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 ninth year (October 2022 – September 2023) are now closed.

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

Alumni Event

Forty-four current and former recipients of Sasakawa Japanese Studies Postgraduate Studentships gathered at SOAS in London for the second biennial Sasakawa Studentship Day on 8th November 2019. The occasion was intended as a networking event, bringing together scholars working in different aspects of Japanese Studies for a day of presentations, feedback sessions and panel discussions. Many participants – at different stages of their research – gave presentations on their research topics. with feedback provided by Dr Erica Baffelli (Manchester), Dr Marcos Centeno (Birkbeck), Prof. Janet Hunter (LSE), Dr Helen Macnaughtan (SOAS) and Dr Peter Matanle (Sheffield), all of whom gave generously of their time to attend the day’s proceedings. A number of alumni also spoke of their experiences and career paths since receiving their awards.

The day’s programme also included advice sessions and panel discussions on publishing theses and articles, and presentations by the Japan Foundation, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the Japanese Embassy and the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS) on support for postgraduate study of Japan and further funding opportunities.

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 JSPS and the Japan Foundation. Minister Takeshi Ito from the Embassy of Japan spoke of the importance of the programme in fostering greater understanding of Japan in the UK. It was by increasing mutual understanding and appreciation of each other’s cultures and societies, he said, that we could contribute to wider efforts towards promoting world peace.

One of our guest speakers said of the event: “events like this are such fantastic opportunities for networking (which in itself is such a crucial part of the PhD experience) and I was really impressed to see so many enthusiastic students at the event this time…. it was really nice to see such an atmosphere of positivity across the whole event, from the feedback to the talks and networking…. it really did feel like opportunity was the key theme!

Current studentship holders from the following universities attended: Birkbeck (London), Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, King’s College London, Leeds, LSE, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Sheffield, SOAS (London), East Anglia, Warwick, and York.