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Competition for Japan Scholars

Applications for the next fellowship cycle are currently open. The Japan Scholar initiative is supported by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation to promote research on issues of mutual concern between Japan and the United States.

The Wilson Center’s Asia Program and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation’s Japan-U.S. Program are soliciting applications for their joint Japan Scholar Program based in Washington DC.

The fellowship is one of the most highly respected and competitive positions that promotes academic research on key areas of US-Japan relations.

Successful applicants will spend up to 12 months in residence at the Woodrow Wilson Center where they will carry out advanced, policy-oriented research and writing designed to bridge the gap between the academic and policy communities. The length of the Japan Scholar’s appointment will be determined according to his or her own needs and the Wilson Center’s available resources.

Recent Japan Scholars
Kei Koga, Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technological University (Incumbent Scholar)
Yuichiro Hanazawa, International Editor and Commentator, NHK (Term: 2021-2022)
Nobuhiro Aizawa, Associate Professor, Kyushu University (Term: 2019 - 2020)
Toshihiro Nakayama, Professor, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University (Term: 2018 - 2019)
Click Here to see the full list of Japan Scholars.

Responsibilities of Japan Scholars

While at the Wilson Center, Japan Scholars will be expected to carry out a full schedule of rigorous research and writing based on the topic outlined in the research proposal submitted at the time of application. They will also be expected to participate in workshops, seminars, and conferences organized by the Center's various programs including the Asia Program, and in other ways to participate in the intellectual life of the Wilson Center and the larger community of Asia observers in Washington. Japan Scholars are expected to publish their work in U.S., Japanese, or other overseas publications.

Period of Residence

The scholar can choose the period of residence from 6 month to 12 month as below.

  • April 2023 – September 2023
  • October 2023 – March 2024
  • April 2023 – March 2024
  • April 2023 – January 2024

Cost to be covered by the program

  • Round ticket airfare (up to $5,000)
  • Monthly stipend (approximately $6,000 per month) and healthcare cost (approximately $2,000 per month).1
  • COVID-19 related expenses (costs related to the regulations and/or requirements by governments, the Wilson Center, as well as SPF)


This competition is open to citizens or legal permanent residents of Japan. Applications will be accepted from individuals in academia, business, journalism, government, law, and related professions. Candidates must be currently pursuing research on key public policy issues facing Japan, including U.S.-Japanese relations and East Asian political, security, and economic issues.

Applicants must have the terminal degree in their field (for academics, this generally means a Ph.D., but for other professions other appropriate qualifications will be considered), and at least eight years of professional and/or research experience. Preferences will be given to applicants who have published scholarly books or substantial articles in academic or policy-related journals or newspapers.

Scholars must have a valid passport and will need to qualify for a U.S. J-1 visa. Although the Wilson Center cannot administer healthcare coverage or provide housing for visiting scholars, it will provide suggestions and guidance in finding suitable housing as well as healthcare. Scholars will be responsible for purchasing and administering their healthcare insurance during their stay in the United States.

Applicants must be professionally fluent in both written and spoken English.

Selection Criteria

  • significance of the proposed research, including the importance and originality of the project;
  • quality of the proposal in definition, organization, clarity and scope;
  • capabilities and achievements of the applicant; and
  • relevance of the project to contemporary policy issues pertaining to Japan.
  • willingness to participate in the broader Wilson Center community and contribute to intellectual exchange among scholars and resident experts,
  • ability to contribute to the exchange of ideas in Washington’s foreign policy community and beyond,
  • the two letters of recommendation - the names of the referees should be submitted together with the application document package. There is no need to submit the recommendation letters themselves with the application documents.
  • After the first round selection, the selection committee will request candidates contact referees to send their letters directly to the committee before the online interview test.

A panel of SPF and Wilson Center experts will have responsibility for reviewing all applications and making recommendations for appointment to the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and the Wilson Center leadership.

Selection Schedule

Selection will be made by document review as well as an online interview.

All dates are shown based on Japan Standard Time.

  • Application submission deadline: August 18th
  • Document selection result notification, announcement to the applicants who will be invited to the interview session: by mid-September.
  • Recommendation letter submission deadline: before the online interview date
  • Online Interview: Late September
  • Final result announcement: by September 30th
  • Detailed information will be provided to the candidates after application submission.

Primary Selection: Document Screening

The following documents must be submitted by August 18th. All documents must be written in English.

  • cover letter (Basic information including name, address, e-mail address, research theme, applying period of residence as Japan Scholar, name of referees, must be included.)
  • C.V. or resume
  • Research achievements
  • brief (3-5 single-spaced pages) description of their proposed research project, its scholarly contribution, and its policy relevance. Project descriptions should include:
    • detailed explanation of the research topic;
    • discussion of the project's originality;
    • discussion of the methods, approaches, sources, and materials to be used, and, where appropriate, the importance of Washington-area resources; and
    • discussion of the significance of the project as well as its relevance to contemporary Japan-related policy issues.

Application letters should be submitted via e-mail to the following address:


All applicants will be informed of the first step selection outcome by mid-September via e-mail.

Detailed information for the interview will be provided separately to the candidates.

Final Selection: Interview Screening

Prior to the interview, applicants should submit the two letters of recommendation from the person noted in the application, and be sent to the e-mail address below by the recommender before the online interview day. Recommendation letters should address the quality of the research proposal; the significance of the proposed research; the capabilities and achievements of the applicant; and the relevance of the project to contemporary Japan-related policy issues.

1The Wilson Center does not provide healthcare coverage for visiting fellows. It will instead offer a fixed monthly fee to cover healthcare insurance for the Japan Scholar to administer him/herself.


The online interview will be conducted in late September.

Applicants will be informed the final result of the selection by the end of September by e-mail.