for the documents? Because it is specified in our embassy that “Only A4 size documents must be submitted.” Does it mean that when I am asking for my transcript of records for my school, I will ask them to print it out in A4 size, the same for the certification needed?
I am really confused regarding this matter and I am really hoping for your response. Thank you so much in advance, Travis!
Hi Marian S. Facunla,
If your university is able to print the transcript and other documents on A4 paper, that would be ideal, but if they will not do so, I think the embassy should understand! If the university says that they are unable to print on A4, then you could insert a letter paper-clipped to the transcripts saying that you requested the documents be issued in A4 size, but the university was not able to do so.
The most important thing is to make sure that the forms you submit (the documents that you can control) are A4-sized!
– Travis from TranSenz
Thank you so much for your reply! I really appreciate it. I have another question if I may, I have read throroughly your sample application but I am applying for specilized training college, I need to provide 2 chosen major in one field. Although it is 2 different major, is it still needed that the reasons that I will be providing for those two is still connected and very specific?
I really need to know this because I want to give my very best for this application and I don’t want to missed this opportunity. Thank you so much, Travis! I will always be thankful for your great blogs and help.
Both of your reasons should be specific. The two explanations do not necessarily have to be related to one another, but if you can express a common theme, such as both contributing to a similar future goal, I think that would be helpful in showing focus and it would give you more “space” to talk about your goals to contribute to society in the future and show how you are a more serious applicant.
– Travis from TranSenz
Am interested to learn here
Thank you for your comment. I hope you find the various articles useful!
– Travis from TranSenz
Good evening, Travis!
Thank you for the information.
I was selected by the Embassy and now I’m waiting for the final decision of MEXT.
When filling out the form, I followed all the recommendations of the Embassy and entered the “middle name”, which is not displayed in my international passport in Roman letters (displayed only in my native language).
And now I’m worried how do I apply for the extension of the scholarship in the future. Should I now always indicate this “middle name”, even if it does not match the passport? Will they think it’s a different person?
The Embassy says it’s okay, but I’m still worried. Maybe there is a way to somehow report this misunderstanding to the ministry?
Thank you for the answer.
Congratulations on being selected by the embassy and making it this far in the application! Now, you’re facing a long wait for the bureaucratic procedure, but you should hear good news at the end.
I don’t think you need to worry about the name issue. There should be no confusion with them thinking it’s another person. Once you are selected for the scholarship, I recommend you simply continue to use whatever spelling of your name (middle name or no middle name) is on the documentation you receive from MEXT and on your Residence Card when you arrive in Japan.
Middle names always seem to cause headaches here, since Japan doesn’t have them in the first place and considers them part of your first name, but in my experience, people and institutions have been flexible with it.
– Travis from TranSenz
Hi! I’m from the Philippines and I want to ask about how I should put my name suffix which is “Jr” and which box should fill it in? Another question is how should fill up the part about the years of schooling attended as I am expected to graduate on May 2023, while the information being asked is the number of education I had completed on April 1, 2023. Should I just put the years I have already attended or should I include the months also?
Hi Jorlito Montejo Jr.,
You should look at the bottom of the first page of your passport, where there are two lines of letters, numbers, and < symbols and fill in your name how it shows there. The double "<<" shows the break between your family name and your first name, so anything before that is part of your last name. For filling out the years of education, since you won't have completed your studies by April 2023, you should fill in the years and months. Since there is no column for months anymore, I recommend filling it out as a decimal. (e.g. 3.10 years would be 3 years, 10 months). By the way, this article is quite old. My most recent version of it is from 2021/2022, but I will be updating it again for 2022/2023 in the near future.
– Travis from TranSenz
hey, hope you are doing well.
I have some questions about the application form.
my native language is not English is Arabic, so should I fill the form in Arabic or it is okay in English? if it is in English all the words should be in capital letters or just the first letter? like this JUMANA- Jumana both are correct or not? and I don’t understand what you mean by this One printed double-sided, and one printed single-sided. Having a single-sided version. could you please show me a pic if you have one?
witing for your reply, thanks.
You need to fill out the forms in English or Japanese. They would not accept a form filled out in Arabic.
When you fill out the form, if you fill it out by hand, then all letters should be capitalized, e.g. “JUMANA” (for legibility). If you fill out the form electronically, which is the much better option, then you should only capitalize the necessary letters (e.g. the first letter of your name “Jumana”)
Printing “single-sided” and “double-sided” refers to which sides of the paper you print on when you print out the forms. When you print single-sided, the back side of the sheet of paper will be blank. That is the better option, in most cases, since if you print on both sides of the paper, sometimes the printing bleeds through.
– Travis from TranSenz
How i have to submit my application from and research plan and medical certificate and all required documents to the embassy via mail or via post
You will need to check the submission instructions from the specific Japanese embassy or consulate that you plan to apply to. MEXT has not released its application guidelines for the 2022-2023 scholarship application process, so in most countries, those guidelines will not be available yet, but as soon as they are, you should check to make sure that you have used the most up-to-date forms (you will need this year’s application form, at least!) and have all the required documents, then submit them per the embassy’s instructions.
– Travis from TranSenz
Thank you very much for this insightful information.
My name is Ronald Felix, from Indonesia.
I would like to ask a question regarding publications.
It is stated that I have to write my abstracts.
Should I attach them with this form or should I write them down along with my thesis abstract document?
Thank you very much.
Hi Ronald Felix,
Thank you for your kind words!
For your published articles, you should write the publication information in the application form and attach them as part of the “Abstracts of Theses” document.
– Travis from TranSenz