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Competition for Japan Scholars

Accepting applications on a rolling basis for a minimum period of three months. 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 Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is seeking Japanese Scholars for the Wilson Center Japan Scholar Program. Successful applicants can spend up to one year in residence at the Woodrow Wilson Center, in the heart of Washington, D.C., 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. The minimum period of residence for the Japan Scholar program is three months.

The Japan Scholar Program is made possible by the generosity of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.


This competition is open to current 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 be able to hold a valid passport and J-1 visa and are required to have health insurance.

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

Benefits and Responsibilities of Japan Scholars

This is a residential scholarship. Scholars will be provided a monthly stipend and health insurance expenses, and office or library carrel space available 24 hours a day. In addition, scholars will be provided with a part-time research assistant when feasible and Windows-based personal computers. The Wilson Center Library provides access to digital resources, its book and journal collections, and to the Library of Congress, university and special libraries in the area, and other research facilities.

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 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. There is an expectation that Japan Scholars will attempt to publish their work in U.S., Japanese, or other overseas publications.

Although scholars are responsible for locating their own housing in the Washington, D.C. area, the Center provides written material to help facilitate the search process.

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.

A panel of experts will have responsibility for reviewing all applications and making recommendations for appointment to the Wilson Center's president.

Procedures and Deadline for Applications

Applications for Scholars seeking appointment are welcome at any time, although preferred times for starting an appointment are the beginning of September or April. Applicants should specify the precise time period for which they seek appointment, and should submit all application materials at least 6 months (8-9 months is preferable) prior to the time they wish to take up residence at the Center. Under normal circumstances, applicants will be informed of the disposition of their application within 90 days of the Center receiving the completed application and supporting letters of recommendation.

The Application

All applications must be completed online.  A complete application must be submitted in English, and will include the following:

  • the Japan Scholar Application form, submitted online
  • a brief (3-5 single-spaced pages) description of their proposed research project, its scholarly contribution, and its policy relevance. Project descriptions should include a 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
  • a CV or resume
  • two letters of recommendation, to be emailed separately to 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.

Thank you for your interest.

Further inquiries regarding the fellowship and application process should be addressed to:

Applications are taken on a rolling basis.

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Japan Scholar Application Form

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