The MIT-Japan Program empowers MIT students and faculty to advance knowledge and solve the world’s great challenges by connecting them with leading researchers, companies, and other partners in Japan. Founded in 1981 by Professor Richard Samuels, the MIT-Japan Program prepares MIT students to be global citizens by training and giving them a first-hand look at knowledge creation in Japan. The Program offers students opportunities to work and conduct research at leading Japanese universities, companies, and reserach institutions. MIT students can also study abroad and earn transfer credit at University of Tokyo (Course 2, 3) and Tokyo Tech (Course 22) in Japan. The ULVAC-Hayashi Seed Fund facilitates dozens of research collaborations between MIT faculty and their Japanese counterparts.

Our approach to collaboration is grounded in delivering bi-directional value: contribute to the research, education, and innovation while providing opportunities for MIT students to gain fluency in navigating different cultural contexts.

MIT-Japan プログラムの歴史

  • 1981年にリチャード・サミュエルズ教授(MIT政治学)が本プログラムを設立。以来、毎年役30余名のMITの学生を日本の企業、研究所、大学へ送り出している。
  • 1995年にMISTI(MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives)という組織が形成され、本プログラムの他にチャイナプログラムが加わる。その後、ドイツ、インド、イタリア、フランス、メキシコ、スペイン、イスラエル、ブラジルプログラムが加わり、2024年に計25カ国又は地域がMISTIの傘下に入る。
  • 本プログラムをモデルに、アメリカ国内の他の大学でも類似のプログラムが設立されている。(現在、日本に関連したプログラムは世界に数多くあるが、その中で本プログラムが最大、かつ総合的に日本研究を応用したものである。)

This year we celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the first Japanese student who graduated from MIT. Eiichiro Honma, the first Japanese to graduate from MIT in 1874, was born the son of Genzui Honma, a samurai of the Fukuoka domain, and went to MIT for civil engineering research by order of the domain. After returning to Japan, he worked for the Ministry of the Navy and then for the Ministry of Industry's Railway Bureau and various railroad companies, where he served as chief engineer, advisor to the president, and director, contributing greatly to the development of Japanese railroads. Homma's MIT thesis, "Design of an Iron Warren Girder Railroad Bridge," laid the foundation for his career in Japan and contributed to the construction of railroads in his home country.

During the spring 2024 semester, students in the MIT class 21H.155 Modern Japan worked under the direction of Hiromu Nagahara (Associate Professor of modern Japanese history) to explore the numerous historical documents that are connected to MIT’s first Japanese students. Come join us on September 25, 2024 where we will have a panel discussion to learn more about these first Japanese that studied at MIT. (More details will follow later in the summer.)


Program Opportunities


MISTI’s award-winning international internship program provides a one-of-a-kind, world-class experience for MIT students: the opportunity to gain real-life work experience in leading companies and labs around the world. Best of all, all expenses are paid, including airfare.

MIT-Japan provides students with internships and research at leading companies, research labs and universities in Japan. Internships last from 10 weeks to 12 months and are fully-funded. This means that, if you are selected as a MIT-Japan Program intern, there are no program costs to participate!

  • Mandatory Pre-Departure Preparation
  • Minimum GPA of 4.0
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • One (1) class on Japanese culture, history or society (see tab below for accepted courses at MIT)
  • Undergrads: Japanese IV (21G.504) or equivalent proficiency (for proficiency you must be tested by a Japanese teacher at MIT)

  • Graduate students: Japanese II (21G.502) or equivalent proficiency


APPLICATIONS FOR SUMMER 2024 will open in  September 2023

Begin your Launchpad application at and schedule a meeting with Japan's program director via the Calendly link on Launchpad.


For summer internships:

  • Nov 1: Deadline to complete MISTI Launchpad Application for early placement (this means that MIT-Japan Program will do the best to place you for summer 2024 if you meet the requirements). You will need to submit your resume, transcript, info page of your passport, etc.
  • Dec 15: Deadline to interview with MIT-Japan Managing Director AND complete MIT-Japan Application by specifying and ranking up to 3 internship hosts of interest and submitting cover letter; this also includes having your two letters of recommendations submitted (those who did not submit by Nov. 1 are not considered early placement)
  • Dec – Feb: Internship hosts review interested students and interview select applicants.*
  • Feb 28: Most hosts send internship offers to students before the end of February, but placement might not be confirmed until later in the semester.
  • Mar – early May: Mandatory training and preparation sessions, including an all-day Saturday retreat on campus.
  • Most internships take place in summer for 10-12 weeks, starting in early/mid-June and ending in mid/late-August.
*Some companies (like consulting firms and financial institutions) have early offers in November so please complete Launchpad Application by October 15 and schedule a meeting with MIT-Japan Managing Director to discuss strategies.
Longer internships of 3-12 months with flexible start/end dates outside summer are also available. Contact MIT-Japan Managing Director at least five months before anticipated internship start date to apply.
How to Apply




International Relations of East Asia (UG)  - Spring


Gender and Japanese Popular Culture (UG) - Fall


Anime: Transnational Media and Culture (U) HASS-H - Spring

21G.064 meets with 21G.592

Introduction to Japanese Culture (UG) HASS-H, CI-H - Fall


Japanese Literature and Cinema - Fall


Project-Based Japanese Learning with Multimedia - Spring


Inventing the Samurai - Spring


World War II in Asia - Spring


Gateway to Japanese Literature and Culture (new)


17.53 (Not offered during 2022-2023 academic year)

The Rise of Asia (UG) HASS-S

21G.095 (NOT offered during 2022-2023 academic year)

Cultures of Music in East Asia: Japan, Korea, China

21H.155 (NOT offered during 2022-2023 academic year)

Modern Japan: 1600 to Present (UG) HASS-H - Spring


Digital Media in Japan and Korea - Spring


Cinema in Japan and Korea -Spring

Study Abroad at the University of Tokyo & Tokyo Tech

The University of Tokyo is the top Japanese university. It produces socially impactful research to find solutions for the world’s most pressing issues and has the top scholars in their faculty. MIT has formal exchange program agreements with Course 2 and 3 departments. Learn more here!

Tokyo Institute of Technology, affectionately know at Tokyo Tech is one of the best universities in Japan. MIT has a special relationship with their Nuclear Engineering department. Learn more about the Study Abroad Program at Tokyo Tech for Course 22 and how to apply here!

  • Study Abroad Application
  • Interview
  • Minimum GPA of 4.5
  • Mandatory Pre-departure Preparation


  1. Apply for MIT exchange for the term you wish to study. Go to the MISTI Portal, find your program, and apply before the deadline.
  2. MISTI will be in touch regarding an interview with the applicable MISTI Program Manager and major department.

Direct Enroll:

  1. Are you interested in a program outside of the the University of Tokyo and Tokyo Tech Exchanges? Talk to MISTI about your interest!
  2. Apply directly to the host university/program provider by their program deadline. (Their deadline may be earlier than the MISTI deadline.) 
  3. Apply to MISTI for MIT approval to study abroad before the deadline for the term you wish to study. Apply through the Direct Enroll General Application.
  4. MISTI will be in touch regarding an interview with the applicable Program Manager.

How to Apply

Financial Aid:

Financial aid can be used to study abroad during academic terms. Awards will be adjusted based on expenses such as airfare, living expenses, and local tuition costs. Students should meet with their financial aid counselor and a MISTI Program Manager at least one term before they go abroad to start planning how aid will be affected. MISTI and Student Financial Services will work together to gather and verify cost information . Based on this information, financial aid counselors will advise students on their adjusted financial aid packages and process any refunds accordingly.


Click here to learn more about external study abroad scholarships.

Innovation Discovery Japan (IDJ) 2024 will take place during IAP!

Yes, IDJ'24 will take place during IAP from January 28 to February 3, 2024. Application is now closed. 


Innovation Discovery Japan (IDJ) trip to Japan will take place during IAP 2024.

MISTI / MIT Japan Program will sponsor a limited number of scholarships that will cover airfare and program participation fee (hotel, program designated meals and participation costs, but NOT incidentals and non-program funded meals) for MIT students exhibiting genuine interest in learning Japanese and going to Japan on an internship or work experience. Preference will be given to students who are considering or have taken at least one semester of Japanese at MIT.

MIT students who wish to be considered for the MIT-Japan Program scholarship will need to complete the MIT-Japan Program 2024 IDJ Funding application on the MISTI - MIT-Japan Program website. You will also need to submit a name of an MIT Faculty as a reference.  The deadline for the application is October 20, 2023. Incomplete applications will not be considered for a MISTI Japan funding.


Please note we may need to cancel IDJ'24 if a force majeure event, such as travel security issue or COVID outbreak. 

Global Seed Funds for MIT-Japan

MISTI's Global Seed Funds program supports MIT's global engagement by promoting collaborations between MIT faculty and researchers and their counterparts in Japan.

Joe's and Ulvac 2016
Winslow Tohoku group photo sHayashi eed

ULVAC-Hayashi MISTI Seed Fund

Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Chikara Hayashi and the ULVAC Inc., the Hayashi-ULVAC MISTI Seed Fund supports MIT's global engagement by promoting new collaborations between MIT faculty and researchers and their counterparts in Japan.

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Watch MIT-Japan in action


Take a 60-second journey of exploration to Japan with Qiaochu Li, PhD '17 Course 3


Take a different journey with Mina Bloom, '17 Course 3 to her internship at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Meet Your Program Manager

Christine Pilcavage headshot

Get in touch with Chris Pilcavage, Managing Director for MIT-Japan, to get your questions answered.