In this paper, two main organizations responsible for the support and education of international students in pre-war Japan are compared, namely, the Institute of Japan and China (Nikka-gakkai) and the International Students Institute (Kokusai Gakuyukai). The former was founded in 1918 for the support and education of Chinese students and the latter was established in 1935 to support and educate international students from other regions, especially South East Asia. The two organizations had received subsidies from the Cultural Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ended up being involved in its overseas cultural maneuvering.
The two organizations had similar functions: the provision of accommodation and Japanese language education, and other various support related to studying and living in Japan. Both of them came under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Greater Asia in 1942 and engaged in the education and training of those who would cooperate with Japan in the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Area.
From the analysis of the activities, budget, and board members of the two organizations, this paper highlights the increased emphasis on diplomatic and militaristic aspects in international student policy in the pre-war period. It also compares the perceptions of students toward Japan and the career development of graduates, which were found to be largely influenced by diplomatic relations between their home countries and Japan.