Sutematsu Oyama scholarship

Join us in Empowering the Next Generation of Japanese Women Leaders

As of September 2023, 35 million yen was raised to start the program. Funding target for the second year is 36 million yen. 88%, or 32 million yen has been raised as of 5/9/24. First Sutematsu scholar has been admitted at Wellesley College.

Request for funding by Masafumi Nagao, Chair (January, 2024)

In 2023, we established the Sutematsu Oyama scholarship to promote the development of future women leaders.  In 1871, at the age of 11, Sutematsu was sent to the U.S. as a member of the government mission.  In 1882, she graduated from Vassar College as a valedictorian.  She was the first Japanese woman to graduate from a college in the U.S. as well as in Japan.  Upon returning to Japan, Sutematsu contributed to promote the educational and social status of the Japanese women.

Even after 100 years, women in Japan still face various obstacles in a social environment.  We hope that Sutematsu scholars will embody the spirit of Sutematsu and demonstrate what she learned in the U.S. to empower more woen to make a sustainable impact in the society.

Thanks to the leadership of Akiko Kuno (trustee, vice president of US Japan Society, and a great granddaughter of Sutematsu), other founding members, and many supporters, we were able to raise 35 million yen, enough to fund the tuition for 4 years in a college in the U.S.  The first Sutematsu scholar was selected last October, and she plan to go to her college in the coming summer.  

We have started the fund-raising campaign for the second scholar.  We would appreciate your understanding and donation for this cause.

Objective for Sutematsu Oyama scholarship

  • To help develop female leaders who will work to improve the social status of women
  • To support Japanese women to study abroad to fully develop their individual abilities regardless of field and to grow as leaders who will contribute to the building of a prosperous and peaceful society
  • To ensure that the spirit of Sutematsu is continued by future generations, and
  • To send and support at least one scholar each year on a continual basis to a traditional liberal arts women’s college or university in the eastern United States.  At least 36 million yen per scholar is needed to support study at these institutions in terms of tuition and fees for four years.

Destination colleges for Sutematsu Scholars

Sutematsu scholars will have the opportunity to study for four years at one of the following six small, historic, residential, liberal arts college for women known for fostering women leaders.

  • Vassar College (coeducational since 1969)
  • Barnard College
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Smith College
  • Wellesley College

"Why I support this scholarship" by Akiko Kuno "What I learned from a women's college" by alumni


The scholarship will be awarded to one female Japanese high school graduate who will attend one of the above-mentioned colleges for four years.

Sutematsu scholars will be entitled to all the privileges and benefits extended to Grew Bancroft scholars, including preparatory support for college entrance, guidance during study abroad, and consultation on post-study career path.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must have Japanese citizenship and have graduated from a Japanese high school or have completed at least 8 years of formal education in Japan.
  • The family income of the applicant must be no more than 20 million yen.
  • The applicant must have self-recognition as a woman.

Recruitment and selection process

Application and selection process for the Sutematsu scholarship is basically the same as that for the Grew Bancroft Foundation scholarship.  (for detail in Japanese)


Grew Bancroft Foundation is certified as a public interest incorporated foundation by the Government’s Cabinet office, so donors can enjoy the benefits of Japanese income tax exemption.

For US based donors, donation to the Grew Bancroft Foundation (USA) Inc. is tax deductible as permitted by law under the 501(C)3 provisions of the US tax code. 

Donation in Japan Donation in the US

First year funding result: 35 million yen from 68 donors (as of September 2023)

Donation categoryDonor (GB: former Grew Bancroft scholar)
Platinum (5 million yen +)

Akiko Kuno (Trustee) Shogo Maeda (GB) Junko Watanabe/Keiko Watanabe/Ryoko Sado

Gold (1 million to 5 million yen)Yuki Niinami (Wellesley College Alum) Sakura Nishimoto (Wellesley College Alum)Edward&Priscilla Grew(Bryn Mawr College Alum)Eriko Kawai (GB) Kakutaro Kitashiro (Founding member) Mieko Wanibuchi, Mana Nabeshima
Silver (500,000 – 1 million yen)Naoyuki and Sachiko Shiono, Junichiro Adachi (GB) Masafumi Nagao (GB)
Bronze (100,000 – 500,000 yen)Peter Grilli, Ken Matsumoto (GB), Kirara Tsutsui (GB), Kazutoshi Ohkubo (GB), Yutaka Horiba (GB),Nobuko Kuzuoka (GB), Shigesuke Kashiwagi, Akihiro Nakano (GB), Aiko Ohkawara, Mitsuru Chino (Smith College alum), Yuko Takahashi (founding member), Shota Ebata (GB), Anna Ricker (GB, Naoki Ueno (GB), Norihiko Suzuki (founding member), Naoki Onishi, (trustee) Anonymous
Friends (less than 100,000 yen)Akiko Sasamoto (GB), Kosuke Yo (GB),Takeshi Hidaka (GB), Yuki Takeda (GB), Norio Akashi (GB), Kohei Takatsuka (GB), Ayako Nomizu(GB), Atsuro Wada(GB), Midori Kawaue (GB), Keiichi Honma (GB), Toru Ohira (GB), Jim Wilson, Aki Kinjo (Wellesley College alum), Norimichi Kojima (trustee), Ibuki Ogasawara (GB), Sachiko Ohi, Keiko Kimura, Yoko Hama (GB), Masahiro Hayafuji (GB), Yoshiyuki Yoshida, Crystal Brunelli, (Wellesley College alum), Yuki Shibasaki, Mihoko Manabe (Wellesley alum), Kagami Sakai, Tomone Stelter (GB), Issei Morita (GB), Hiromi Nonaka, Sara Uehara (GB), Hikaru Shimoda (Vassar alum), Kayo Motoda, Anonymous (7)


Second year funding status: 33 million yen toward 36 million yen from 53 donors as of 5/9/24.


Donation categoryDonor (GB: former Grew Bancroft scholar)
Platinum (5 million yen +)Shogo Maeda (GB), Emiko Watanabe, Anonymous (GB)
Gold (1 million to 5 million yen)Eriko Kawai (GB), Mana Nabeshima, Yuki Niinami (Wellesley College alum), Junichiro Adachi (GB), Masafumi Nagao (GB), Junko Watanabe/Keiko Watanabe/Ryoko Sado
Silver (500,000 to 1 million yen)Sachiko Nukazawa, Hirotsugu Iikubo, Mr.&Mrs. Robert (Ron) Fallon
Bronze (100,000 – 500,000 yen)Ken Matsumoto (GB), Noriko Yagi, Peter Grilli, Allan & Selina Rossiter, Nreiko, Hiroshi Yamashita, Sachiko Taki, Shigesuke Kashiwagi, Yoshie Ogawa, Naoki Onishi (trustee), Yasuyo Abe (GB), Hideki Masuda, Ibuki Ogasawara (GB) Naoyuki Shiono
Friends (less than 100,000 yen)Kosuke Yo (GB), Norio Akashi (GB), Yuko Okamoto (GB), Ayako Nomizu (GB), Akihiro Nakano (GB), Tomoko Hamabata (GB), Sara Iwasaki (GB), Hiromi Nonaka, Sachiko Ohi, Jim Wilson, Aya Tsujita (Barnard College alum), Tomoe Kondo, Takeshi Hidaka (GB), Anonymous (GB), Mike Stebbins, Mikiko Nishimura (Trustee), Anonymous


Founding members of Sutematsu Oyama scholarship

  • Akiko Kuno (Author “Unexpected Destinations,” great grand daughter of Sutematsu, former executive director of America-Japan Society, a trustee of the Grew Bancroft Foundation) “Unexpected Destinations” PDF version is available below as permitted by author/translator.
  • Grew Bancroft Foundation 


Unexpected Destinations (PDF)