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Help with research proposal ( MEXT research scholarship )

darkhriss

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Hello!

I am planning to apply for the Monbukagakusho research scholarship next year. I thought it's a good idea to start writing my research proposal now, but I am lost already. As stupid as it might sound, I don't know what to research. All I know is that I love kanji and I would like to research something related to them, but have no idea what could I come up with that would be convincing enough to receive the scholarship.

I would be very grateful to hear some suggestions! Thank you!
 
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Mike Cash

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Pick an angle based on your academic background/interest. What aspect of kanji appeals to you?

Artistic? Effect on literacy? Effect on linguistic development of the Japanese language? Cognitive development? Changes throughout history? (What period/era?) Effect on technology? Effect of technology on kanji usage? Future changes in usage? Effect on promoting/retarding interest in learning Japanese among foreigners? Etc etc etc.
 

Glenski

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Go to Google Scholar and type in sets of keywords to see what other people are doing. And, look up what your potential advisors are doing at the university where you plan to attend.
 

madphysicist

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It's helpful if you can relate what you want to research to what you have studied before or are studying now. So if you tell us what your previous studies have been based around, we may have better suggestions.

For the proposal I think it's also important for you to address why your research is beneficial in practical terms - they may not be that impressed by the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake.
 

uffiebird

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I'm kind of in the same boat here-- I want to research international cinema and seeing different culture in film, and why recognizing filmmaking from abroad will eventually lead to a generation of new innovative filmmakers from across the globe or... something.

What I find tricky is why this relates to Japan. I'm pretty sure I'll lose points if my only justification for studying in Japan is that it's the only country with funding like MEXT and I speak the language...

As an art student I have never written a research proposal in my life so this is all super new and nerve-wracking for me. It doesn't help that most scholarship winners that make their research proposal accessible study something scientific/business-y.

Have you considered maybe trying to study calligraphy in art schools (I'm pretty sure it's a popular course in most art universities) and maybe how calligraphy can improve your own art work and also make the artform more well-known in your own country?
 

madphysicist

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I'm kind of in the same boat here-- I want to research international cinema and seeing different culture in film, and why recognizing filmmaking from abroad will eventually lead to a generation of new innovative filmmakers from across the globe or... something.

What I find tricky is why this relates to Japan. I'm pretty sure I'll lose points if my only justification for studying in Japan is that it's the only country with funding like MEXT and I speak the language...

As an art student I have never written a research proposal in my life so this is all super new and nerve-wracking for me. It doesn't help that most scholarship winners that make their research proposal accessible study something scientific/business-y.

Can you focus your research more on Japanese cinema in particular?

Also, you can spin "knowing the language" as a justification - you have a better understanding of the subtleties of the dialogue and cultural references in the films if you know the cultural and linguistic context.

Most scientists and engineers don't have to write research proposals until at least PhD level either, so we are all in the same boat. Actually for science your PhD project is usually almost entirely set out by your supervisor, making the MEXT research proposal rather unusual. I have 3 contacts in Japan I can use, but the projects I could do with each are all slightly different even though they're about the same experiment. I will have to get around this for my proposal.

I guess you've already seen this example, from a calligraphy student:
Research Proposal | Lars Martinson: Cartoonist
 

Davey

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Interesting thread! Looking forward to reading more!
 
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