I noticed that the Japanese universities almost never advertise for open PhD student positions on the websites such as phdportal.com or academicpositions.com or researchgate.

I tried to check some Japanese websites, but they assume that the visitor knows the Japanese language, which is not my case.

However I really want to see how are the opportunities in this beautiful country.

Maybe I should search on more websites, than the ones I mentioned at the beginning?

  • 3
    to my knowledge they are very restrictive concerning outsiders, not only in academia...best options i know are scholarships they have arranged with other countries. Wondering if they are also so restrictive concerning post-docs. But without speaking Japanese you will have a hard time doing PhD there, the english of most japanese PhD students I met at conferences is significantly below average. On the other side some of the best robotics journals worldwide are in Japanese. I think you can say it's a bit of a strange place without offending Japan, I find the culture also very interesting... Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 21:39
  • Technically, any lab that is willing to take a student can have an opening. No real restrictions there. Financial support is a different question, but most of those are coming from outside (ie once one is interested in the position, apply for a scholarship). Research grants generally do not cover graduate students' salaries. So not much sense to advertise specific Ph.D. positions.
    – Greg
    Commented Apr 21, 2021 at 4:37

1 Answer 1


The best option if you can get accepted is through a MEXT scolarship. Usually, the application process is detailed on the website of the Japanese embassy of your country. Of course there are other scholarships but this one is the most advantageous.

If you can self-finance, you may want to try to enroll as a "Kenkyusei" (research student) for 1/2 years. Being a kenkyusei allows you to do some research under the supervision of a professor (ideally the one who would advise you as a Phd), taking Japanese classes and more broadly getting adjusted to your new environment while preparing for the university's Phd entrance exam. The application process for kenkyusei should be detailed on universitys' website.

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