CWAJ Reveals 2024 Scholarship Winners

College Women’s Association of Japan celebrates 75th Anniversary 

The College Women’s Association of Japan (CWAJ) awarded six scholarships totaling ¥12 million in a special ceremony at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on May 15. 

The categories are the Graduate Scholarship for Japanese Women to Study Abroad (1972 to Present); the Scholarship for the Visually Impaired (1978 to Present); and the Graduate Scholarship for Non-Japanese Women to Study in Japan (1981 to Present). 

In 2023, CWAJ and Cartier Japan launched the CWAJ Cartier Scholarship for Japanese Women to Study Abroad. CWAJ and Cartier Japan chose to establish this scholarship to further advance women’s empowerment in Japan by supporting the work of a rising star woman entrepreneur. In 2024, CWAJ and Cartier have continued this partnership. 

Suz Wilkinson, CWAJ Director of Scholarship, said: “The CWAJ Scholarship Program uniquely accepts applications from scholars of all ages and fields of study and supports study at both Japanese and non-Japanese universities. CWAJ will introduce our 2024 scholarship recipients to our members at the General Meeting on May 15, 2024, and will post their profiles on the CWAJ website and social media pages.” 

CWAJ began shortly after World War II when a group of American and Japanese alumni from Mount Holyoke College worked together to help raise money for students to travel to America to study. Since then, more than 850 women from 47 countries have been awarded CWAJ funds, becoming leaders in their fields in Japan and other countries. More information about CWAJ’s history can be found at 

2024 CWAJ Scholars 

Cultural Exchange Graduate Scholarship for Japanese Women to Study Abroad 

¥3 million (Supported by the Japan Foundation) 

Aya Tsutsui

Education: B.Ed., Faculty of Education, School Teachers’ Training Course, Teaching of English, Kyoto University of Education, Japan

Study Program: Master of TESOL, Curtin University, Australia 

After graduating from university, Tsutsui worked for a year as a volunteer Japanese language teaching assistant at an Australian primary school. Since returning to Japan, she has taught English at high school for 16 years. By pursuing a Master’s Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, she would like to review English education in Japan. By learning the latest methodologies and practice, she wants to work on conducting better English education involving other educators. As a 40-year-old mother of three children, she is also ambitious to foster awareness of gender equality in younger generations. 

CWAJ Cartier Scholarship 

¥3 million (Funded by Cartier Japan) 

Tomoko Nakano

Education: B.A., Faculty of Law, Keio University, Japan

Study Program: MBA, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, USA 

Nakano has been accepted to the MBA Program at Chicago Booth starting in September this year. 

She has spent her career focused on contributing to local economies through business improvement. She is currently working as an advisor for Superavit Tax, the company that bought her father’s tax consulting business. She is using her previous experience as a M&A banker to help the post-merger integration and transition of the company. In addition, she provides financial advice to local companies in Chiba and Ibaraki.

About the award, Nakano said: “I pursued this scholarship because I could not fund my studies with a student loan. I understand this scholarship is very large and comes with responsibilities to the CWAJ organization. However, I am also very hopeful for the potential network of CWAJ fellows, who are global women leaders. Empowering Asian women really resonates with me, as I had many challenges being the only woman in the work environment some of the time.

“It is essential for me to receive this scholarship, contribute to the CWAJ organization, pursue my startup goals, and become a mentor myself to future women leaders.”

Graduate Scholarship for Non-Japanese Women to Study in Japan 

¥2 million 

Areum Ryu (Republic of Korea) 

Education: B.A., US and International Law, International and Area Studies, Handong Global University, Pohang, South Korea; M.A., International Relations; Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University, Japan 

Study Program: Ph.D., International Relations, Grad. School of Asia Pacific Studies, Waseda University, Japan 

Ryu has a background in international relations and global trade. She has managed global health and renewable energy projects in the public sector for the past eight years. During the pandemic, she consulted with small- and medium-sized enterprises to address the problems caused by a shortage of medical products and disruptions to their supply chains. Through her study on the impact of non-tariff measures (NTM), she plans to collect and analyze the United Nation’s NTM data and contribute to transparency and building trust in global trade policy. 

About receiving the scholarship, Ryu said: “I am deeply honored to be a laureate of the CWAJ scholarship. CWAJ’s dedication to education resonated with my experience, as my passion for learning has been my strength and shield in hardship. As a granddaughter of a generation who survived through the ashes of the Korean War, the passion for education runs in my veins, and so does the joy of sharing. As an international economics student, I want to use my training to empower people in need and embrace voices to further opportunities for women. Through the CWAJ fellowship, I aspire to inspire and be inspired.” 

Cultural Exchange Graduate Scholarship for Non-Japanese Women to Study in Japan 

¥2 million (Supported by the Japan Foundation) 

Sarah Sherweedy (Arab Republic of Egypt) 

Education: B.A., Japanese Language and Literature, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University, Egypt
M.A., International Japanese Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS), Japan 

Study Program: Ph.D., International Japanese Studies, Graduate School of International Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS), Japan 

Sherweedy focuses her research on literature, recognizing its profound significance in human expression. When translating a work by Dazai Osamu into Arabic, she faced challenges conveying his intricate narrative styles. Her research explores translating Dazai’s works into Arabic and English, analyzing his narration techniques and the influence of traditional Japanese storytelling, like rakugo and gidayu, on his work. Emphasizing Dazai’s role as a storyteller, her aims are to enable more authentic translations, enhance recognition of his influence on the Japanese first-person confessional “I-novel” genre, and advocate for Japanese literature. 

CWAJ Scholarship for the Visually Impaired to Study in Japan  

Two scholarships of ¥1 million each (Funded by Grandma-Short-Legs) 

Hayato Kishira 

Education: School of Human Sciences, College of Disability Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan. Master’s Program in Disability Sciences, Degree Programs in Comprehensive Human Sciences, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan. 

Study Program: Doctoral Program in Disability Sciences, Degree Programs in Comprehensive Human Sciences, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan 

Kishira is studying technology and environmental changes that reduce the difficulties faced by university students with disabilities. He is working on a doctoral program to explore the elements necessary for group learning that allows equitable participation. His goal is to become a researcher who uses his perspectives and experiences as a person with disabilities to engage in research and practice that helps to eliminate barriers. 

Haruna Tamaoki

Study Program: 3rd year, Environmental Studies, International Christian University, Japan 

Tamaoki is interested in soil and how it recycles substances from dead organisms to new life. This was triggered by her experience of observing large trees decomposing and returning to the soil in the forest; this made her realize the amazing power of nature. 

Now, she would like to study the effects of the types of organic matter and properties of soil on the differences in process and rates of decomposition of leaves, branches, and other parts of plants. In the future, she would like to be involved in studies of innovative farming methods that lead to a sustainable way of life. 

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