Full Ride Scholarships for International Students?

Hi everyone. I’ve recently been seriously thinking about making anime as a career path.
Of course, my parents shut it down quick. I wasn’t able to find any universities known for animation which offer scholarships that can lighten the financial burden. I’m really broken up about this. I’m very passionate and can be dedicated when I set my eyes on a goal. I really, really want to move to Japan and make moving stories.

Enough about touchy feely things. Does anyone have a suggestion on where I can go to school? It doesn’t have to be in Japan, but seeing as how I’m moving there anyways, it would be better if I also studied there.

Are degrees from Japanese universities prioritised by animation companies? If so, then I would be even more inclined to make the move sooner. However, if shit comes to shit and I have to study elsewhere, I understand.

I’ve been asking and looking for information everywhere for the past two days. I don’t want to give up. If you can’t come up with any info, that’s really okay. Please just leave a comment patting me on the back or just cheering me on so I don’t cry on my pillow again tonight.

I feel like international animators get it really rough. It’s almost impossible to do this, and I have to tell myself everyday that if Kimari and Shirase could go to Antarctica, I can start a life in Japan. Yes. Cheesy, but it’s what I’ve got.

Thanks in advance.

Hello, we seem to share the same goal. I also aspire to live and work in Japan. When I visited the country 10 months ago, I immediately fell in love with the way everything works there.

But from my research, I found that there are three options for people who wants to work in Japan, especially in the anime industry.

First, is to get a work visa by acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree or something equivalent of a 4-year education. You can’t necessarily get the visa with only an Associate’s degree (2-year college).

Second, is to go to a 2-year vocational school in japan (professional skill/specialized school) and then get a work visa, but there is a catch. After graduating, you are not allowed to work in other fields that you did not specialize in.

Third, is to have the entertainer visa. It’s basically become really good and popular with what you do that you’ll be an exception, which is highly unlikely and undependable.

You can also do the first choice by getting into a japanese university and obtaining a student visa, then you can finish the 4-year education there.

AFTER ALL OF THIS, you need to find a company that is willing to sponsor your visa, which sounded trivial when I first heard it, but it’s actually half the battle. It’s a lot of hard work. Now let me ask you a question:

  1. Why Japan? Japan isn’t the only source of anime nowadays. In addition, you can choose to work remote and work for anime companies from anywhere.

  2. Why Anime? You do realize the reality of Japanese animators, right? The below minimum wage, average salary. College part-timers get more money working less hours, and less effort. Money is important too for everyone, no matter how much one denies liking it. There are plenty of American companies that are better. Don’t just use the excuse of the word “American” and “Japanese”. They’re essentially doing the same thing.

  3. Why You? Anime companies ARE willing to work with foreigners, but not purely because they’re foreigners. You need to show why they should hire you rather than your other 10000+ Japanese competitors.

  4. Are You? One of the best advice that I’ve ever gotten is that “You Are What You Do.” What are you doing right now? Are you making progress in your portfolio? or Are you doing something else? When you make art in the majority of day, then you are an artist. When you make animations, you are an animator. Theres nothing wrong with being an aspiring artist, animator, illustrator. But, when people just say that and do nothing, that means that they are a dreamer. Many people are dreamers. People who actually reach their dreams, now that’s something else.

Ok, now on to the second part.

To answer your title (assuming that it’s a question), I don’t know much about japanese scholarships. All I know is that it’s really complicated and you kinda gotta set yourself up from the beginning of high school in order to guarantee it.

My advice to you is to find out why your parents are against you. Is it because Japan? is it because its Anime? or is it because you havent done anything to prove them that you are capable of reaching your own long/short term goals?

I’ll admit it, even if you do plan to not rely on your parents to pursue your dream, they are still involved and they care what happens to you. You have to have a plan B, in case everything fails. My plan B is to follow what my parents want, which is to finish Bachelor’s and get a CS job, do that first, then I can do whatever. This is very important in order to convince them. You are essentially showing that you have initiative and attempting to fly out of your nest on your own with a cushion on the bottom. If you just tell them that you want to fly out the nest without a cushion, of course they’d be against it.

After that, you have to keep drawing. Learn how to learn quickly. This is an essential skill that is only provided to us Gen-Z, millenials at a young age because of the internet. The best free YouTube channels that does this is on my sources list.

If you made it this far, clearly you can tell I am not here to discourage you, but if you do feel discouraged, then maybe that says something about your goals. I have spent the past 5 years trying to answer that question to myself, and I’ll be honest, even I haven’t found it. However, I’m sick of being indecisive. I rather regret my job rather than regretting that I never picked one in the first place.

This is as far as my research goes however, I’ve heard people still able to work in japan with just Associate’s degree, or even no degree at all. I’m just following what the Japanese Ministry guidelines and my research says, so do give more feedback, other people.

If you have anymore questions, I’ll try my best to answer ‘em. But do realize, I am your competitor. I have the same goals as you. Most people in this website as well. When there is one job opening, all of us are gonna fight for that (no, not literally).

But in the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with helping out others. Makes the competition fun and the anime industry better. Best of luck, y’all!


  • reddit (google ur question + reddit = done!)
  • Japanese Ministry
  • YouTube vids
  • friends and connections

YouTube channels I recommend:

  • Ethan Becker (he’s an ex-animator at dreamworks who worked on voltron and korra which is totally my style. He also gives out really industry-oriented advice, like how to actually get paid, learning quick, he’s essentially telling us to learn to how to learn to draw, which is drastically different than just learning to draw)
  • Striving for Animation (obviously. but they really are the only channel on YouTube that informs the pipeline of how japanese animation companies work, so its somewhat important. You don’t want to be the idiot foreigner that asks everything right?)
  • Manga materials (it’s a relatively new channel, but it really boils down the anime art style to something more approachable rather than studying drawing from life, like bridgman anatomy poses or whatever)
  • Proko’s Draftsmen podcast (don’t watch a random topic, watch something that you are actually curious about. personally, this was a game-changer for me)
  • Finally get your tiny ass off YouTube, and start animating!

tldr; f u read the whole thing. skipping is bad. i know this is important for u. lol

also i can only link 2 things since im a new user, so go find the link urself u babies.

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Also the japanese language is hard as hell, so you might have to be ready for that too.

Hey there. Thank you so much for replying.

To answer your questions:

  1. Why Japan? Like you, I fell in love with how everything works and looks there. I don’t absolutely have to go to school there, but I do plan to eventually move there, so if it’s possible, going to school in Japan is preferable to me. Yes, it’s not the only source of anime as studios often outsource work from China, Korea and Vietnam now, but the reason I want to go to Japan is because it’s the center of it all. However, now that I’ve done more research, I’m starting to think it’ll be impossible to move there as a student, so I think I’ll do that later when I can support myself living in Japan.

  2. Why Anime? Yes, I do know how much animators make, especially douga artists. They make less than conbini workers, and spend a lot more. 90% can’t even support themselves, says wikipedia. But the thing is, it doesn’t have to be an animator. I just want to work on an anime, whether as an art director, storyboard, whatever. I just want to make one, or be a part of one. Why not western animation? Well, I fell in love with anime, not western animation. While I don’t hate it, it’s not my dream.

  3. Why Me? Because I come up with interesting stories, learn fast, and am willing to work hard.

  4. Am I? Ever since I was seriously asking the question to myself, yes. I’m writing this just before getting ready. After that, it’s gonna be a 7 to 8 hour stint of practice. I’m serious about this. I want to do this.

My parents are probably against me because of the living costs, and the stigma surrounding spending a lot of money for education abroad here in my country. When I brought this up, she said a friend of hers had a daughter who studied animation in the US, and she now makes money teaching calligraphy. Another did the same thing and now works for a newspaper company after coming back home. She seems to think degrees given by countries other than mine aren’t valued back here, so I said I’m not planning to go home, to which she replied that I’ll have to be ready because looking for jobs abroad is not easy. Well, how is it harder than looking for jobs here?
She might also be against it because animation is a form of art. In my country, WE DO NOT DO ART. It’s apparently a big red flag and does not make any money. I think she’s just worried about me becoming like this relative that we live with. His parents are both deas and he makes next to nothing while playing games and watching TV everyday. Now that I think about it, I’m also afraid to be him.

The thing is, my dumb self didn’t get discouraged or whatever. Hearing her say this only made me burn with the desire to prove her wrong. It made me want to say this one day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyOfTAXqWV0

Regarding Plan B, won’t it be hard to switch industries after working for a few years? How can yoi bridge that gap between CS and Animation? Are you willing to go to school again?
If worse comes to worse, I’ll have to succumb to their dreams, I guess. But I’ll have to pick one closest to animation if I don’t want to start at 40 or something.

It’s a breath of fresh air realizing that someone, no, a lot of people is in the same situation. Thank you so much for replying and putting effort into it. I already know those sources but thanks nevertheless. Can we keep in touch? I feel like I need people around me to pat me on the back sometimes so I don’t forget that I’m not alone.

As for the language, I don’t mind. Really. I’m serious about this dream, and if it means I can say, “ZAMAMIRO!” to whoever doubted me ten years from now, I’ll do whatever it fucking takes.

I like that response. Although, you didn’t really have to answer my four questions. I was going for a “motivational speaker”-type of rhetorical question.

But to answer your question, I don’t plan to go to any school after my Bachelor’s in CS. I am planning to find work while being a student (remote jobs, certainly) that can help me answer questions in the visa interview if they ever ask me about that contradiction. If that doesn’t work, then I’ll most likely go to the second route, which is to go to a vocational school and start from there.

And yeah, sure! One of the toughest roadblocks for people like us who essentially live on the internet are the connections. I’m not sure how or what information I should share though :confused:

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I figured it was rhetorical, but I answered anyway. It felt more like me assuring myself more than anything though. :grinning:

Hmm. Is it possible as a student not in animation school to find these kinds of work? And even if it’s possible to be given these jobs, can I do them without going to animation school?
Most importantly, do Japanese studios even consider people without degrees in animation? I don’t mind working in a small or medium company btw.

Of course. Almost all art-related jobs don’t have degrees as a requirement, but it certainly helps. I, for one, only plan to finish my degree because it is a requirement for the visa not the job. Japanese studios should have that mindset as well since they kinda lack manpower. However, the problem is whether your portfolio is good enough for them to hire you. If you’re still in high school, or not currently enrolled in a specific major, I recommend getting accepted in a Japanese vocational school, since an animation degree takes too long and expensive. These vocational schools often have their own examinations in order to enroll. I don’t have many details about that though.

Some people have said that in order for anime companies to sponsor visas, employees usually have to study for 4 years. I don’t know how true this is. Also, I forgot even elaborating on my original post’s title. When I talked about it with my parents, they said if I want to go to school abroad, I’d have to find a school with full ride scholarship, with living expenses. They were only willing to pay for flights abroad and back home. Now you see the situation I’m in right? I don’t know how serious they are about this, or if I will ever manage to convince them. On the other hand, I also don’t want to burden them too much. They were pretty old when they had me. I don’t want them still working at 60 years old. Do you think it’s possible to manage the load of going to college while working part time?

Wow, that really changes the circumstance that I assumed you were in. But no, I think you just have to be able to do the job properly. A degree is only like to reassure; there are other ways to reassure, like experience, portfolio or personal projects. I don’t recommend you going to school abroad, I actually recommend you build up your skills and resume with those reassurances while attending local school. You gotta find a way to sell yourself to those Japanese companies, either with your Japanese skills or drawing skills. Colleges are getting more expensive as time moves forward. Nowadays, it’s very hard to pay everything with only a part-time job. But then again, don’t trust people too much, not even me. Don’t be that guy, that just says “I’ve heard that…blablabla”, “Some people say…blablabla”, etc.

At some point, you just gotta go for it and go through. Since, that’s what you wanted right?

Okay. So finding out more about stuff and through advices I’ve gotten, I think I can devise a plan that has a safety net and still pretty effective.

  1. Study locally, preferably 3D or CG stuff, if not possible, design school, either automotive or architecture since my parents had always thought I liked cars (which I did, but not in the “I want to draw cars for a living” way) and architecture because there’s still a relation to anime - backgrounds and stuff.
  2. While studying locally, learn the Japanese language and more about how anime is made.
  3. Work as whatever it is that’s financially stable for a few years living in a cheap apartment while doing some freelancing for anime production companies.
  4. When I feel like I’m financially stable and able to move to Japan without receiving any help from my parents, I do the big step. Preferably land a big job before that.

What do you think? Anything you would do different?

Actually writing those steps, I feel both relieved and terrified. So many things can go wrong. But you’re right - at some point, I just gotta go for it and go through. Go big or go home. If this is really my dream, I’ll do whatever it takes.

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Hey you’re on the right track, bud. Some people when they feel that terror they just procrastinate and put it out of their mind, or even worse, they give up completely. I, for one, was stuck in that hole for months, even though I had better circumstances than most people, including you. That’s why it feels gratifying for me to help someone out. You got your plan, now you just gotta figure out ways to execute that plan. Know that every step will not always line up straight, and you will find yourself feeling like a failure, but to know that it can fail, and to keep going, that’s what separates the good and the great.

I don’t interact with people that much irl, that’s why I think the two words that describe me pretty well are “awkward” and “pretentious”. But hey, I’m glad you find it helpful. Good luck.

Thank you so much. You don’t know how helpful this was. Is there anywhere I can follow you just to keep tabs on what your projects or just how you’re doing and stuff? I hope this doesn’t sound creepy. Good luck to you too!

My answer can top that creepiness, I actually didn’t use social media for around 3 years :upside_down_face:

But a few weeks ago, I decided to create an account to stalk the animators and other artists when I found Striving for Animation channel. It just feels nicer to not be asked to log in every time I view an animator’s profile. I’m going to start posting some art around this week, but until then you can just follow me on that account in your mailbox.

Sorry I missed this topic in its heyday, been very busy :frowning: Lemme preface all of the following info with the fact that my knowledge is very far from complete. It’s just what I’ve gathered/found.

If you want to see some official requirements for an anime vocational program, you can check here; https://www.yoani.co.jp/global-en/

(There’s a PDF towards the bottom of the page that has English on it, I’ll clip a few things from it here. The whole thing is a good read though)

As far as I’m aware, there are no full-ride scholarships for vocational schools in Japan. (unsure about colleges with animation programs) They do offer some scholarship opportunities however. The cost of YoAni for example, is about 2.8 million yen for their two-year program, and it’s possible to get some scholarships through them for 200k yen or so, per year.

As an international student, your bar for entry is certification passing one of the Japanese proficiency tests at a higher level and/or attend language school certified by the MoJ;

Note: The above is for international students on a student visa. If you live in Japan on a work, spouse visa or are a permanent resident, you follow the admission guidelines like a regular student (which still includes Japanese proficiency).

The closest thing that YoAni provides to a full-ride is offering employment that compensates your tuition (this was as of ~2 years ago, unsure if they still offer it). But it’s pretty rough; you can take a newspaper delivery job that operates for something like 6 hours a day, that takes place before and after your classes. Essentially, you’re just working to pay tuition. This is generally an option for families whose parents don’t want to take out a loan or can’t afford to pay. So I believe you’re still responsible for your room and board, food costs, etc since it’s assumed that you’re still living at home. So, in that case, your schedule looks like;
6-9AM, paper delivery
9-3PM, classes
3-6PM, paper delivery
(this is from memory so it might be a bit off)

There are lots of options out there, but this is the main one I’ve looked into. I think Mode Gakuen also has an animation program and they’re quite well known, but it’s structured as a four year rather than two. They do a lot of advertising on TV and youtube it seems.

Also, if you’re in the country on a trip, you can sign up to take a tour/sample class. Even if you don’t speak much Japanese, you can observe and see what it’s like :slight_smile: You can find that here; https://atelier.yoani.co.jp/

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