Japan Data

Record Number of Foreign Students at Japanese Language Schools

Society Education Global Exchange

There are more foreign students than ever at language schools in Japan, while the total number of foreign students, including those at universities and vocational colleges, has also rebounded since the pandemic.

A study conducted by the Japan Student Services Organization, an independent administrative agency, found that 90,719 foreign students were enrolled in Japanese language schools as of May 1, 2023. This is the largest number since the first JASSO study was conducted in 2011, and an 83.6% year-on-year increase of around 40,000 students.

Number of Foreign Students in Japan

The number of foreign students, including those enrolled in universities and vocational colleges, increased year on year by approximately 48,000, or 20.8%, for a total of 279,274. The number declined after peaking in 2019, at 312,214, but in 2023 it increased over the previous year for the first time since the end of the pandemic.

A JASSO official said, “It seems that students who had previously given up on studying in Japan because of travel restrictions during the pandemic are deciding to try again.”

Country of Origin of Foreign Students

By nationality, the largest number of students came from China, at 115,493, or 41.4% of the total. Next in line was Nepal at 37,878 (13.6%), Vietnam at 36,339 (13%), South Korea at 14,946 (5.4%), and Myanmar at 7,773 (2.8%). The number of students from Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, as well as the United States now exceeds the pre-pandemic number in 2019. Students from Asian countries constituted the vast majority of those studying in Japan, at 254,224, or 91% of the total.

Universities with the Most Foreign Students

The university accepting the largest number of foreign students was Waseda University, at 5,560, followed by the University of Tokyo at 4,658, and Ritsumeikan University at 3,027.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

Japanese language education