Research student (kenkyu-sei)
Under the research student (kenkyu-sei) system,
which is unique to Japan, students other than regular degree-course
students are given permission to engage in research in a special
field for a period of approximately one semester or one academic
year. Entry requirements for a research student vary from university
to university; some universities may accept a student with a bachelor's
degree or higher, others may accept a student with a master's degree
or higher, and the name and status of the research student differs
according to graduate schools.
To obtain the status of residence of "college student,"
research students are required by law (the Immigration Control and
Refugee Recognition Act) to attend at least 10 hours (600 min.)
of classes per week.
There are three types of research student:
who do not aim to obtain a degree but to carry out research
for a short period;
who attend a graduate school as short-term international students
on the basis of a student exchange agreement between universities;
who use the system to prepare to enter a graduate school's
Many of the students belonging to category 3 stay
as research students for about a year until graduate school entrance
examinations. However, not all the students can enter a graduate
school and some of them fail the entrance examination and have
to leave Japan.
Some graduate schools allow students to take examinations
to enter their regular graduate courses directly while other schools
and graduate courses consider that having an experience as a "research
student" is desirable before entering the regular courses.
Therefore, make sure to inquire directly to the school
you intend to apply to while referring to the "Gaikokujin
Ryugakusei no tame no Daigakuin Nyugaku Annai (Japanese Universities
Graduate Programs for Foreign Students)" (Edited by the Asian
Students Cultural Association)
*Web site of Japan Study Support by Asian Students Cultural Association: