The Sasakawa Japanese Studies Postgraduate Studentship Programme

The Sasakawa Japanese Studies Postgraduate Studentship Programme, supports the development of Japanese Studies in the UK. Launched and administered by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and fully funded by The Nippon Foundation, the Programme provides up to 30 postgraduate studentships annually, each worth £10,000.

The programme builds on The Nippon Foundation funded Sasakawa Lectureship Programme that was administered by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation between 2008 and 2013 and provided for 13 full-time lectureships in Japanese studies at 12 UK universities.

The Sasakawa Japanese Studies Postgraduate Studentship Programme, our second initiative in support of Japanese studies, is making a real difference at a time when financial provision for the study of Japan is scarce. It is providing crucial encouragement and support to our brightest and most promising postgraduates – our future Japan specialists.

Grants under the programme are providing support in the form of studentships to existing and emerging departments or programmes within those UK universities and institutes of higher education that are involved in the teaching and study of Japan/Japanese. They are enabling these institutions to offer the studentships to postgraduates engaged in the study of Japan at a time when studentship provision, specifically for the study of Japan, is restricted.

Application Procedure

Individuals may not apply directly to the Foundation as the application procedure is only through nomination by institutions e.g. UK universities and institutes of higher education. Those institutions interested in applying should in the first instance contact the Foundation’s London Office for further information and to confirm their eligibility. Applications for the Programme’s sixth year (October 2019 – September 2020) are to be submitted by 31st March 2019.

Studentships have been awarded to the following institutions: Birkbeck (University of London), University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, Durham University, University of Edinburgh, King’s College London, University of Leeds, London School of Economics, University of Manchester, Newcastle University, University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, University of Sheffield, SOAS (University of London), University of St Andrews, University College London, University of East Anglia, University of Warwick, and University of York.

Alumni Event

Forty-nine recipients of awards in the first four years of the Sasakawa Studentship Programme gathered at SOAS in London for the day on 10th November 2017. The occasion was intended as a networking event, bringing together scholars working in many different aspects of Japanese Studies for a day of presentations, feedback sessions and panel discussions. Thirty-six participants – at different stages of research – opted to give presentations on their research topics. They were divided into two groups, loosely formed around arts and humanities subjects in one and social sciences in the other, with feedback provided in groups and to individuals by Dr Gitte Hansen (Newcastle), Dr Christopher Hood (Cardiff), Prof. Janet Hunter (LSE), Dr Helen Macnaughtan (SOAS), Dr Peter Matanle (Sheffield) and Dr Louella Matsunaga (Oxford Brookes), all of whom gave generously of their time to attend the day’s proceedings.

Later in the day a panel of past Sasakawa Studentship holders spoke of their experiences and career paths since receiving their awards and this was followed by a panel session on publishing in journals, led by Elizabeth Walker, Publisher, Area Studies at Routledge (Taylor & Francis) with additional comments from Dr Helen Macnaughtan, Dr Peter Matanle and Prof. Andrew Gerstle.

Dr Christopher Hood of the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS) and Polly Watson of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) rounded off the day by outlining their activities and programmes relevant to postgraduates.

The day concluded with a reception at which participants and representatives of the universities who had benefited from the studentship programme were joined by colleagues from the Japanese Embassy, the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS), the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the Japan Foundation. Mr Tatsuya Tanami, Special Adviser to the Nippon Foundation, sponsors of the programme and the Lectureship programme which preceded it, was present throughout the day. Speaking at the reception, he said that he had been highly impressed by the range and quality of presentations and by the “amazingly global” composition of the scholars in terms of nationalities. He hoped that the Sasakawa scholars would become chinichika: critical friends. Japan needed such friends, he said, “in order to be a member of the global community sharing common values”.

Scholars attending commented that they found the day both enjoyable and useful and they looked forward to staying in touch.

Universities represented were: Birkbeck (London), Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, King’s College London, Leeds, LSE, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Oxford Brookes, Sheffield, SOAS, St Andrews, University College London, East Anglia, Warwick, and York.