Manai institute

Philosophy of Manai

Do What You Love

Manai’s mission is to create such a world where people can freely immerse themselves in the things they love.

The human race had to sacrifice a lot in order to gain freedom. Through the tireless efforts of our ancestors, many of us are able to live a life free of oppression, feudal systems, doctrines and traditions. But now, if you look around, there are many people who are unconsciously oppressed by morality, collective promises, moods, pressure and restricted behavior.

It seems that freedom today comes with the price tag of a restrained heart. It can be said that we can become free in our true sense when we were able to get rid of things like common sense and common understanding, as well as pressure, which inconveniences us because they are motivated by our own beliefs and interests.

Create a place for people to meet ‘academics · peers · coaches · self-affirmation’

Manai will create a world where people can truly and freely pursue the things they love. Learning is the only way to make people free. By learning, people become free from the narrow world view and customs, the fixed ideas created by the atmosphere, and they will be able to live their own lives.

Manai will create a place where people can meet different disciplines. There, one can find what they are interested in and experience the immersion in the study where they can act out of impulse and gut feelings.

Manai will create a place where people can meet lifetime peers. Peers to cooperate with, sometimes even compete with and work hard together – these relationships will surely continue for a lifetime.

Manai will create a place where people can gain coaches. Elders you will meet at Manai may not be a typical teacher. They are people who can enjoy studying thoroughly by themselves and constantly pursue their passion and lead people through their own actions.

Manai will create a place where ‘self-affirmation’ will occur. Originally, schools are not place to learn things. It is a place to gain confidence and peace of mind through experiencing feelings like “I can do it” or “I am okay as I am.” The sense of “I can do it” is the driving force to challenge the difficult things at first glance, and the sense that “I am okay as I am” is the foundation of the spirit to take another step.

Update our learning

People learn only from immersion. When you are deeply immersing yourself to something, you learn as much as you can in the process. Even if it is unbalanced, Manai will place importance on exploring and digging deeply into the subjects of his or her interests.

Everyone gathering at the same place, at the same time, acquire knowledge in a one-way method, memorizing and reproducing it in tests. Repeating this does not allow people to immerse themselves in their favorite things and therefore cannot gain learning to become free. We know that, and a lot of people also already know.

Learning makes people free. We want to update our learning so that people can be motivated by the voices in their head, learn by getting immersed, and become free.

Features of Manai

Research-centered student life

Students will focus on their own research.

While using research as a pillar of studies, students will also do experiment programs and workshops.
Students will not have one set timetable. Each individual will build their own schedule. In their research, students will set the themes by themselves, conduct experiments in collaboration with the Manai Mentor and other external mentors, repeat hypothesis verification, create report/article and present. Manai will not have one-way lectures. We believe that students gain maximum learning through interests, immersion and interaction with Mentors.

Collaboration with external research institutes and researchers

Manai does not ‘lock’ their students into a box called school.

Learning at Manai does not just happen inside Manai’s facilities. Students will visit universities and research institutes that partners and collaborates with Manai according to their own research, and develop research by obtaining mentoring from researchers working at the forefront. Manai’s students, Manai Mentors, researchers cooperating and collaborating – the whole network together, makes Manai.


The most important value at Manai is to affirm the difference from others.

To acknowledge the differences can be the biggest factor in research, and in cooperation with others in research and important in the process of creating new things. A diverse group that goes beyond nationality, gender, age and background with different ideas can help students grow to their potential and expand their horizon.

Student life after enrollment

Science-centered student life

At Manai, students will not have a common timetable.

Students will optimize their own schedule, centering on what they want to learn. Mainly focusing on research, students will spend their days selecting workshops, experiment programs and online courses that supplement basic knowledge provided by Manai.
Sometimes, in order to obtain a high-level experimental environment necessary for research, students will visit nearby universities and laboratories and conduct joint research. In that case, some students may do research all day long, while other days may be a camp style overnight research using weekends. On the other hand, students may exchange ideas and discuss with colleagues at lunchtime and cafe time and may continue discussion online after returning home. As for sports and extracurricular activities, students can enjoy things they want to with their friends.

There will be no days that are the same at Manai.


Manai will not have a typical lecture style learning, but will have the students’ research as a main method of learning. We learn the most when we are proactively approaching things. We can explore further and deeper by immersing ourselves. Investigate thoroughly. That is to research.

Analyze, investigate in detail, make hypotheses, plan an experiment and repeat seeking solutions to every problem. Experiencing those in depth, creates a sense of self-affirmation, creative thinking and problem-solving will enrich one’s life. Students will choose research themes that they are interested in and proactively learn by themselves, which will help them grow with new knowledge and discoveries.

Innovative Curriculum

Individually tailored program to learn through research.
No simple knowledge-acquiring courses, provide students an environment where they can proactively learn by themselves.

Under the guidance of the Mentor, students will immerse in their studies everyday and be able to write and present their research papers. Manai will provide every environment necessary for its research.
Manai will make full use of our network with researchers around the world and secure access to abundant and good quality knowledge and resources.

By providing these environments, we believe that not only can students freely immerse themselves, but also express themselves to their fullest.


To cultivate research abilities and to learn useful scientific knowledge, Manai has prepared about 100 experiments.
The knowledge required for experiments and writing reports can be learned through online courses and other sources.
It is most important for individuals to recognize the necessity of the different field of studies and want to learn more.

Our Mentors

Gaku Nagashima
Gaku Nagashima
Concept Director / Mentor

Concept Designer at Manai Institute of Science and Technology
M.S. in Applied Physics from Harvard University
B.S. in Physics from SUNY Stony Brook
At Harvard University as a PhD candidate in applied physics, Gaku worked on the phase transition of water using nanotechnology.
Besides working as Concept Designer at Manai, Gaku practices yoga and plays DJ.

Fred Junghans
Fred Junghans
Research Mentor / Experiment Designer
B.Sc./M.Sc. in Biochemistry from MLU Halle/Wittenberg
Fred’s main expertise in research is molecular biology and oncology. During university his research focused mainly on RNA-biology and microRNAs in the context of cancer progression. Besides research he has gathered extensive experience in private tutoring of Japanese students in science and English.On the side he is interested in kickboxing, yoga and all sorts of crafts.
Cristina Valle
Cristina Valle
Research Mentor / Experiment Designer
University lecturer; mathematics consultant for an IT company
Ph.D. in Mathematics and Information Science from Tokyo Metropolitan University
M.S. in Mathematics from University of Turin
For my Ph.D. I specialised in Algebraic Geometry, with a focus on plane curve singularities.
In my spare time I enjoy hiking and rock climbing.
Ildar Gaisin
Ildar Gaisin
Research Mentor
JSPS research fellow at the University of Tokyo
PhD at Sorbonne, Paris VI
Masters at University of Cambridge in mathematics
B.S. at University of Cambridge in mathematics
Ildar is currently working in arithmetic geometry. In particular trying to link classical number theoretic properties to the geometry of the Fargues-Fontaine curve.
Pavel Prosselkov
Pavel Prosselkov
Research Mentor
Lecturer at Saitama Medical University
PhD in Veterinary Medicine at the University of TokyoCand.Sci. in Biochemistry
MS in Biology and Biology Teaching
Interested in brain, behavior, and evolution
At Tokyo University as a PhD candidate in Veterinary Medicine,
Pavel worked on the evolution of IQ-affecting genes.
Besides working as Lecturer at Saitama Medical, Pavel practices Volleyball, ping-pong and badminton.
Daniel Kambey
Daniel Kambey
Research Mentor
Medical Doctor from Pelita Harapan University, Indonesia
At the University of Tokyo as a Research Student in International Cooperation for Medical Education under the Graduate School of Medicine,Daniel worked on implementing interprofessional education and collaborative practice in healthcare in the Asia-Pacific region.
Besides working as a Mentor at Manai, Daniel also runs a foodie account on Instagram and do career and life consultation.
Alexander Tang
Alexander Tang
Research Mentor
Lecturer at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Western Australia
Ph.D in Neuroscience from University of Western Australia
Stephen Lee
Stephen Lee
Research Mentor
Ph.D Candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University. M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University
Sarah Kostinski
Sarah Kostinski
Research Mentor
Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemistry at Tel Aviv University
Ph.D in Physics from Harvard University
Da Guo
Da Guo
Research Mentor
Postdoctoral Scholar at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University
Ph.D. in Neuroscience from University of Tübingen
Josephine Ng
Josephine Ng
Research Mentor
Postdoctoral Scholar at Tufts University
Ph.D. in Molecular Cell Biology from Innsbruck Medical University

Process until enrollment


Application period February 1st – August 19th

Applications will only be accepted online. Please apply through the indicated application form. Unless there are excessive amount of applications, everyone will take part in the assessment process. For detailed matters of participation in the student assessment process, we will inform the applicant separately.


Assessment Period Starts September

The student assessment period begins in September, and students advance research along Manai’s curriculum for six-months. During the period, students are not only evaluated based on achievements and end-products, but also are evaluated and selected by passion for science.


Enrolled students confirmed end of February

All the assessment will finish and students who officially enroll Manai will be decided. “Senpai” will be confirmed to support you as soon as you enter Manai. Regarding the admission procedure details, we will inform the students who have passed individually.


Enrollment April

Entering Manai as a first batch student, students will start their research of about two and a half year from April under the support of Mentor and Senpai.

Application requirements

  • As of September, you are enrolled in the 3rd year of junior high school or first year of high school (Please consult individually for students other than the ages listed.)
  • Able to commute to Manai Base in Ichigaya, Tokyo
  • Can communicate in English
  • Passion to express themselves through science
  • Current junior high/high school students can also join the selection process using their afterschool periods and weekends.

Frequently Asked Questions

Target age

Until how old are you eligible to apply?
Those who enrolled in a junior high school third grader as of September 1, 2019, or enrolled in a curriculum equivalent to that, or graduated from those schools by September 1, 2019, or graduated applicants who have advanced to the post secondary school, or who are older, can apply at any age.


Will all the lectures be in English?
The common language is English. The condition is to be able to attend workshops and communicate with Mentors in English.
How much English skill is required?
We do not establish certain criteria by external examination, but since research is often done in groups, everyone will need to communicate in English with group mates. It is also necessary to have a level of English ability to participate in English workshops and to read scientific papers and reports in English.


How much is the tuition?
Manai has a “Senpai” system, so there is no concept of ​​tuition. After making an official admission decision, we will ask for donation for operating costs, but it is not mandatory. Also, since the donation request is after formal enrollment, the presence or absence of the contribution and the amount will not affect the selection.

Assessment period

Are there no entrance exams?
Although there is no general examination, there is a assessment period of six-months. For the six-months, students enrolled to other junior and senior high schools participate in the Manai curriculum using afterschool and on Saturdays and Sundays. Students who do not belong to other schools will also participate in Manai’s curriculum by using during weekdays. Formal students will be selected from the state of the research process and research results during the assessment period.
What are the selection criterias?
We will select based on the state of the research activities for the six-months and the research results presentations. It is a comprehensive judgment in view of the research outcome itself, the ability to take advantage of the differences from other people, the ability to involve others, the ability to advance even in adversity and during research activities.
I have never done research. Can you learn from the research method during the assessment period?
Applicants who are new to research can also apply. Also, during the course of the assessment process you will learn a lot about the relevant areas, not just research methods. In the assessment period, the completeness of the research is part of the selection criteria, and emphasis is also placed on attitudes and approaches when conducting research. By doing this, we will confirm the fundamental basics on whether students can conduct research in Manai later.
Can you choose your own research contents?
Yes. You students will choose after consulting with the mentor about their interests, approaches to the issues that need solutions as well as group discussions.
Can I participate in the assessment period while attending other schools?
Yes. Students belonging to other junior and senior high schools participate in the Manai curriculum using after school and on Saturdays and Sundays.
What happens if I do not get selected?
Since you will not be officially enrolled in Manai, you can not continue taking the subsequent curriculum.


What kind of person will be my Mentor? Is it possible to change if I do not get along with my Mentor?
Mentor matches based on the academic field etc. where students are interested. In addition, we may find and match external mentors. Generally, you cannot switch, but we will consider by special consultation if special circumstances occur.
What can I ask my Mentor?
Mentor will give every advice in advancing research. From verification/consideration of research, selection of related workshops, introduction of online courses for supplementing knowledge which is missing in report in experiment program, etc. will be widely supported. Mentors may also assist you in investigating external partners and creating relationships.
Can you also ask about college or finding employment?
Mentors will consult about the course to be followed and the introduction to the laboratory according to interests and research content. You can consult broadly including worries and troubles with your Mentor.


Are there classes like general schools?
There are no classes where the teacher gathers students in one place in the same place and teaches students one way. We will set up a wide range of workshops related to each research that will become the main axis and contents that the students are interested in. A system is also in the works so that students can set up workshops.
Are there extra-curricular activities?
Yes. We will prepare a lot of extracurricular activities including observation and practical training. Moreover, we plan to gradually incorporate the extracurricular activities that were invented by students.
Will there be physical education or music class?
We plan to offer them as a selective workshop.
Where will the research take place?
Generally, it will be conducted at the Manai BASE in Ichigaya, Tokyo, but depending on the research content, we will conduct intensive research at partner research institutes and suburban camps.

“Senpai” System

Is there a chance that I will not receive support from my “Senpai”?
Generally, support will not be unavailable, but if they decide that student activities are not very appropriate, it may be out of the subject of “Senpai.”
Can I meet my “Senpai”?
Yes. “Senpai” will have contact with students according to their own methods. As an answer to everyday problems and doubts with e-mails and chat tools, or physically together with research and learning, or doing internships in actual laboratories and companies, various other opportunities for interaction are to be planned.
What can I ask my Senpai?
The role of “Senpai” is to provide exchange and support for students, financial support for learning, and provision of networks. As a senior in life, you can consult about your career etc. as well.

After graduation

When will I graduate?
Since it will be a curriculum for 3 years from the start of the assessment period, students who participate in Selection in September 2019 and formally entering April 2020 will be completed at the end of July 2022.
Is it possible to get support for acquisition of high school graduation degree certification exam (former university entrance qualification examination)?
We will not take exam preparation measures in Manai, but respond to requests and consultations such as related information provision and schedule adjustment at any time. Staff will provide support so that time efficiency can be maximized so that students’ research will be the center.

Commuting to school

Can I enroll from a rural area?
For September 2019 students, we are basically targeting those who reside within the school range. In the future, we plan to develop living facilities that can accept local and overseas students.
Can I attend another partner institution?
Participating organizations other than Manai BASE in Tokyo · Ichigaya will be used not only for regular use, but also for intensive research efforts and training camps. Therefore, as a basic school destination, it will be Manai BASE in Tokyo / Ichigaya.