Ever at the mercy of waxing and waning diplomatic and economic conditions between the two nations, there have been ebbs and flows of Chinese student migration to Japan since the late 1800s. For most of the past decade, around 60 percent of the international students in Japan have come from China. At present, Japan hosts 94,000 Chinese students, meaning they make up just over half of the 184,000 international students in Japan.

But who are these Chinese students? How do they get into Japanese universities, why do they come, and where do they hope to go after they graduate?

According to Gracia Liu-Farrer, a specialist in international education at Waseda University, "In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Chinese migrants to Japan were mostly economically motivated." However, with China now having overtaken Japan as the world's second-largest economy, the new generation of Chinese students coming to Japan are more affluent and aspirational. Many are supported financially by their parents and do not require part-time jobs to get by.