|VISA Q and A on FM COCOLO 76.5 MHz
Cultural Activities Visa (for Karate)
On Aired Data: June 1, 1999
From a Japanese male married to a female from South America.
He has a 22-year old brother-in-law who is currently studying Japanese martial arts. He won a national wrestling match when he was in High School and at the currently he is practicing at a nearby gym, dreaming to become a professional martial artist.
Out client has always wished that he could come over to Japan to study Karate, but the rumors he heard that it is very difficult to receive the visa prevented him from inviting him over.
But recently he has also heard from a friend that there is a Doujyou where many foreigners are also practicing martial arts, and fortunately had a chance to meet with the sensei there. He told him that as long as we arrange the visa, the sensei would be willing to teach my brother-in-law. He ran back home and gave the good news to his brother-in-law. Actually he already knew about this, but he was afraid of the expense. The client is willing to look after all the expenses, as long as he can come over to study Karate.
So the client would like to know if there really is a visa to study Karate, and what are the procedures to apply for it.
The status our client is talking about is the Cultural Activities. This status is granted to those who plan to do academic or artistic activities that provide no income, or activities for the purpose of pursuing specific studies on Japanese culture or arts, or activities for the purpose of learning and acquiring skills in Japanese culture or arts under the guidance of experts (for example, ikebana, tea ceremony, judo, etc.). Again, this is not a working visa, so those under this visa are not allowed to have income.
Since the Cultural Activities status holders are not allowed to have income, they would have to bring along enough savings to pay for the lessons, as well as make a living in Japan. If this is impossible, they must have someone, such as their parents, to transfer them money. In some cases, where one becomes an apprentice of an expert in the field, they are provided with shelter and food, in exchange to helping the teacher or sensei.. In this case, the apprentice does not have to worry so much about making a living.
The necessary documents are:
1. Documents concerning the Doujyou
(which “Ryu” they belong to, the curriculum, the teacher’s resume, number of student, etc.)
2. Graduation certificate (of college or high school)
3. Proof of winning any tournaments (certificates, newspaper articles, etc.)
4. A Letter of Recommendation from the current gym he goes to
5. Proof of income, and employment of our client
(since he will be taking care of his brother-in-laws expenses)
Especially 5. is very important, because the Cultural Activities holders need to prove they can make a living without any income.
Although some foreign professors and researchers at universities study the Japanese culture, they do not fall under the Cultural Activities status. Instead they fall under the Professor or Researcher status. These statuses are working visas, so they are allowed to have income. The difference is that those under the Cultural Activities stick to their own sensei to learn techniques and skills, as well as the whole Japanese culture itself, whereas Professors and Researchers do research on more academic aspects of the Japanese culture.