Next year I'll be going into an MA program paid in full by the Monbukagakusho and after that hopefully a Ph.D. somewhere.
I'm wondering though what are the prospects of a career in academia in Nippon?
I'm not talking about teaching English. I'm talking about qualified scholars who speak, read and write Japanese like... an academic.
I know that with the declining population the need for teachers and instructors from kindergarten to grad school is also on the decline, but surely that doesn't mean there are no prospects in the future, does it?
Anyone in the system have any thoughts on this? My field is Buddhism and Classical Chinese. Besides Nippongo I can also read (but no speaky) Mandarin and eventually I'll get myself literate in Sanskrit and maybe Tibetan. My Japanese isn't native, but I can read those thick thick academic works written even in pre-war Japanese kana and kanji, and even talk about it in a coherent manner (or so they keep telling me).
I've heard from both Japanese and non-Japanese professors that if you're a foreigner who honestly knows how to speak and write quality Japanese then at the very least getting hired as a contract instructor is possible, but tenure is usually not available. Still, working even just as an instructor for a few years in a Japanese university would be desirable. I imagine trying to teach Buddhism and archaic Chinese Buddhist texts to undergrads in Japan might seem unusual, but I do (and formally will) have the qualifications.
If all else fails I can always go work elsewhere in Asia like Singapore, Malaysia or even Hong Kong (or India, but that's highly unlikely so I've heard because Indians produce a lot of Ph.Dz and they don't have room for anyone else).
Anyone on the inside care to comment?