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Thread: Munbukagakusho Scholarship

  1. #1
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    Post Munbukagakusho Scholarship

    Hi all,

    This is a kind of re-posting of a question I've asked posted on Kendo World, but it was suggested that you may be a bit more learned on this side of the fence....

    I'm looking at the possibility of applying for a Monbukagakusho (formerly Munbusho) Research Scholarship to do some post-graduate study in a Japanese university (and conveniently be able to train in Iaido & Kendo on the side).

    It looks like exchange with my current university is not going to work because I need to be studying full-time but I'm only a part-time student who works full-time. The upshot of this is that I would have to apply for the scholarship through the consulate, and be approved for study in Japan that way.

    • Has anyone here been the recipient of such a scholarship?
    • Has anyone done post-graduate work in a Japanese institution?


    I'm currently doing 'Japanese Studies', but I would guess no such equivalent department exists in Japanese universities (they just call it 'studies' ). I have a degree in linguistics, but I'm more interested in studying Japanese Culture and History, so that puts me a bit more in the scope of the scholarship I would hope.

    The Research Scholarship includes 6 months of Japanese language studies, and currently my level would be somewhere between 3-kyu and 2-kyu, do you think this would be a great hinderance to my application? With over a year until the scholarship would begin, that gives me plenty of upgrading my skills.

    Any assistance, information, or comments would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks a lot,
    andrew blaker.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by filter View Post
    ...I'm currently doing 'Japanese Studies', but I would guess no such equivalent department exists in Japanese universities (they just call it 'studies' ). I have a degree in linguistics, but I'm more interested in studying Japanese Culture and History, so that puts me a bit more in the scope of the scholarship I would hope.
    Greetings, and welcome to E-Budo.

    I don't know the specific answer to your questions; hopefully someone else will see your post soon. We have one member, Peter Goldsbury (the moderator of this Language forum), who is on staff at a Japanese university, so he may know some details that can help you.

    In general, though, if you want to study Japanese culture and history in Japan, I would think you'd want to take coursework equivalent to cultural anthropology, sociology, economics, and, of course, history. Whether it's Japanese history or world history, I'm sure seeing it from the Japanese perspective would be informative.

    HTH, and once again, welcome.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Default *cough* MONbukagakusho

    Thanks for the welcome!

    Now that I'm throught the e-budo front door it kind of feels like I'm in with the cool crowd, and not just hanging around with people posting about the awesome new ninjutsu style that they've developed (although I do note that you do have a couple of those...).

    My first post is sullied by spelling monbukagakusho incorrectly not once, but TWICE! Oh for editability to make me look less like a fool. Let this not be interpreted as insincerity about my intent.

    The scholarship I have in mind requires me to specify precisely the research I will carry out before I even start, so I need to consider very carefully what my research will be about before I make my submission.
    To tell the truth, there is so much rich material for study I'm not actually concerned right nownabout which direction it leads me (I just love the learning), so to have advice from someone in the right place would be an enormous boon.

    thanks again,
    andrew.

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    Mr Blaker,

    Welcome to E-Budo.

    I have looked over the thread in Kendo World and see that we have a reputation to live up to...

    At present I am teaching a class of overseas students at Hiroshima University's Graduate School of International Development (IDEC). Most of them are from Asia and all of them have Monkasho scholarships of some kind. The level of Japanese varies--and varied among the overseas students I encountered in other graduate schools in the university. In fact, we made the standards higher in my own faculty (1-kyu, or failure by a narrow margin).

    One question I have is whether you need to have applied to or been accepted by a university here, in order to apply for a scholarship. I also suggest that you cast your net more widely than Kyodai or Sangyo.

    Best wishes, and if you have any questions that you think I can answer, by all means ask.
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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    Thanks for the quick reply Mr. (Professor?) Goldsbury,

    The 1-kyu level is precisely what I am afraid of. I cannot attain 1-kyu, or even 2-kyu for that matter, without serious study in Japan itself, and I'm finding it difficult to come up with reasonable ways to get back there.

    I keep, however, finding instances of people like this fellow who have been accepted with japanese ability much the same level as mine. What I don't have examples of is how on earth they are able to carry out research without strong language skills. I suppose I'm really looking for an area of research which has lower language requirements, or a supervisor who has adequate english abilities.

    The research scholarship seems to follow two possible paths:

    • After being accepted into a Japanese University applying for the scholarship.
    • Applying through your local Japanese Consulate, passing an interview and then being posted to a University

    It is this second option that would suit me, but also the one for which there seems to be very little information. I went to the local Consulate and asked for information and was handed a comfortably weighty stack of information, but it just covered the information that was available online.

    The process as I see it:

    • Submit application, including proposed research topic and plan
    • Undergo Consulate interview
    • Undergo language testing.
    • Receive letter of recommendation from Consulate.
    • here's where I get hazy...


    Some places seem to suggest you take this letter of recommendation to apply for a position in a university, and some suggested you are given a placement.

    With regard to my choice of university, I was only suggesting those two in Kyoto as my University has exchange agreements with them, but that option is out as I am not a full-time student. The up side of this is that I can cast my net wider.

    I suppose I'll leave the question open to see if anyone has any experiences I can draw on.

    Thanks a lot,
    andrew.

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    Default Japanese studies

    Though I would agree that ikkyu-level Japanese ability is pretty much mandatory for graduate research in Japan, from what I hear there are many Japanese universities looking for foreign students to fill openings in their departments. Some are willing to go very far to attract those students. Hosei, for example, does have a recently established "Japanese studies" department that offers a graduate course. They even have a classical Japanese class exclusively for non-native speakers to make researching easier for people without previous study. So there are options available; it just takes some looking.
    Ben Persons

    "Kimi ga yo wa, ama no hagoromo mare ni kite."

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    Mr. Blaker,

    For what it's worth, here's my experience with the Monkashō fellowship.

    A little background: I'm a computer science student and I spent one year at Kanda Gaigo Daigaku at Chiba, as my university had an exchange program there. The year had nothing to do with my major, it was all Japanese language studies, and I had the best time of my life The exchange was supported by my university in Finland, the Finnish Government, and by the Kanda GaiDai.

    During that year I got introduced to a certain computer science professor by a friend of mine, who's an associate professor at the same university. After returning to Finland, I kept in touch with this professor and he accepted me as a doctoral student. The first year I tried to apply the monkashō fellowship through the embassy. I had an invitation letter from my professor and a proper research plan. Most of the other applicants didn't have either. One had a research plan.

    The process went as you explained above, with the application, interview and language tests. As I mentioned above, most of the applicants didn't have a lab decided, and IIRC with the application we got a list of universities, from which it was possible to choose three preferred universities (i.e. the applicants would be placed to some university by the embassy / monbushō, if they didn't have a lab decided all ready).

    I thought that I had excellent chance of getting the scholarship as I had an invitation to a national university and a proper research plan. But it seems that the people at the embassy didn't feel comfortable on judging the research part, but instead the decision was made on the basis of the language test. In Finland there was actually two language tests, a Japanese and an English one. Neither of the language tests was considered more important than the other, so the person who got the best score in either of these got selected. Therefore, I think that Japanese language skill is not necessary to get the fellowship, but will naturally help living and doing research here.

    Personally I would say that Japanese language skill is a necessity for people doing Japanese studies, no matter where they study . However, if you have some basic Japanese studies (as I read from between the lines), with most universities having Japanese language courses for the kokuhi (the monbushō fellowship) students, after one year the language shouldn't be any problem.

    So, after failing that, after half a year, when I was finishing my Master's Thesis, the professor applied directly the kokuhi for me. This time I received it and I'm currently doing my Ph.D. here in Tokyo. Students who receive the kokuhi don't need to take any entrance exam at least in the university where I'm studying.

    I hope I recall everything right, and hopefully my experiences are useful to you. I think your best bet would be to contact the Japanese embassy directly, or if any of your own university professors have contacts / colleagues / friends as professors in Japan, maybe you could ask for introduction and take it from there.

    Good luck with your application!
    -Mikko Vilenius

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