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 £15,000.

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 eleventh year (October 2024 – September 2025) are now open.

Studentships have been awarded to the following institutions: Arts University Bournemouth, Birkbeck (University of London), University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Durham University, University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, 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 Central Lancashire, University of East Anglia, University of Warwick, University of West London, and University of York.

Alumni Event

Following an online event for new Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship recipients in November 2021, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation hosted the first in-person Studentship event since November 2019. The afternoon event, held on Thursday 24th February, was hosted by the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) in Norwich, and offered current Studentship holders a chance to meet and network with each other and hear presentations from Studentship alumni.

After a welcome from Prof Simon Kaner, SISJAC Executive Director and Director of the Centre for Japanese Studies at University of East Anglia, GBSF Chief Executive Jenny White offered opening remarks on how such gatherings are an essential part to the continuing development of the study of Japan, breaking down boundaries and exchanging ideas with fellow researchers. There then followed presentations by Studentship alumni: Max Warrack (Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick), Dr Nick Bradley (Author of ‘The Cat and the City’ and Teaching Associate in Creative Writing, University of Cambridge), Dr Christopher J. Hayes (Lecturer in Tourism and Events, Teesside University, and GBSF Alumni Coordinator), and Dr Mareike Hamann (Co-Director of the Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Central Lancashire).

The afternoon concluded with breakout rooms for free discussion and group networking, with students discussing their route to Japanese studies, their current areas of interest, and issues they have faced with their research during the pandemic. There then followed a reception hosted by the Centre for Japanese Studies at the Sainsbury Centre, with a welcome speech from Pro-Vice Chancellor for Arts and Humanities, Professor Sarah Barrow. The following day, many attendees joined the British Association of Japanese Studies (BAJS) / the Japan Foundation Postgraduate Workshop at the University of East Anglia, with the GBSF team also in attendance to offer details of our funding opportunities. The day concluded with a speech from Ambassador Hajime Hayashi, and a sake reception.

Our thanks to SISJAC for hosting our event, and to the Nippon Foundation for funding the Studentship programme and supporting the event.