Why Japan?

Why Japan?

With the glittering glory of Ivy League schools and the abundance of encouragements from Indonesian alumni, certainly those who are considering their futures would not be able to resist the attractiveness. From the teen drama to the well-received Obama, we are not capable to deny that we have a predilection to American culture – well, at least I did think they were cool. Thus, those who are considering for admission to universities might focus on US colleges. And now, why should you consider Japan instead?

Most of students would flinch when applying to Japanese universities because of the language barrier.  Why should you choose Japan, when there are so many good universities in English-speaking countries, either the US or nearer ones like Singapore and Australia? As a student here, I would like to propose some points that might make you reconsider Japan.


Every year, Japanese government provides full scholarships to undergraduates, college students and research students. Besides government scholarships, there are many full scholarships from private foundations to international associations. Even without getting scholarships ahead, there are quite a number of scholarships that could be applied for, after getting into the university. Japan is surprisingly supportive of education and most of the scholarships offered do not have any binding obligations. For more information on scholarships in Japan, you can check out this or this.

Leading research universities

Japanese national universities are known to be keen on research. Quartz watches, bullet trains and digital SLR cameras are some of the Japanese inventions, not to mention the winner of Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine in 2012, Shinya Yamanaka. While the number of well-known universities in Japan is smaller than that in the US, Japan has consistently placed leading universities globally. For reference, Tokyo University ranked 27th in Times World University Ranking 2012-13, and 9th for reputation in 2012-13.

Various multinational corporations

Japan offers a large numbers of big corporations, ranging from automobiles to engineering and construction. Besides that, after the Thai flood and recent belief of the Japanese economic revival, Japan will be likely to invest and expand more in Indonesia. Shinzo Abe, Japanese prime minister, stated, “Soon, Japan will export more, but it will import more as well…. The U.S. will be the first to benefit, followed by China, India, Indonesia and so on.” Indonesians who have studied in and understood the culture in Japan will considerably earn a head start in this future opportunity.

Three forte points discussed above are just some of the firm reasons that applicants need to contemplate in choosing Japan to study. While some universities in Japan now provide various programs in English, I would personally recommend studying in Japanese, as students will understand the culture through the language. For additional advice choosing university, note that universities here might either provide general admission, where students apply for intended department later in the year, or major-based admission. University’s homepage is the best source for admission, although information in English is often incomplete.

What makes studying in Japan a big difference is that instead of a sense of competition, the education system focuses more on the significance of cooperation. The different cultural values often surprise us, but also enrich our perspective. Choosing a place to study is nowadays more than mere ranks and numbers; finding the right one that sustains growth is essential. And in finding one, we need to look for options. I hope this piece of information may serve to broaden the range of your choices.

For further information regarding studying in Japan, check out JASSO Indonesia or JASSO international.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Karina Jayaputra is currently studying at the University of Tokyo. She is a sophomore majoring pharmaceutical sciences. She is pursuing her study in Japan under the Japanese Government Scholarship (MEXT).