Japan Alumni eNews (Vol.95)

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 95 March 10th, 2017

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 95

1. Life in Japan by Photo Memories of Japan (Photo from readers)

Learn the life in Japan with photos posted by our readers! We look forward to your submissions of memorable photos of your experiences in Japan, including your student life, exposure to Japanese culture and history, travel, and more.

1 Photo title (15 words or less)
2 Name (katakana and alphabet)
3 Nationality
4 Name of your school in Japan

Landscape of study abroad location

The theme of the March issue is Life in Japan by Photo introduces Memories of Japan. (Honorific title is omitted.)


Zhizhang Yang(China)
Nakanihon Automotive College
Title: How Beautiful Mt.Fuji

2. Alumni News

Bringing you news and first-hand stories about international students!

1) News on International Students

NEWS 1 : Foreign Workers in Japan Hit 1 Million For the First Time

The number of foreign workers in Japan reached 1,083,769 at the end of October 2016 and hit the 1 million for the first time according to the statistics of Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. It is up by 19.4 percent from the previous year and the highest for fourth straight years. By nationality, the largest number of Chinese workers are 344,658 (31.8%), followed by Vietnamese workers, 172,018 (15.9%); and Filipino workers, 127,518 (11.8%).

NEWS 2 : The Number of Foreign Visitors to Japan in 2016 Reaches Over 24 Million

Foreign tourists in 2016 reached over 24 million, an estimated rise of 22 percent from the same period last year and a record-high for four straight years. The number of tourists from Southeast Asian nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam are growing. There is also a continuing increase of the number of visitors from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The Japanese government aims to boost annual foreign arrivals to “40 million by 2020.”

2) Introduction of Current International Students

Mirza Bedawi

Name: Mirza Bedawi
Nationality: Dutch
University in Japan: Soka University
Major: Faculty of Law, Department of Law
Academic Year: 2nd year
Period of Stay in Japan: From April 2015 to present
Japanese proficiency level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1

I have studied the Japanese language since high school because I am very interested in its culture. After two years of learning Japanese on my own, I passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1. I wanted to live in Japan and with this level of Japanese I thought I could go to a Japanese university. So I did.

Before I came to Japan, I was anxious whether the Japanese society would accept me since I’m a foreigner. But Japanese people are kinder than I had thought. It’s a relief that there are many warm people. In Japan, you can walk safely at night; the streets are clean and there is not much garbage. I am impressed with how the Japanese maintains public safety well. Also, public transportation is convenient because of its few delays. I think Japan is very convenient and easy to live.

Now, I belong to the Faculty of Law, Department of Law of Soka University. I took the Legal Profession course when I was in second year. This course is for students who want to be legal professional. Currently, I am studying the basic subjects of Legal Studies such as Constitution, Civil Code, and Criminal Code. I am working on the challenges of the actual application of laws and legal institutions through the study of the judicial precedent.

The most unforgettable memory I have of Japan is that when my friend invited me to stay over when I decided not to return home during my winter break. I spent the New Year at my friend’s place and made so many good memories. I’m so touched by the kindness of the Japanese people.

My future dream is to pass the bar examination and be a lawyer. The Japanese bar exam is difficult; studying proved to be daunting but I will persevere. By becoming a lawyer and playing an active role in Japan, I would like to contribute to establishing justice and make a better Japan.

My advice for those people who wants to study in Japan is to spend less time with other international students. Your Japanese will get better and you can assimilate Japanese culture faster by involving yourself with Japanese people actively. Japan has a unique culture so probably a lot of things are not the same with your native country but you have to make an effort to understand the Japanese culture.

3) List of Japan Alumni Associations

Introduction of “Support for International Students Returning Home”

Chinese Alumni Association of Kumamoto University is established

On November 26, 2016, the Chinese Alumni Association of Kumamoto University was established in Shanghai, China by former Chinese students of Kumamoto University. An association of Kumamoto University alumni had already been established also in Shanghai, China in 2003 but members were only alumni of the Engineering faculty. This time, graduate students from every department gathered and launched a new organization to provide alumni more active roles in the years ahead.

Over 70 people attended the event from all over China, mainly from Shanghai. People who came to join the event included Chinese alumni, Japanese alumni, people from partner universities of Kumamoto University and Chinese government officials, Kumamoto prefecture and Kumamoto city officials, students of Kumamoto University who are currently studying in China, and the president of Kumamoto University.

From now on, the new alumni association takes the lead in making a fulfilling network of Kumamoto University in China and is expected to foster development on global exchanges between Kumamoto and China.

(In Japanese Only)

3. Academic News

Introducing scholarships, grants, unique activities at particular universities, and more!

1) Introduction of Faculties/Graduate Schools

Here we introduce you to particular faculties and graduate schools at Japanese universities.

Prefectural university of Hiroshima

Prefectural university of Hiroshima

University Profile (as of January 2017)
Name: Prefectural university of Hiroshima
Hiroshima Campus: 1-1-71 Ujina-Higashi, Minami-ku, Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Pref
Shobara Campus: 562 Nanatsuka-cho, Shobara City, Hiroshima Pref
Mihara Campus: 1-1 Gakuen-cho, Mihara City, Hiroshima Pref
Number of students: 2,479 (Undergraduate), 195 (Graduate)
International students: 42 (Undergraduate), 37 (Graduate)
* Include exchange students and research students.

1. About Prefectural university of Hiroshima

Prefectural university of Hiroshima (PUH) has a long history, and has been well known for its excellence in both education and research. PUH consists of four faculties (with eleven departments) and 2 graduate schools (5 programs) located on three campuses (Hiroshima City, Shobara city, Mihara city) and we strive to be a university deeply rooted in the local community and highly trusted by local residents, which promotes education, research and contributions to society. We also actively engage in international exchange. Our goal is to cultivate sophisticated individuals who can think and act on their initiative, and play an important role in the world with practical abilities. We provide well-balanced educational content with systematic curriculums consisting of general education subjects and major subjects, actualized through small classes and detailed instruction.

2. Outline and Features of Distinctive Courses

We have three campus in Hiroshima Prefecture and there are four Faculties, one Graduate School and one Professional Graduate School.

3. Scholarships and Living Support for International Student

  • We have a system to deduct half of the tuition for students who face financial difficulties.
  • International students can apply for scholarships sponsored by various kind of funds and organizations (eg JASSO), through the university.
  • In Shobara Campus, we have dorms for students and can live basically only for a year. In other campus (Hiroshima and Mihara), we support them to search apartments for international students (Apartment near each campus or Hiroshima City International House).

4. Career and Other Support for International Students

  • Japanese lessons: For those who are non Japanese-native students, we provide Japanese language lessons by full time lecturers. (Japanese lesson 1 to 5, Advanced Japanese, Debate Presentation)
  • International Exchange Events at university: We provide a one-day tour which designed to help international students learn about Hiroshima with other participants - Japanese students and teachers (Hiroshima Study Tour). We also hold Welcome and Farewell party for international students so that all students and teachers can exchange each other through these kinds of events.
  • Buddy students: Japanese students and senior international students help new international students to settle into new life in Japan as buddy students. They also provide international events which international students can learn about Japanese culture.

2) Application Information for Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Prizes, etc.


Name of Program:
Grant for Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research in Humanities and Social Sciences 2017

Application Eligibility:
(1) Research must be carried out by an interdisciplinary research group.
* Individual research and research conducted by one organization or institution will not be accepted.
(2) Regardless of nationality and affiliation, group representative must have adequate Japanese skills for application and participation in academic discussions.
(3) Research should be of great importance to society and the academe.
(4) Plan and budget of research should be concrete and highly feasible. Completed research will not be accepted.
(5) Application for the foundation’s other research grant “Grant for Collaborative Research on Community Cultural Activities” at the same time will not be accepted.

The Suntory Foundation was established in 1979 to address the demand of the new era for a propulsive research activity and deliver the fruits of research to the world. This grant is aimed at promoting group-based research projects of high international/interdisciplinary significance in the fields of humanities and social sciences.

How to apply:
Get grant application form through either of the following.
(1) Website
Download application form from the website of Suntory Foundation below.

(In Japanese only)
(2) Mail
Send a reply envelope with your name and address on it to the address below. Then, we will send you an application form.

Grant amount and terms:
(1) Grant amount
JPY 500,000 – JPY 3,000,000 per grant
*Amount of each grant will be based on the research content.
(2) Terms of grant
One year from August 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018

Application deadline:
Monday, April 10, 2017 (postmarked)

Address and Contact Number:
Research Grant Section
9th Floor, Suntory Annex, 2-1-5 Doujima, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 530-8204, Japan
TEL: 06-6342-6221
FAX: 06-6342-6220
E-mail: sfnd@suntory-foundation.or.jp

Fuji Sankei Business i

Name of Program:
The 31st Advanced Technology Award for Encouraging Creativity

Application Eligibility:
[Adult category]
Researchers and engineers (40 years of age or below) who are part of a company research team or business-academia collaboration and whose research outcome were presented in 2016. Research may be a technical paper or new product which can be of practical use in the near future. (Foreign researchers who live in Japan are welcome to apply.)
[Student category]
Group of undergraduate and graduate students from national, public, and private universities or technological colleges. International students are also eligible for application.

Fuji Sankei Business i established the “Commendation System of Student Research Paper on Advanced Technology” in 1986 for the purpose of nurturing originality and creativity of science and engineering students and motivating research. To build a nation that fosters creations in the field of science and technology, it is necessary to promote industry-academia-government collaborations and raise young engineers. Hence on its 16th year, the program’s name was changed to “Advanced Technology Award for Encouraging Creativity” and has continued to honor young researchers and engineers since then.

Disciplines and themes (Choose one discipline below. Theme is free.):
A: Electronics · Information
B: Biology · Healthcare, Medicine, Food
C: Materials
D: Environment · Energy
E: Mechanical Engineering · Civil Engineering · Architecture
F: Science
G: Non-specialized fields. Interdisciplinary themes included in A-F.

Content (Choose either of the following.):
[Technical paper]
Unpublished research papers on science & technology written in Japanese that exhibits originality and creativity for future dream. Characters should be 8,000 or less. (Partially published in academic journal will be accepted but name of the journal where it was published must be indicated. Graphic chart/s and acknowledgment are not included in the character count.)
[New product]
Technical content must be 5,000 characters or less. Application in news release or catalog format will not be accepted.

How to apply:
Send the following documents by mail.
1. Research paper and résumé
2. Application form
Download the application form from the link below and fill out.

(In Japanese only)
3. Data
Original data (Word, Text format) of the research paper and application form plus PDF file of the original data
4. CD-R, etc.
Soft copy of 1-3

Application deadline:
March 31, 2017

Fuji Sankei Business i
Office of Advanced Technology Award for Encouraging Creativity
1-7-2 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-8125
TEL: 03-3273-6102
FAX: 03-3241-4999
E-mail: sentan@sankei.co.jp

(In Japanese Only)

3) Information about International Symposium

International Symposium on Space Technology and Science (ISTS)

This symposium is the largest international conference on space in Japan. The event features not only publications of research findings by space researchers and engineers around the world, but also an “Exhibition of International Aerospace” and “Talk Event” in which the general public can join.

Date: Saturday, June 3, 2017 - Friday, June 9, 2017
Place: Himegin Hall (2-5-1 Dogomachi, Matsuyama, Ehime)

4) Academic Societies

<Literature, Philosophy, Education, Psychology, Sociology, History>

<Law, Politics>

<Economics, Commercial Science, Management>




<Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences>

5) Japanese Language Tests

4.Business News

JASSO provides information about job-search for both current and graduate international students!

1) Job Hunting Event Information

The Program for Advancement of Foreign Human Resources is being launched from 2015, as a collaborative effort of related government ministries and agencies, and other relevant organizations. The Program seeks to increase employment of international students in Japan, and hence increase the number of highly skilled international professionals in the future, following the recent trend in policy that includes the 2014 revision of “Japan Revitalization Strategy – Japan is Back” (approved by the Cabinet on June 24th, 2014). The ultimate aim is to vitalize the Japanese economy further and enhance Japan’s presence in the global economy.
Through seminars, events and other activities, the Program will strengthen the system of connecting international students and other foreign nationals looking for employment in Japan, with companies in Japan looking to recruit international employees.

Events for International Student

Useful Web Site for International Students

2) Job Hunting Report

Lin Seishi

Name : Lin Seishi
Nationality : Chinese
University in Japan : Graduate School of University of Tsukuba
Major : Master’s Program in Area Studies, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Period of study in Japan : From September 2012 to March 2014
Name of company : Works Applications Co., Ltd.
Japanese proficiency level : Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1

I chose Japan to study so I could watch Japanese dramas and see the country’s landscape and culture. In China, information of Japan is limited. So I wanted to visit Japan to study Japanese and communicate with Japanese people and to know Japan firsthand.

I decided to work in Japan because I wanted to work with Japanese people who show seriousness in their work and to learn the management system of a Japanese company. In an international work environment, I expect mutual encouragement and motivation between Japanese colleagues. I also particularly like the advertising and art industries because of their unique Japanese aspect and its globally progressive attribute.

The reason why I chose to work at Works Applications Co., Ltd. is that I agree with the company’s philosophy, which emphasizes rethinking of the meaning of work and changing “work” to “play.” There is a philosophy of “why” that permeates through the company and I think this helps in improving one’s ability to solve problems and develop the way of thinking. For me, the company culture is connected to the growth of individuals. What I also found appealing about this company is that it provided training programs such as studying English overseas as well as opportunities to work with employees from its foreign office when I entered the company.

One effective way of job-hunting about research industry and company is gathering correct information by searching selected key words on the internet after checking out a company’s management coverage, news, and financial statements. Also, it is necessary to check not only the company but also the conditions of the industry and its rival company’s actions.

In the entry sheet, I wrote down concisely my experiences that show my strengths the most then explained them in details during the interview. I find it effective to use the same content for multiple companies but you have to check the company’s philosophy in its recruitment website and news interviews of the president or workers. Then choose the words the company especially uses. I think that would make it easy for the recruitment staff to understand the values you have.

Job hunting is just the beginning of work, so keep in mind your purpose of taking a job in Japan. It is important by preparing yourself as you go through your daily and academic life and have patience for the hard work in the future.

3) Job Hunting Information Article

Prepare for an interview

In March, companies start announcing about their recruitment activities. It is the season when job hunting activity is getting serious. Recruitment website becomes active and company information sessions, writing tests, and handing of entry sheet starts after the other. Actual start of selection process is in June but you have to prepare for an interview beforehand.

The interview takes place after passing the application screening such as the entry sheet and writing tests. Basically, companies conduct interviews three times and at each interview, there will be different interviewers. During the third (last) interview, there are many cases that the president of the company and executives will be the interviewers. There are two types of interviews - one is individual interview and second is the group interview.

Basically, the course of the interview will be based on the content of the applicant’s entry sheet. You have to remember what you had written in your entry sheet before the interview and to practice. At the interview, the interviewer will ask you questions based on your entry sheet to know who you are, what you have done, and what strengths you have. It would be convenient for you to organize the contents of your entry sheet such as background and circumstances of your accounts, what specific activities you undertook, and what have resulted from them so you can answer whatever you will be asked. It is also good for you to ask your teacher or friend to act as an interviewer and practice. Many people get nervous on the interview but usually the reason for this is lack of preparation. Practice before the interview and so you’ll get used to it and be ready to take the real one.

5. Visit Japan

Kagawa prefecture

Have you been travelling around Japan? In this section, we bring you information about sights, events, and foods from all over the country! The March edition looks at Kagawa Prefecture.

Honen-ike Dam

Honen-ike Dam
It is the Japanese oldest stone masonry style multiple-arch dam which was completely constructed in 1930. There are only two stone masonry styled multiple-arch dams in Japan; the other one is the Okura Dam in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. It is an important cultural property for its architectural history. It has withstood wind and rain over many years and matches with the surrounding mountainous scenery. It has a patina that makes you think of a medieval castle in Europe.

Ritsurin Garden

Ritsurin Garden
Ritsurin Garden is located in the central part of Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture. It received the national designation of Special Place of Scenic Beauty and has been rated with three Michelin stars in recent years. It has a high reputation not only in Japan but also overseas. This garden covers 750,000 square meters and is the largest among the 36 Special Places of Scenic Beauty all over Japan. It is divided into the Japanese-style south garden with over 300 years of history and the Western-style north garden which was groomed after the Meiji Era.

Udon (thick white noodles)

Udon (thick white noodles)
Udon is the most famous food in Kagawa Prefecture where it holds the no. 1 per-capita consumption in Japan. Udon restaurants in Kagawa is not a typical restaurant wherein you just order according to the menu. They are self-service type wherein as you enter, you order noodles with the amount of you like, warm noodles with boiled water, take the toppings you like such as tempura (deep fry) or rice ball, then pay at the register. Also, in Takamatsu Airport, there is an “udon-dashi (soup)” served from a tap and which you can enjoy with a provided cup.

Marugame-uchiwa (round fan)

Marugame-uchiwa (round fan)
The technique of Marugame-uchiwa is considered to have adopted in early Edo Period. Later, it became souvenir from a visit to the Konpira-jinja (shrine). In Edo Period, it was developed as a “side job of the samurai” and as a local industry of Marugame after Meiji Era. Marugame-uchiwa usually has a flat handle made from a cut and whittled bamboo. Also its special feature is that its handle and frame is made from a single piece of bamboo. Current production is one hundred million. Marugame is the top producer where 90% of uchiwa in Japan are made.

Marugame Basara Festival

Marugame Basara Festival
It is thought that the free and bold spirit of the people who gathered in this festival brings vigor to the center of Marugame; this lively spirit then is spread across all parts of the country. Festival attractions are the energetic dance performance called “Basara Dance Fuki” and the Basara fireworks in the summer night skies.

6. NIPPON Information

This section features enjoyable stories about pop culture, traditions, dining, cutting-edge technology, and more!

1) NIPPON Time Machine

Vernal Equinox Day

Vernal Equinox Day
In Japan, the Vernal Equinox Day is a public holiday that usually occurs around March 21. It is “the day of giving praise to the nature and cherishing the natural life forms.” The vernal equinox is the moment when the sun reaches the vernal point which is 0° ecliptic longitude. The sun rises due east and sets due west so the length of daytime and night is almost same. From this day until the summer solstice (June 21), daytime gets longer while nighttime gets shorter. People of ancient days used to believe that this day is for celebrating spring and thanking the nature. It is a season to feel the coming of spring—life forms start to get moving after the harsh winter, people are fully motivated, and plants begin to grow. The seven days that include the three days before and after the vernal equinox make up the “equinoctial week.” During this week, the Japanese visit their family grave and eat rice cake covered with bean jam. It is said that the red color of azuki beans is a protection from bad luck. The custom is believed to have started among ordinary folks during the Edo Period by associating their belief in removing bad vibes with their commemoration of their ancestors.

2) Lifestyle Information

Hakama (traditional Japanese skirt)

Hakama (traditional Japanese skirt)
Late March is the season of university graduation. At this time, you will see women wearing hakama in many places. It became common that women wear hakama after Meiji Era (1868–1912). From Meiji Era to Taisho Era (1912–1926), female teachers started to wear hakama. Later became the uniform of female students until the early Showa Era. During this period, the percentage of girls who advanced to junior high and high schools was low so girls who went there were considered as privileged class. The hakama was a symbol of social class as a female student and longed by many women. As the Japanese culture and American culture intertwined during the Meiji Era, hakama worn with big hair ribbon and lace-up boots became the mode. As the Western culture continued to advance into Japan, modern clothing became popular. Women wearing hakama decreased but thanks to anime and the graduation ceremony of Takarazuka Revue, an all-female group of musical theater performers, many became interested to wear hakama at their graduation ceremony. The formal wear for Japanese woman is kimono but a trend emerged where women wore hakama with lace-up boots as they took a more active participation in society. One probable reason why people wear hakama on big events like graduation ceremony is that it signifies a new phase of life and motivates one to go forward actively.

7. JASSO News

Information about JASSO Scholarship programs, invitation program, Japan Education Fairs, and the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU).

1) Schedule, etc. for 2017 Japan Education Fairs

JASSO holds Japan Education Fairs overseas to provide information to high school students, university students and other individuals who are interested in studying in Japan. We also attend and cooperate to the events and seminars sponsored by other organizations.

2) Information about the “Student Guide to Japan”

For all those considering studying in Japan, we recommend you to read the “Student Guide to Japan” first.
In addition to information on the Japanese education system, scholarships, and daily life in Japan, the guidebook also includes stories on experience of international students in Japan.
You can read the guidebook on the JASSO website, so we encourage not only those who are considering studying in Japan, but also students already studying in Japan to take a look.

You can read in 14 languages such as Japanese, English, Chinese (Simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese), Korean, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, Myanmar language and Bengali, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, French, German, Mongolian, and Portuguese.

3) Official Facebook Pages of JASSO and Overseas Representative Offices

We also provide the latest information on studying in Japan on our official Facebook pages. Check them out!

4) Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)

5) JASSO Scholarship Programs

6) Web Magazine “Ryugakukoryu”

The March 2017 issue will be published on March 10th. Please make sure to read it!

7) Follow-up Research Fellowship (Invitation Program)

This program provides former international students who play active roles in education, research and government in their home countries to conduct short term research at universities in Japan.

8) Follow-up Research Guidance (Dispatching research advisors)

This program provides Japanese academic advisors with an opportunity to visit and to help further research of former international students who are teaching and/or researching at universities or research institutes in their home countries.

8. From the Editor

How did you find the March edition of Japan Alumni eNews?
It is getting warm gradually in March. In Japan, March is a season for saying goodbyes such as graduation ceremony. We mentioned on the Lifestyle Information Corner that in late March you will see more women wearing hakama in trains or stations because of the university graduation ceremonies. It makes you feel that spring is finally coming. Once the season of goodbyes is done, the month of April which is the season to say hello is coming. Do you know any sign that makes you feel Japanese spring is coming?

Japan Alumni eNews Editorial Desk is looking for someone who can share their job searching experiences. We also welcome pictures from your life abroad as an exchange student and your comments for our email magazine. Our next issue of “Japan Alumni eNews” will be distributed on April 10th. Don’t miss it!

  • Information in this issue may change without notice. Please visit their web sites for latest information.
Follow-up Services Unit, International Scholarship Division, Student Exchange Department Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO)
  • Address 2-2-1 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-8630 JAPAN
  • TEL +81-3-5520-6030
  • FAX +81-3-5520-6031
  • E-mail alumni-newsletter at mark jasso.go.jp
  • Please convert "at mark" to @ when you send an e-mail to us.