JET Programme – Statement of Purpose


Completing your JET application? Just don’t know what do say on that JET Statement of Purpose (US) or JET Personal Statement (UK)? Check out the advice and some of the samples below.


Apologies but some of the links to JET SoP’s no longer work with the demise of the Big Daikon site. If you have links to good JET essays please contact us.

Statement of Purpose (SoP) Advice

The Statement of Purpose is the part of the application which likely plays a huge part in any success. Take your time crafting the best Personal Statement you can. Your SoP should elaborate on the strengths you’ve brought up in your application, and should refer to the traits JET is looking for. Provide brief anecdotes about experiences you’ve listed in the application. Show some personality, give the interviewers a reason to remember you. Also, have other people look over your SoP. This is a professional-calibre essay, not something for an intro English class.

Special note for UK JET applicants: The essays for Americans (Statement of Purpose) and the British (Personal Statement) are relatively similar, so the following samples are of use. Also, there’s no definitive ‘correct way’ to write a JET Personal Statement. Just as long as you’ve answered clearly the three questions required on the UK JET application it should be fine. You can answer the three questions distinctly or, if you prefer, write it in one essay. However for ease of reading it’s suggested you break it into sections. Just don’t muddle them up into an ill-defined personal statement without letting your personality shine through. An outline from JET-UK for the personal statement is here.

The Top Ten DO NOTS:

1. Detailed discussion of mental or physical health issues.
2. Serious grammar, zero punctuation and/or spelling mistakes.
3. Not answering the question and/or very very very long sentences that never actually reach a point. Don’t waffle on about one unimportant point and drag it out to be a paragraph, then talk about lots of other really good points and skimp on the details.
4. Criticising anyone or anything.
5. Writing too much or too little.
6. Talking about what you want, instead of what you can do. Whatever you say in your statement, it should link back to why you’d make a good candidate.
7. Giving examples, especially long winded ones. Tell them succintly how this experience/qualification/expertise/interest relates to what JET is looking for.
8. The mention of anime, manga, or video games. Some people debate this notion. If you simply MUST mention them, then see Points 7 and 9
9. Simplistic interests. If you have a personal interest in an aspect of Japanese culture, mention it, but tread cautiously. For example, it’s fine to enjoy ikebana or karate, but don’t spend the majority of your essay talking about it.
10.Make sweeping statements about Japan/Japanese which may be insulting and/or patronising

The personal statement should be between 800 and 1000 words long, word processed, font size 12 and double spaced on A4 paper. As long as your statement fulfils the above criteria, it will be acceptable (disregard the maximum page limit on the application form)*. Further to Point 2, it should be devoid of spelling and grammar errors. It should flow well. It should sound good when you read it. You do not want to be remembered as the candidate who couldn’t tell the difference between “its” and “it’s”. Remember, you’re applying to teach English to Japanese students. It won’t reflect well on you if you don’t have adequate command of the English language yourself. Have other people review and edit your essay, preferably trained professionals (like English or Journalism professors). If you don’t have professionals, use who you can find. Just make sure that you have this essay as polished as you can make it before you submit.

* This information was provided to me by a JET representative several years ago. However the following email was sent to me in November 2012 by the JET Program Coordinator in Miami. It is provided FYI.

“A JET applicant messaged me to tell me that this webpage is telling applicants to disregard the Statement of Purpose’s strict 2 page requirement as stated on the JET Program USA website and instead abide by a 800-1000 word guideline instead. After reviewing it myself, I see that this is indeed the case. Please do not advocate that applicants should break any of the parameters that have been set by the JET Program. The two-page limit is absolute; anything beyond that will be ignored by the reviewers. Given how many applications we receive, it is important that all applicants follow the rules and do not try to take an unfair advantage over their peers. Doing so may actually hurt their chances. I appreciate that you have built a webpage to try to encourage JET applicants, but please do not try to undermine the guidelines that they need to follow. If the official websites say that something is required, then it is required.”

Ganbatte and good luck! If you find the information on this page useful please consider making a small donation to keep us up and running. Thanks.

Sample One

This Statement of Purpose was written by a successful JET applicant

There are three broad reasons why I would like to participate in the JET program which also encompass my career goals. The first consideration is that all of my university studies were structured around internationalist issues with the aim of eventually working overseas, more specifically within the Pacific Rim area. My studies in California were also undertaken with this goal in mind, along with my travels throughout the Pacific. I would particularly like to teach and have applied to undertake a graduate diploma in Education with TESOL as a my major. However I consider the JET program offers a much better window of opportunity in this regard…

Read the rest here

Sample Two

This Statement of Purpose was written by a JET applicant who was granted an interview

As an applicant for the position of Assistant Language Teacher, there are four main reasons for my wanting to participate in the JET programme.

The first is of a somewhat indulgent nature.  I have long had an interest in Japan and have strived to better my understanding of the language, culture and society.  At school I studied Japanese history with a focus on the Meiji restoration and during my final year commuted the two hour journey to Edinburgh so as to attend weekly evening classes in order to learn the language.  In addition to this, 2010 saw me successfully applying as an independent student to study at a Japanese university as part of a summer class and was fortunate enough to be able to stay with a Japanese family for twelve weeks during 2011.

Currently, I am writing my undergraduate dissertation on the subject of social media usage amongst Japanese university students.  Despite all this, I know that there is still much I have to learn.  I would like to spend my time on the JET Programme improving on my existing knowledge, both linguistic and general, so that I can not only advance my communication abilities but also better show Japanese culture to the world…

Read the rest here

Sample Three

This Statement of Purpose was written by an unsuccessful JET applicant

I Want to Spend the Next Year in Japan

I have always done a lot of traveling; by the time I was twenty-one I had stepped foot on four continents. Growing up, I spent school years in Massachusetts with my mother and summers in the Western Pacific with my father. I also lived in England for a year, and in the last eighteen months I have visited England, Costa Rica, Mexico, Grand Cayman, and China.

My father lives in Saipan, which is the largest and most populous island in the Northern Mariana Islands. The journey from Massachusetts to Saipan usually had a layover in Narita; as a result, I’ve been to Japan at least fourteen times. However, every visit was the same. Fly into Narita. Spend the night in a hotel. Fly out the next morning. I have always wanted to spend more time in Japan, but the situation never presented itself…

Read the rest here

Sample Four

This Statement of Purpose was written by a successful JET applicant

If I am successful with my application as an Assistant Language Teacher through JET, I will spend the spare time I have studying Japanese after preparing for my classes in school and at home. I will resume my studies of the Joyo kanji, kanji compounds, sentence structures and spoken Japanese.

Read the rest here

Sample Five

This Statement of Purpose was written by a successful JET applicant

Language. It is a sign of who we are and where we come from. As language defines us, so does it unite us, but it can also impose barriers that drive us apart. As our society aggressively pursues globalization, individuals who maintain cultural sensitivity and strive for effective communication despite language barriers will be an increasingly important commodity; individuals who can also pass the gift of adept communication to others will be invaluable…

Read the rest here

Sample Six

My interest in Japan and Japanese language developed when I lived in Switzerland during middle school, where I had a Japanese friend who taught me a few Japanese words (cold, warm, etc.). When my family moved back to the US my parents chose where we lived based on whether or not the local high school offered Japanese. I am very interested in foreign languages, but after four years of studying Japanese it has become my favorite, and my current goal is to become a Japanese-English translator / interpreter…

Read the rest here

Sample Seven

This Statement of Purpose was written by an unsuccessful JET applicant

Out of all the countries I have ever visited, studied, or expressed interest in, Japan has always been the one in country Asia I wanted to travel to most of all. I was always interested in different cultures and countries due to my parents and their friends who loved to travel around the world. Exploring how different groups of people lived and trying to understand why they were different from my own culture were a hobby of mine. In fact, it’s quite surprising I didn’t become a geography or sociology major in college. Asia was probably my favorite continent; I loved to read about the various countries, they’re histories, classic books, design, and ways of thinking. However, my initial knowledge of Japan and why it’s my favorite country in Asia came from my neighbor Hiro who originally lived Sapporo before moving to the USA

Read the rest here

Sample Eight

This was a successful Statement of Purpose written by a JET applicant

The Japanese language and culture is the foundation from which my interest in Japan and the Jet Program has grown. I have always been interested in teaching English as a foreign language. The idea of improving the cultural awareness of students both in Japan and in my country and giving students a reason to speak useful English has been a dream of mine for many years. I understand most of the students have a low level of interest and motivation in learning English and my goal is to stimulate their interest by working with someone from the world outside of Japan with a different background and culture…

Read the rest here

An outline from JET-UK is here

Go to SoP Page 2

Go to SoP Page 3