CALL FOR AFRICAN STUDENTS TO VISIT JAPAN: Application Guidelines for IAfP Sakura Invitation Program – Kyoto University –

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In 2020, Kyoto University (KU) started the Innovative Africa Program (IAfP) together with Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS). By exchanging students with their partner universities in Africa, the program aims to foster human resources who engage in technological and social innovations to facilitate the realization of sustainable development goals. Under this scope, the program offers fellowships to highly qualified students in fields of research related to African Studies. The program is intended to support 1) students from KU who conduct research or take courses at host universities in Africa, and 2) those coming from its partner universities in Africa to conduct their research and take courses at KU.


IAfP Sakura Invitation Program for African Students in Academic Year 2023

In Academic Year 2023, the IAfP Office is planning to use Sakura Invitation Program to let ten African students at the most stay in Japan and join part of the IAfP Short-Term Exchange Program for three weeks. The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) operates the “Sakura Science Program,” which aims at inviting talented young human resources for short-term visits to Japan, giving them the opportunity to experience Japan’s cutting-edge science and technology as well as its culture. The period of the program is three weeks between November 30, Thursday, 2023 and December 20, Wednesday, 2023. The arrival and departure dates are fixed and not changeable. The IAfP Office will provide official certificates to the participants for completing the IAfP Sakura Invitation Program after they make a poster presentation at the International Conference held during the third week. Please note, however, that the visit to Japan may be cancelled just in case the JST turns down Kyoto University’s application for Sakura Invitation Program.



Applicants need to be enrolled as full-time postgraduate students at one of the partner universities in Africa that have concluded student exchange agreements with KU. For a complete list of the partner universities, please refer to Attachment 1. Their official enrollment needs to be valid at the time of application and throughout the period when they  stay in Japan. Undergraduate or part-time students are NOT eligible to apply for the program.


Details of the IAfP Sakura Invitation Program

The IAfP Sakura Invitation Program offers the following courses after successful applicants come to Japan. Under the KU’s system, participants will be registered as Short-Term International Students. The IAfP Office will ask them to submit a report to review the progress of each course.  


Courses offered after arrival in Japan

  1. Individual Research Guidance (to be provided by each academic advisor)
    All participants will attend their academic advisor’s seminars and other activities related to their research projects at KU. They need to select one academic advisor from a list of the faculty members on Attachment 2. This guidance will be offered in a variety of formats, depending on the circumstances of each advisor, including individual tutoring, regular seminars with Japanese graduate students, and participation in other existing activities. Frequency is approximately once every one or two weeks.
  2. Joint Training Course
    The IAfP Office will prepare a “Joint Training Course” for all the participants. It will include a series of events joined together by African and Japanese graduate students to share their learning experiences and cultural knowledge:
    Lecture: Innovative Africa and SDGs. Faculty members at the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies will deliver a series of lectures once a week from different disciplinary perspectives.
    Joint workshops with Japanese Students,
    Fieldtrips in and around Kyoto to learn about Japanese culture, and

International conference, which will be held in December and conclude with final presentations by the participants.


Application Procedure

The deadline for applications is July 31, 2023. Please submit digital copies of the following documents by uploading them to the following registration form for “AY2023 Sakura Invitation Program” (

(1) Request for the Admission of a Short-Term International Student (Form 1, Please refer to “Attachment 1” when writing this)

(2) Application form (Form 2, to be completed by the student. Please make sure to explain what your research is about and how it can benefit from the visit to Japan in one or two paragraphs. Make sure to indicate which academic advisor you have selected.)

(3) Letter of recommendation (Form 3, to be completed and signed by an applicant’s supervisor at his/her university in Africa.)

(4) Transcript of academic records that include the result of the most recent semester an applicant spent in his/her university

(5) Student ID or another valid document that proves the official enrollment of the applicant in a graduate school.

(6) One passport size photograph of yourself in JPG or PNG file.

(7) Scanned image of Passport (copy of the page containing personal details including name, nationality, photo, and expiry date. It is mandatory to have a passport at the time of application in principle, but please contact the IAfP Office if not).


Selection Processes and Announcement

Consideration of the applications takes place first at KU and then at JST. The Selection Committee of KU will make provisional decisions first and announce the result to all the applicants in the early September 2023. JST will make final decisions about the funding and KU will email the results to applicants in the mid-October 2023, a month before the arrival in Japan. The IAfP Office will start preparing visas, flight tickets, and accommodations for successful applicants only after JST makes the final decisions. 


Stipend and Travel Expenses

The Sakura Invitation Program is sponsored by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), a government-sponsored non-profit organization promoting international student exchange. The IAfP will offer financial support that covers the costs for the round-trip tickets, affordable hotel/apartment rooms near the campus, and other living expenses required during the stay in Japan. The IAfP will directly administer the payments and notify each successful applicant of the detailed payment procedure. No tuition fees are required.   

For any questions concerning the application, please email Kyoto University’s IAfP Office at



  1. Request for the Admission of a Short-Term International Student (Form 1)
  2. Application form (Form 2)
  3. Letter of recommendation (Form 3)


  1. List of partner universities in Africa
  2. List of prospective advisors and their research topics and areas