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Study in Japan

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Study in Japan

Japan, a country renowned for its rich culture, advanced technology, and world-class education system, has become an increasingly popular destination for Malaysian students seeking to further their studies abroad. With a unique blend of tradition and innovation, Japan offers a diverse range of academic opportunities for students from around the world. This article serves as a comprehensive guide for Malaysian IGCSE and SPM students aspiring to study in Japan, covering essential aspects such as overview of post-secondary education, pathways after SPM and IGCSE and top universities in Japan.


Post-secondary education in Japan is divided into 5 types which are universities, vocational schools, language schools, junior colleges and graduate schools.

(a) Universities

Japanese universities are renowned worldwide for their academic excellence. They offer a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs, conducted primarily in Japanese. However, there's a growing number of English-taught programs to accommodate international students, especially Malaysian students. There are 3 types of universities in Japan, which are;

  • National Universities: Funded by the government, national universities are known for their rigorous academic standards and research opportunities.

  • Public Universities: Public universities are funded by local governments, making them more affordable than private institutions while still maintaining high academic standards.

  • Private Universities: Private universities offer diverse programs, often with smaller class sizes and unique specializations. Tuition fees can vary widely.


National University

Many national universities have a long history, for example the “Former Imperial Universities (旧帝大)” established in 1886.

Public University

Public universities are often small scale institutions, with fewer departments & faculties. 

Private University

Some private universities do not use Common Test for University Admissions but individualised entrance exams.

b) Vocational Schools

Vocational schools, known as "senshu gakko," provide specialized training in fields such as culinary arts, fashion design, healthcare, and information technology. These programs are often practical and career-oriented, preparing students for specific jobs.

(c) Language Schools

Language schools in Malaysia or Japan cater to Malaysian students who want to improve their Japanese language skills. These schools offer programs at various levels, from beginner to advanced, and can be an excellent stepping stone for further education in Japan.


(d) Junior Colleges

Junior colleges, or "tanki daigaku," offer two-year programs that focus on practical skills and knowledge. Graduates often find employment immediately after completing their studies. Some credits earned at junior colleges can be transferred to universities.


(e) Graduate Schools

For those looking to pursue advanced degrees, Japanese graduate schools offer master's and doctoral programs. These institutions are known for their research opportunities and the chance to work closely with leading experts in various fields.


Studying in Japan can be a fulfilling and culturally enriching experience, but it requires careful planning and understanding of the various pathways available. Upon finishing your SPM, O-Level, IGCSE, or a comparable certification, there are several possibilities for you to consider and explore to study in Japan

(a) Pre-University programmes/STPM/UEC/Diploma in Malaysia

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If you've completed a diploma or pre-university program and aspire to further your education in Japan, enrolling in a Japanese language school can be a pivotal stepping stone toward achieving your academic goals.

Many undergraduate programs in Japan are conducted in Japanese. To be admitted to a program taught in Japanese, you typically need to demonstrate proficiency in the Japanese language. This often requires passing a language proficiency test, such as the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) or the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU).

Note: The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is a standardized test that assesses and certifies the Japanese language proficiency of non-native speakers. The JLPT offers five levels, with N5 being the easiest and N1 being the most challenging, each corresponding to a different degree of proficiency.

(b) Japanese Language School in Malaysia 

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​Japanese Language Schools in Malaysia typically offer courses for students of different proficiency levels, from complete beginners to advanced learners. They follow the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) levels as a reference for course placement. They also design their curriculum to cover various aspects of the language, including speaking, listening, reading, and writing and all courses incorporate cultural elements to provide a holistic learning experience.

There are usually 3 modules in Japanese Language School which are

  • College Track (12 months)

  • University Track (20 months)

  • Japanese Language Specialized Course (12 - 20 months)

College Track

A preparatory course for studies in Japan, specifically a 12-month college track program, is designed to provide Malaysian students with the necessary skills, knowledge, and language proficiency to succeed in Japanese vocational schools or colleges.

The duration of the course, in this case, is 12 months, which is a suitable length of time to achieve a reasonable level of proficiency in the Japanese language and to become familiar with the academic and cultural environment in Japan. Students will be taught Japanese language and Social Studies for 12 months to prepare their enrollment in college.

After completing this preparatory course, students should be better prepared to meet the requirements of vocational schools or colleges in Japan and make a smoother transition into higher education in the country. It's important to note that the specifics of such courses may vary between institutions, so students should carefully review the curriculum and requirements of the particular program they intend to enroll in.

University Track

A 20-month preparatory course for studies in Japan with a University Track, specifically for the Arts and Science streams, is designed to provide students with a high level of proficiency in the Japanese language and academic subjects.

Subjects taught in Japanese Language School 

  • Science Stream: Japanese, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry

  • Art Stream: Japanese, Mathematics, Social Studies


The primary goal is to prepare students to successfully pass entrance examinations for Japanese national, local public, and private colleges and universities.

The longer duration of the 20-month course allows students to achieve a higher level of proficiency in both the Japanese language and their chosen academic subjects. This is particularly important for those planning to enter Arts or Science programs in Japanese universities, as the academic demands can be significant.

Upon successful completion of this program, students should be well-prepared to sit for the entrance examinations at Japanese universities and pursue their higher education goals in either the Arts or Science stream.

Japanese Language Specialized  Course

Japanese Language Specialized Course, whether it's a 12-month or 20-month program, is designed for individuals who are highly motivated to master the Japanese language. It offers a comprehensive language education and cultural understanding, which can be valuable for seeking employment in a Japanese-speaking environment. The choice between the 12-month and 20-month options should align with your language proficiency goals and future plans.

(c) Japanese Language School in Japan

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The greatest approach to improve your Japanese language skills is to enrol in a Japanese language school in Japan. A language course in Japan allows you to immerse yourself in Japanese culture while also developing your language skills. Tokyo's capital is a one-of-a-kind blend of historic temples and cutting-edge technology, making it the country's core.

Experienced teachers will work with you to improve your communication skills so that you feel comfortable speaking Japanese in everyday situations. You'll then put your Japanese skills to the test by ordering meals in a restaurant, asking for directions, singing along at the karaoke bar, and conversing with your host family.



Japanese universities have a storied history, a commitment to academic excellence, and cultural significance that extends beyond the classroom. These institutions are a testament to Japan's dedication to education, research, and innovation. Whether you are interested in science and technology or the arts and humanities, universities in Japan offer a diverse and enriching educational experience. So, for those seeking a unique blend of tradition and modernity in their academic journey, Japan's universities provide an enticing destination for higher education.​

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