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MEXT Japanese Studies 2017/2018


29 Jun 2014
Hi !

Anyone else here applying for the Japanese Studies scholarship offered by MEXT for the 2017/2018 academic year? Here in France we took the written and oral tests on 2nd and 3rd february which is pretty early I think, seems like we are part of the first countries starting the application process this year. I received a letter from the embassy last saturday saying that I passed the first screening and that my application was going to be sent to the ministry in Japan (I think we are something like 6 or 8 people being recommended in France this year). If you are applying feel free to post, so we can talk about our projects or impressions ! ;)

I'm already done with the writing test, and I'm waiting for the oral one which is in 2 weeks. How does it look like?

It depends on your application and the country, some countries conduct the interview in english, some others in japanese. In France, the interview was in japanese keigo.

The interview lasts roughly a dozen of minutes, in my case they were 5 people. Concerning the questions, it depends on what you wrote on your application file, it can be quite personnal questions: introduce yourself, japanese learning, culture, your choices of university and so on.

To be honnest, it seems like you're likely to get recommended once you passed the writting test. I already passed it last year (got rejected after the first screening in late june) and everybody who passed the written test got recommended for the first screening, regardless the quality of their interview, and this year, it was also the case, everybody who passed the writting test got recommended. In my case, I had some trouble during the interview, I didn't understand every questions because of keigo but it's okay, I think you don't have to get too worried, it seems like the interview just makes them able to know you better.

Which unis did you applied for? Good luck !
Ehh I am a bit worried because my spoken Japanese isn't too good I think. I am only in my 2nd year of studies and before uni I had no contact with the language. And even now after 1,5 year I didn't really get to practice my Japanese much in natural, practical setting. Since I am pretty good at writing tests I somehow managed to pass that part (probably some luck was involved as well...) but I don't know what level to expect from the interview. What keigo do they use?

As for the unis I still need to receive the necessary documents from my university and then I will choose them. We will see but honestly I would be fine with nearly anything.

Good luck to You as well, also I am going to try to keep the thread alive, previous years ones were pretty useful to me.

I will be taking my test and interview on the 7th! I'm very nervous about the written portion, as I do not have a lot of experience writing in Japanese. I passed the JLPT N1 but that does not have a writing component, thankfully. Would you mind sharing the format of the tests? As I understand, there are reading portions and written portions where you write the appropriate kanji or hiragana.

I chose Osaka University, Kyoto University, and Doshisha University. As you can see, I'm hoping to be in the Kansai region.

Good luck everyone! I hear they are awarding less scholarships recently and therefore are being more strict. >_<
Hello Kyrie, I am uploading 2 files with the 2015 edition of the exam. Exam in one, answers in the other. Hope you will find it helpful.


  • ke_ja.pdf
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  • ke_answer.pdf
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Hi Kyrie !

Waow if you already passed the N1 you don't have to worry about being selected, you already have the intended level, everybody I knew who already had the N1 could get the scholarship with no trouble. Wish you good luck anyway. That's fun, I'm also found of Kansai region as I chose almost the same universities as you. I picked Osaka, Doshisha and Ritsumeikan ! What do you want to do when you graduate ? And yes that's true, it's the second time I'm applying. In 2015 it was insane 22 people in France got the scholarship even people who had only a N3 level, they awarded something like 350 scholarship back to this year. In 2016 I tried to get it and passed the first screening but got rejected in June, and as you said only a few people in my country got the scholarship, even those (including me) who had a N2 level got rejected, since last year they award 35% less scholarship than in the past, that's why I'm quite pessimistic even this year for me.

Orapsag: Don't worry too much, even if you are not learning Japanese for years, if you passed the written test, it means you have the expected level to go to an university in Japan. How did you find the intermediate and advanced parts? I mean, which JLPT level do you think you have ? When you say you didn't choose the unis yet, does that mean you're applying through university recommendation?
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Oaneyl, according to my university's curriculum I should be somewhere between N4 and N3 right now, but I studied more advanced material on my own so it's very hard to say. The intermediate part was challenging but doable for me, I got quite a bit perplexed by a few grammatical constructions though. The advanced part, asides from the kanji which I knew quite a bit since I did some of them on my own, was very hard with a lot of stuff I have never seen before. I mostly relied on my gut feeling and well I managed somehow.

About the unis it just seems like the process is a bit different here in Poland - only after you have passed the written test you get a list of avaible unis and necessary documents to fill and deliver to the embassy. In the case of our uni the embassy sent those things to the teachers, who will hand them to us.
Orapsag, thank you very much for the sample tests! It says it's for research students but I suppose it can't be too different from what they administer to the Japanese Studies applicants. The format is very similar to the JLPT, except for the kanji/hiragana writing portion. Surprisingly, it's the grammar section that seems the most difficult to me.

Oaneyl, I wish you the best this year! Maybe we'll be put in the same university!
I'm not sure what my plans are after graduation, I might go onto grad school for Japanese studies but I'm not sure. The thought of more schooling isn't so appealing to me right now but neither is job hunting. What are your plans?
Orapsag: Oh okay I see, just make your choice then, don't hesitate to tell which you picked when it's done !

Kyrie: Hahaha let's hope, who knows ! Okay I see, the good thing about studying abroad is this year will be useful for you to decide what you want to do afterwards, it provides you more time to think about it. My plan is to graduate in Japanese history to become a researcher but it's a long winding road !
Kyrie, the test I uploaded is the exact test that Japanese Studies students took as far as I know. The one I took this year had the exact same format and the same difficulty. Japanese Studies students applying for the scholarship are just called researchers of Japanese language and culture by the Japanese Ministry of Education.
I also passed the written examination and now I'm waiting for the interview results. I think that there are only two of us who passed the written examination. And we were asked to bring the documents after we received the results.
Hi Alchie ! I'm glad you nailed it. How did you find the writing test regarding your level ? Which unis did you apply for ?
I found A and B to be quite easy. C was really hard, and I have no idea how many questions I got right for this section. We were around 8-10 persons who took the exam, and only two of us who passed it (only me and my colleague were invited to the interview it seems). I sat the interview today and I feel like I messed up some things and now I'm worried. Howerver the interviewers would just ask the question, hear the answer, and then ask the next question. They didn't seem interested in the details I guess. I'm dying to know the results.
I applied to Doshisha, Kyoto Daigaku and Nara University of Education (order of prefe rence). What about you?
As I told to someone else, it seems like the interview is just here to know you better, for the past years, I don't know people who have been rejected for the first screening just because of the interview. I already applied last year, completly messed up the interview, and got recommended anyway (but rejected during the second screening in late june). This year again, I messed up the interview but got recommended. I believe that once you nailed the writting test, you're likely to be recommended by your embassy. Concerning the universities I picked, I chose Osaka Daigaku, Doshisha and Ritsumeikan.
That's good to know. The interview seems like a formality to me as well, but you can never be too sure.
I read on the forums about last year. Let's hope that the same thing doesn't happen twice.
So you're also interested in studying in Kansai, awesome. My colleague also picked universities in Kansai (Kyoto Daigaku, Osaka Daigaku, Nara Kyoiku Daigaku) and we didn't talk about our university choices before (we're not that close, we've been basically strangers until we got selected after the exam).
Unfortunately, it seems that the more years are passing by, the less they offer scholarships, but yeah let's hope. What do you want to do when you graduate? (I mean, I feel like I'm the only one who picked the "mainly courses about civilization" choice, I don't know if it's a good thing, I kinda regret it now haha.)
I wish I could get a job related to Japanese but there aren't many job positions here in my home country. I'm also studying German at the moment and I'm thinking of finding a job there after I graduate. Who knows. What about you?
I am feeling better about the upcoming interview thanks to you guys ! Maybe it is just a formality after all.
Also I chose TUFS, Waseda and Doshisha. This week has been really hard for me because I needed to get all the necessary documents, but I am hoping for more details from you next week.
So in Poland they also ask you to bring the documents after you have passed the exam? I also think that's also a sign that the interview is no more than a formality. It's the same here.
I think that I should be getting the reply either today or next week.
Alchie: Oh cool, I used to study german too, a very interesting language. I hope you will be able to find a job there. I'd like to become a researcher in japan's history but in France there is almost no job positions for that (like 1 per year, or none during years and years, and when you get one, the salary and the situation is very insecure but still...)

Orapsag: Oh you finally picked Doshisha too ! Seems like everybody here picked it, that's cool.

I was wondering, do you guys know if they calculate GPA for the japanese studies scholarship? When I asked my teacher for a letter, she told me that considering my GPA (which is low, since my university is very elitist) it would be difficult for me to get the scholarship in the end, since as far as she knows, MEXT calculate it. But she was speaking about the Reseach Student scholarship, and was unable to tell me if they do the same for the Japanese Studies scholarship. Did you teachers tell you such a thing too?
No, they didn't tell me anything about having good grades, only to pass all the exams. I think that they are particularly interested in the grades you took that are related to the Japanese studies.
Some universities require you to have certain grades to be considered for an application. If they do it's stated in their requirements though.
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