Scholarship Program Cultivates Young Nikkei

Developing specialist knowledge and cultivating leaders for next generation of Nikkei society through training and social contribution activities while studying in Japan

Group photo of scholars
Scholars visiting The Nippon Zaidan Building for the first time since the pandemic outbreak
* Masks removed for photo only

The Nippon Foundation Nikkei Scholarship, administered by the Association of Nikkei & Japanese Abroad, has supported 148 young Nikkei from 11 countries (as of September 2022) from Latin America and Asia.
The scholarship program has three unique features: (1) A wide range of choices for the institusion and subject; (2) A robust program that includes training opportunities; and (3) A network of other scholars after completing the program.

1. Diverse options for school and fields of study

The scholarship is intended to enable young Nikkei to realize their various, diverse dreams, and therefore does not restrict what or where the students may study. Current scholars alone are majoring in a diverse range of fields including international relations, engineering, design, medicine, veterinary medicine, Ryukyu (Okinawan) dance, acupuncture and moxibustion, fashion, and cooking, at schools ranging from vocational colleges to university Ph.D. programs. Depending on the course of study, the study abroad period can be for up to five years, allowing students to take their time developing their expertise while in Japan.

Photo of scholars practicing Okinawan dance
All scholars experiencing Okinawan dance under the instruction of a student majoring in Okinawan culture at a university in Okinawa

2. Ample training opportunities

During their study abroad period, scholars have four training opportunities annually and participate in activities that contribute to society based on various interests, to become aware of issues facing Japanese and Nikkei societies and acquire the ability to address those issues.
For example, at a training program held in the spring of 2022, students learned about current environmental issues by participating in a beach cleanup event held by an organization using a grant from the Umi-to-Nippon Project (The Ocean and Japan Project), which is supported by The Nippon Foundation’s Ocean Affairs Department.

Photo of scholars picking up trash at Tsujido Beach
Scholars picking up trash at Tsujido Beach in Kanagawa Prefecture as part of the Umi-to-Nippon Project

Scholars are also proactively engaged in activities that contribute to Nikkei communities in Japan. In July 2022, under the leadership of Nikkei Scholar graduates, many current scholars volunteered at a joint Olympic-style event held for 16 schools for Nikkei students from Brazil.

Photo of scholars volunteering at a track and field event
Many scholars were eager to volunteer at the event, held in Shizuoka Prefecture

In principle, these training and social contribution activities are planned and carried out by the scholars themselves, to cultivate their leadership skills and strengthen their ties with other scholars, and help them establish their Nikkei identity.

3. Post-graduation network

Scholars maintain strong ties with The Nippon Foundation after graduation as well.
The Nippon Foundation staff join the interviews with scholarship applicants held each year in South America. Whenever staff travel abroad on scholarship-related business, they host get-togethers with local graduates who are using their study abroad experience in their field of specialization. There is endless conversation about their days in Japan and current lives.
In addition, with no offices in South America, these gatherings provide a valuable opportunity for staff to talk with graduates about the actual situation in their countries and the Nikkei community.

Photo of a get-together with graduates in Sao Paulo, Brazil
A get-together with graduates in Sao Paulo, Brazil

The Nippon Foundation launched an online platform in 2021 to enable graduates to maintain lifelong ties with other alumni across fields and generations. Current students and graduates are already using this platform to share event information and deepen friendships that transcend age and location.

Note: The Nippon Foundation supports The Nippon Foundation Nikkei Scholarship through grants to the Association of Nikkei & Japanese Abroad. For detailed information regarding the project and inquiries related to applications, please contact the Association of Nikkei & Japanese Abroad.