The Tanaka Fund was established in 1974 as the result of an exchange of gifts between the governments of Canada and Japan. Canada offered $1,000,000 to Japan to promote Canadian studies in Japanese universities, while Japan provided 300 million yen for the enhancement of Japanese studies in Canadian universities. The funds were used to establish the “Japan Foundation Trust Fund for the Promotion of Japanese Studies in Canadian Universities”.
Guidelines developed by The Japan Foundation stipulated that the Trust Fund would be administered as an endowment and that the income thereof should be made available for the support and promotion of Japanese studies at universities and colleges in Canada. Universities Canada has administered the Fund since 1975.
Until 2016, support for Japanese language lectureship at Canadian Universities was funded. In 2018, the Tanaka Fund was restructured to focus support towards young emerging scholars in order to foster the next generation of Japanese Studies scholarship in Canada.