JAGAM

Institutes Providing Japanese-Language Education

Institutes Providing Japanese-Language Education

1.Types and numbers

Higher educational institutions in Japan, in principle, conduct all their classes in the Japanese language with only a few offering classes in English (Refer to Chapter 5, 4.) It is extremely important, therefore, that international students wishing to study in Japan have an adequate knowledge of the Japanese language. For this reason many international students study the language in Japan for six months to two years before applying to higher educational institutions for admission.

1. Types and numbers
There are two types of Japanese-language institutes that provide Japanese-language education designed for international students who wish to enter Japanese higher educational institutions. There are 58 schools operated by private universities and 373 schools accredited by the Association for the Promotion of Japanese Language Education, as of February 2003.

Students who have only completed 10 or 11 years of education after completing their primary and secondary education (e.g. in Malaysia, the Philippines) are eligible for university entrance qualification if they have completed the “course of preliminary study for university entrance” designated by Monbukagakusho: MEXT. (Offered by 17 schools; see (3) Course of preliminary study for university entrance and Chapter 15.)

(1) Preparatory Japanese-language programs at private universities
Preparatory Japanese-language programs at private universities for international students in Japan are regular courses offered by private universities, defined by law (the School Education Law) as a part of university education. The duration of the courses is not more than one year. These courses have been established for international students who wish to study the Japanese-language, the culture and society in Japan, or basic subjects to prepare for entrance examinations to enter a university undergraduate course. International students who wish to go on to higher education may either proceed to the same university, or other universities.
Students in these courses have the advantage of facilities, such as part-time work, accommodation, welfare programs, such as medical fee subsidies, as they are eligible to acquire the status of residence as “college student.”

(2) Private Japanese-language institutes
Private Japanese-language institutes include various establishing bodies such as school juridical people, juridical people provided for by the civil law, joint-stock corporations, private organizations neither controlled nor protected by law, and individuals. As for their status under the law, some institutes are authorized as specialized training colleges (senshu-gakko) or miscellaneous schools (kakushu-gakko). In addition to Japanese courses, some of these institutes offer preparatory courses in subjects tested in university entrance examinations, private tuition and short courses, in duration ranging from several weeks to several months.Preparatory courses for university entrance may range in length from half a year to two years. Number of hours and availability of accommodation vary depending on the institute.

Students are granted a status of residence of either (1) “college student”, if taking a postsecondary course at specialized training colleges; or (2) “pre-college student”, if taking other courses, for example at miscellaneous schools.
Courses are available for students with less than 12 years of primary and secondary education in their home countries. (Refer to (3) Course of preliminary study for university entrance.)

(3) Course of preliminary study for university entrance
To be admitted to a higher educational institution in Japan, students should have completed 12 years of primary and secondary education. Students who have only 10 or 11 years of education after completing their secondary education (e.g. in Malaysia, the Philippines) should either
(1) attend a higher educational institution in their home country for one or two years to complete the required 12 years of education; or
(2) come to Japan after completing their secondary education in their home countries to take a one-year course of preliminary study endorsed by the Monbukagakusho (offered by 17 schools; See Chapter 15). Students are advised not to seek university entrance status from institutions whose preliminary study courses are not endorsed by Monbukagakusho. The status of residence for international students of preliminary study for university entrance will be “college student.”

*According to the survey conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Justice in the year-end 2001, 41,766 international students were granted “pre-college student” status of residence. 30,170 of them came from China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong), 7,587 from North and South Korea, 440 from the Philippines, 430 from Myanmar, 409 from Thailand, and 2,730 from other countries. Besides pre-college students, there are several thousands students attending Japanese- language institutions under the status of residence as “college student.”

2. Choosing an institute providing Japanese-language education

In principle, international students are not permitted to transfer from one Japanese-language institute to another, or to a preparatory Japanese-language program at a private university in Japan. Students should be very careful to choose a school by collecting sufficient information and check on each school’s guide or inquire directly from its current or former students.

(1) Preparatory Japanese-language programs at private universities
Students can obtain information on Preparatory Japanese-language Programs for International Students at private universities, a directory compiled by the Association of Private Universities of Japan. The directory is available at many Japanese government offices overseas. The list of institutes can be reffered to at JASSO web site (https://www.jasso.go.jp) or Voice & Fax Information Service. In addition, JASSO web site links to the web sites of universities offering preparatory Japanese-language programs for international students.

(2) Japanese-language institutes
It is important when choosing a Japanese-language institutes to confirm whether the institute is accredited by the Association for the Promotion of Japanese Language Education because the status of residence as “college student” and “pre-college student” are not granted for study at unaccredited institutes. The accredited institutes are listed in “Japanese Language Institutes in Japan”, published by the association, so you should refer to this list. The English version of the list is available on their web site
(https://www.nisshinkyo.org).
The Information Center of JASSO compiles a list of Japanese Language Institutes based on “Japanese language institutes in Japan.”
*Accreditation of Japanese-language institutes is renewed every three years.

(3) Course of preliminary study for university entrance

The Information Center of JASSO compiles a list of “Course of Preliminary Study for University Entrance,” which is available from the JASSO web site (https://www.jasso.go.jp) or Voice & Fax Information Service.

(4) Choosing a course
When choosing an institute providing Japanese-language education, please attend to the following.

1. Program objectives:
What are the main objectives of the institute’s courses? Does the program have a course that suits your goals?

* Japanese-language institutes offer various courses, such as a general course, a course for students who wish to enter Japanese higher educational institutions, a business-oriented Japanese-language course, etc.
Note: In the case of those who completed only 10 or 11 years of school education, they cannot obtain qualifications to enter universities by attending general courses. Consequently, these prospective students must be sure to select from among the Japanese-language institutes designated by Monbukagakusho as the “course of preliminary study for university entrance.

2. Japanese proficiency level:
Are the students placed in different classes according to their level of Japanese, so that each student can receive lessons suited to his or her level of ability? Is there a placement test for this purpose?

3. Basic subjects:
Is there a program available designed for students planning to proceed to undergraduate courses, to study basic subjects (such as English, mathematics, physics, chemistry and social studies) to prepare for entrance examinations?

4. Educational environment:
Is the location and accessibility of the institute satisfactory? Does it suit the students’ choice?

5. Accommodation:

Does the institute provide accommodation? If it does not have special accommodation, will it assist you to find an apartment or lodging?

6. Guidance on further education and living:
Does the institute offer advice and counseling on further education? Does it provide counseling services related to problems in everyday life?

7. Data on past students (track record):
What universities did the students enter? What percentage and level of students pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test?

8. Number of instructors:
Are there sufficient instructors for the students?

9. Tuition fees:
Are the tuition fees appropriate for the duration of study, instructor and facilities?

10. Method of selection for admission:
Is the screening test based on documentation alone? Is an interview with the guarantor or liaison person of the student required?

11. Status of Residence:

What status of residence is given, a “college student” or a “pre-college student?”

12. Total hours of lesson schedule 

13. The ratios of students according to their nationality:
If there are more students from countries using Chinese characters, is there any consideration for those coming from countries not using Chinese characters?

3. Admission qualifications and procedures

In almost all cases, the qualification for entering an institute providing Japanese-language education is to have completed, or to have attained an equivalent level of study, more than 12 years of school education.

However, if a foreigner with the aim of just learning the Japanese language studies in Japan without the intention to proceed to higher educational institutions in Japan, he/she is entitled to study at a general course or other courses at Japanese-language institutes accredited by the Association for the Promotion of Japanese-Language Education regardless of their educational background. In this case, it is not necessary to select a course designated in the “Course of Preliminary Study for University Entrance.” However, as requirements particular to each institution may be added to the criterion of acceptance, please inquire of the school of your choice beforehand.

In the case of those who have completed 10 or 11 years of primary and secondary education, and are planning to proceed to university or other higher educational institutions, they are to enroll in “Course of Preliminary Study for University Entrance” (Refer to Chapter 15) designated by Monbukagakusho. This course is designed for prospective students who wish to go on to higher education in Japan. Qualification to take an entrance examination of a higher educational institution in Japan cannot be obtained if this course is not completed.

Most institutes select students through documentation-based screening; some schools hold an interview with the guarantor (Refer to Chapter 12.) The main documents that usually have to be submitted are the following:

1. Application form
2. School transcript
3. Certificate of other studies
4. Letter of recommendation
5. Certificate of financial means
6. Medical certificate
7. Application fee (about ¥30,000)
8. (Guarantor-related documents)
9. (Overseas examinations)
10. (Interview with the guarantor)


In certain cases the documents that have to be submitted differ somewhat according to the institute, so please inquire directly.

After submission of these documents, the schools will notify applicants of screening results. In the case of successful applicants, schools will begin visa application procedures on their behalf. For procedures after this stage, see Chapter 11 “Procedures to Entering Japan.”

4. Application period

Usually, one-year and two-year courses begin in April, and 18-month courses begin in October. The deadline for applications differs according to the school, but usually it is around October to December of the previous year for courses beginning in April, and around April to June for courses beginning in October. Besides these courses, although they are very few, some schools have courses beginning in July or January.

At the latest you should begin making preparations six to eight months before the beginning of the course, since applicants have to obtain the application forms and make preparations for submitting them before this, and taking into account the time needed for mailing and so on.

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