Nitobe Leadership Program

Nitobe Leadership Program

The initial Nitobe Leadership Program (Nitobe Kokusai Juku in Japanese) was a 10-year educational program from 2008 to bring together young professionals from various fields with diverse backgrounds to become public-minded leaders, equipped with a broad perspective to excel in an international environment both in and outside the country.

In 2019, we will relaunch the program with a new framework as the issues we are currently confronting are becoming more diverse, complex, and difficult to solve. By inviting experts in various fields who have put their transdisciplinary ideas into practice as lecturers, this program provides fellows with a platform to examine roles and possibilities from various perspectives. Ten fellows under 40 years of age will be selected each year through submitted application materials.

Nitobe Leadership Fellow Network

After completing the program, fellows become part of the network of almuni, currently consisting of 143 individuals. Through mailing lists and Facebook groups, fellows can continue to exchange ideas or organize study sessions and group discussions based on themes of interest, at the Nitobe Salon.

Overview of the Nitobe Leadership Program in 2019
Through diverse and intensive dialogue with lecturers and other fellows, this year’s fellows will examine the theme “Design and Take Action to Create Our Own Future: How We Can Transcend Shifting Borders.” We are living in a time of transition, when the existing order is shaking with shifting borders of nations, gender, religion, and corporate activity. In today’s world, where anyone can voice their opinions and individuals can be connected easily across physical distance, the flow of ideas and resources has greatly expanded and accelerated while the norms of creating things, be they goods or policies, have started to change. In other words, we are living in an era where anyone with ideas and the will can be a change-maker in the world.
This year, lecturers from various fields, such as creative thinking, local revitalization, politics and economics, diversity, and education, will be invited to bring new knowledge and worldviews to the fellows. In addition to regular lectures, there are a study tour to the Tohoku Area and intensive overnight discussion sessions.

Theme: “Design and Take Action to Create Our Own Future: How We Can Transcend Shifting Borders”
Term: June-December 2019 (total of 13 lectures; generally on weekends, 2:00-5:00 pm)
Tuition Fee: 100,000 yen (tax included)
Target Candidates: Individuals under the age of 40 (as of May 7, 2019) who are enthusiastic in contributing to society, addressing and overcoming challenges with innovative ideas. Fellows are required to attend all 13 sessions during the program and must have a good command of Japanese to engage in substantial discussions with other fellows. We welcome applications from people of all fields, industries, occupations, and nationalities.

*Application is closed for the program in 2019.

Selection Process:
First Selection: Written application
Please submit the following documents by 5:00 pm, May 7 through email (
Please send them via PDF type file format and save the file under your name.

1. Application Form Japanese Only
【Nitobe Leadership Program】(PDF)
【Nitobe Leadership Program】(Word type file format)
2. Short essay Please write an essay on the following topic either in Japanese (within 2,000 characters) or in English (1000-1200 words), on A4 paper, typed.
[Essay topic] What issue in society do you consider important and how can it be solved. Please refer to the following points:
・the issue and the reasons
・the impact on society of solving it
・the role you can contribute in solving the issue
3. Summary of short essay If the short essay is written in Japanese, please submit an English summary of 250-300 words. If it’s written in English, a Japanese summary of around 500 characters should be attached.

Second Selection:

Interview May 25 or May 26 (in English and Japanese)
Selection results will be notified by email.

Events for those who are considering to apply
・Nitobe Salon: Saturday, March 23, 3:00 pm ~ 6:00 pm
You are welcome to join a roundtable discussion amongst past Nitobe Leadership fellows to experience the Nitobe community. This will be an opportunity for you to learn about the Nitobe Leadership Program from alumni. [For more details]
・Briefing Session by the secretariat: Monday, April 15, 7:30 pm [For more details]

Supported by: Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation and MRA Foundation


Nitobe Leadership Program Website (Japanese)


Public Lectures ArchivesList

[Nitobe Leadership Program Public Lecture]
Design and Take Action to Create Our Own Future :
Being “Space Sweepers”
[Nitobe Leadership Program Public Lecture]
Design and Take Action to Create Our Own Future :
How Japan Can Be a Pioneer in Taking on Challenges
[Nitobe Leadership Program]
Briefing Session for the Nitobe Leadership Program 2019
[Nitobe Leadership Program]
Nitobe Salon
(Open to Nitobe Leadership Program 2019 candidates)
[Nitobe Leadership Program Public Lecture] A Door of Hope Opened by Wisdom: A New Japan-China Relationship with the Next Generation


Program Department
International House of Japan
5-11-16 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032
TEL: 03-3470-3211 (Mon.-Fri., 9:00 am-5:00 pm)
FAX: 03-3470-3170