U.S.-Japan Program Postdoctoral Fellowships

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We seek applications from outstanding scholars in the social sciences who are conducting research that illuminates Japan's relations with the rest of the world in the broadest sense. Thus, we welcome applicants from anthropology, economics, (modern) history, law, political science, public health, and sociology, among other fields. Scholars may examine domestic issues that bear on Japan's external relations or problems that it shares with other countries, and we encourage projects that compare Japan's experience cross-nationally. This fellowship is made possible by generous support from the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. 

The Fellowship Grant

  1. Fellows spend a twelve-month period in residence at Harvard that typically begins in September.
  2. The award is for $60,000 paid in monthly installments, eligibility for university subsidized health insurance coverage for the grantee, and up to $5,000 for research/travel funds.
  3. Awardees must complete all requirements of their doctoral degree to receive a fellowship. If a successful applicant has not already earned a Ph.D. at the time of his or her application, the applicant's registrar must submit a formal letter to the effect that he or she "has completed all the requirements of the Ph.D." by August 1. The letter must include that precise wording, and no mitigating circumstances will be considered. Because institutions may not be prepared to confirm this until they have collectively approved the dissertation and all required changes have been made to put it in its final (deposit) form, we strongly urge you to schedule your defense, if it is still pending, by July 1. No funds can be disbursed until such a letter is received, and the fellowship will be reduced by one-twelfth for each month's delay. Depending on the length of the delay, a prospective fellow may be asked to begin the Program in the second semester, and in extreme cases, the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations reserves the right to revoke the fellowship altogether. 


Candidates must hold a doctoral degree in a discipline bearing on the Program’s research areas. Research projects that focus on Japan or Japan’s international role from a comparative, historical, or global perspective are welcome. A knowledge of the Japanese language is not required.

The Application Process

By January 7, please submit the following, as separate files, in an email to usjapan(at)wcfia.harvard.edu

Email subject line: "USJP Postdoc Application, [last name], [first name]"


  1. Application Form, including answers to Supplemental Questions A–D
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. 1–2 publications; Also accepted: drafts of journal articles and dissertation chapters (preferably publications relevant to the proposed research)

Additionally, 3 letters of recommendation on your behalf are required for your application to be considered complete.

All questions concerning the Postdoctoral Fellowship should be directed to the Program account: usjapan(at)wcfia.harvard.edu


Email subject line: "USJP Postdoc Recommendation, [last name of applicant], [first name]"

Recommenders should email their letters directly to usjapan(at)wcfia.harvard.edu with the applicant’s and recommender’s names clearly stated. Recommenders should be knowledgeable about the applicant’s scholarly work. At least one recommender should be based in the United States. Sending via a secure service such as Interfolio is also acceptable.

Responsibilities of Postdoctoral Fellows

  1. Fellows are expected to take part in all Program activities throughout the academic year.
  2. Fellows are required to present their research findings at a Program seminar and to submit a 40-page research paper on a relevant topic for possible inclusion in the Program's Occasional Papers series. This does not preclude publication of the same research elsewhere.
  3. Because fellows are expected to devote themselves full-time to a major research project, working elsewhere during one's tenure at Harvard is not permitted.

    Postdoctoral Fellowship Application Form
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Application date
12 months
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology, History, Philosophy, Theology and religion
Social sciences : Demography, Law, Economy, Geography, Management and Public administration, Gender studies, Identities, gender and sexuality, International Relations, Political science, Environmental Sciences, Sociology