Cultural Activities

(Amended in November, 2019)

Visa status called “Cultural Activities (文化活動 Bunka-katsudo)” is applied to those who intend to engage in academic studies and research or study and learn activities which are peculiar to Japan and Japanese culture with no pay or salary.

The Immigration Office grants you Cultural Activities visa status depending on what you wish to study and learn in Japan and whether you have an experience in the field of related activities as well as you are capable of living without pay during your stay in Japan.

In order to be applicable to Cultural Activities visa status, you need to have a visa sponsor which is willing to sponsor your visa application in Japan. In addition, you must satisfy the requirement regarding your experience, your intended activity and visa sponsor in Japan.

Your application will be denied if you are planning to learn the Japanese culture like twice per week for 2 hours each during you stay in Japan. The period of course/lessons is not specified in the laws, however, you are supposed to engage in the activity around 12 – 18 hours per week constantly in average during the period of stay.

Basically, you may not earn money from your activity in Japan under Cultural Activities visa status. However, you may engage in a part-time job within a limitation of the permission once you obtain Permission to Engage in Other Activity (Shikakugai-Katsudou Kyoka) .
>> PERMISSION to ENGAGE in OTHER ACTIVITY

Activities applicable to Cultural Activities

[A] Academic or artistic activities or studies and researches without pay/salary

  • Unpaid study and research activities in Japan conducted by professors, associate professors, assistant professors and instructors who belong to the university overseas.
  • Unpaid study and research activities in Japan conducted by those who are sent from the research organization overseas.
  • Unpaid activities in Japan as a researcher under the guidance of university professors etc.
  • Unpaid internship for 90 days or more (Training Activities at the company in Japan for undergraduate student as a part of academic curriculum/course for the university overseas etc.).
  • Academic activities by enrolling to the Japan branch school of university overseas which is not approved as “Senshu-Gakko (Japanese special vocational school)”.
  • Unpaid activities applicable to Artist (芸術) visa status.

[B] Professional and academic research activities regarding culture and/or arts which are peculiar to Japan.

[C] Activities of learning culture and/or arts which are peculiar to Japan under the guidance of the professional.

  • You need to learn the culture and/or arts from the professional who has been teaching it with holding specific license, position or title in the field of culture/arts and the professional should be your visa sponsor for the COE application.

Examples for “Culture and/or arts which are peculiar to Japan”

生花 (Ikebana, Japanese flower arrangement), 茶道 (Sadou, Japanese tea ceremony), 日本建築 Japanese architecture, 日本画 Japanese painting, 日本舞踊 Japanese dancing, 日本料理 Japanese cuisine, 邦楽(雅楽・三味線・尺八など)Japanese music, 習字 Japanese penmanship/calligraphy, そろばん Soroban, 禅 Zen (Buddhism), 空手 Karate, 日本発祥の総合格闘技 Mixed Martial Arts (i.e. Shooto)

BASIC REQUIREMENTS for Cultural Activities

Regardless of which visa status you will apply for, you need to satisfy the criteria first.
>> CRITERIA of visa status

You need to satisfy the following items and be applicable to one of (A) – (C) below.

  1. Your activity in Japan under Cultural Activities visa status does not involve any income.
  2. You are capable to make living without any income in Japan during the period of stay in Japan and you can provide documentary proof to certify the capability.
  3. You have a visa sponsor who can sponsor your visa application in Japan.

[A] Academic or artistic activities or studies and researches without pay/salary

Your activity in Japan must falls under either of the following activities.

  1. Unpaid study and research activities in Japan conducted by professors, associate professors, assistant professors and instructors who belong to the university overseas.
  2. Unpaid study and research activities in Japan conducted by those who is sent from the research organization overseas.
  3. Unpaid activities in Japan as a researcher under the guidance of university professors etc.
  4. Unpaid internship for 90 days or more (Training Activities at the company in Japan for undergraduate student as a part of academic curriculum/course for the university overseas etc.).
  5. Academic activities by enrolling to the Japan branch school of university overseas which is not approved as “Senshu-Gakko (Japanese special vocational school)”.
  6. Unpaid activities applicable to Artist (芸術) visa status.

In addition, you need to satisfy all the following items;

  • Your activity in Japan is not applicable to other visa status; i.e. Student, Designated Activities (Notification No. 9: Internship) or Temporary Visitor
  • You have any academic or artistic achievements related to your activity in Japan.
  • You can provide specific and detailed plan for your activity in Japan.

[B] Professional and academic research activities regarding culture and/or arts which are peculiar to Japan.

  • Your activity has to be professional and academic research related to the Japanese culture or arts, and you can provide specific and detailed plan for the activity in Japan.
  • You have any academic or artistic achievements and enough background related to the Japanese culture/arts you intend to study and research in Japan.

[C] Activities of learning culture and/or arts which are peculiar to Japan under the guidance of the professional.

  • The contents, period etc. of the course/lessons you join in Japan has to be specific and can be considered enough activity for learning Japanese culture/arts.
  • You have any academic or artistic achievements or backgrounds related to the Japanese culture/arts you intend to learn in Japan and you are capable enough to take course/lessons of the professional.
  • Professional who teach you the Japanese culture/arts has to obtain any license, position or title and has enough experience of teaching it.

PROCEDURES

In case you are currently residing outside Japan yet or you are staying in Japan as a temporary visitor:
>> COE Application

In case you have been in Japan under specific status and holding Residence Card already:
>> Change of Visa Status

BASIC REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

You are required to prepare documents which certify that the contents of the application are true and correct. Necessary documents are varied depending on the situation of each applicant and the host organization/company, however, it shall be as follows:

(1)Application Form
(2)Portrait Photo (H 4cm x W 3cm)
(3)COE application only: envelope with necessary stamps.
(4)Application for change only: the original of passport and Residence Card (在留カード).
(5)Documents to certify the visa sponsor and the activity in Japan

  • Detailed activity plan which clarify the content of the activity in Japan and the period specifically.
  • Documents to certify the overview of the visa sponsor (e.g. organization or school etc. you intend to join in for the activity): leaflet, brochure or copy of website pages. etc.

(6)Documents to certify your academic or artistic achievements related to the Japanese culture/arts you intend to study, research or learn in Japan.

  • Recommendation letter from the related parties, institution, organization etc.
  • News or reports regarding the activity related to the Japanese culture/arts which you have done in the past. 過去の活動に関する報道
  • Your achievements of prize or winning etc.
  • Catalog, inventory, portfolio etc. of your theses, papers, or works.

(7)Documents to certify your financial capability to make living in Japan without income from your activity in Japan.

  • In case you (applicant) pay the expenses for your stay in Japan by yourself: either one of the following;
    – Certificates for the receipt of scholarship/grant.
    – Bank Certificate or Certificate of Deposit etc. of your (applicant’s) own bank account.
    – Any other documents related or similar to above.
  • In case other person pay the expenses for your stay in Japan: either one of the following;
    – Tax/Income Certificate and Tax payment Certificate of Individual inhabitant tax (住民税の所得・課税証明書および納税証明書).
    – In case the person is a non-resident of Japan: Bank Certificate etc. of the person’s own bank account.
    – Any other documents related or similar to above.

(8)In case that you learn the Japanese culture/arts from the professional in Japan: either one of the following documents which clarify the experience, career and achievements of the professional;

  • a copy of license or certificate of the title etc.
  • Catalog, inventory, portfolio etc. of his/her theses, papers, or works.
  • C/V or Resume

NOTE

  • All the documents written in foreign languages need to attach Japanese translation.
  • Additional documents may be required during the screening at the Immigration Office after submitting the application.
  • Any certificate of Japanese authorities (Tax/Income Certificate, Certificate of Residence, Certificate of Company Register etc.) has to be the one issued within 3 months before the date of application.

PERIOD OF STAY

Each visa status has the expiration date – you can stay in Japan under the visa status during the specific period stated on Residence Card issued by Immigration Office.

Period of stay shall be decided by Immigration Office depends on the applicant’s circumstance, and it shall be either of 3 years, 1 year, 6 months or 3 months. The period of stay is granted by the Immigration Office based on each case and situation.

In case you wish to extend the period of stay granted, you may apply for Extension of Period of Stay before the expiry date.
>> EXTENSION OF PERIOD OF STAY (VISA RENEWAL)

In case you would like to travel outside Japan temporarily under the visa status.
>> Re-Entry Permit

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