The Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for secondary school students was held at the Embassy of Japan in London on June 29th 2013.
The 18 finalists, who had been selected from 203 applicants from 22 different schools across the UK, all demonstrated great creativity, thoughtfulness and outstanding ability in Japanese in performing their speeches – not to mention extraordinary courage to present their ideas in a foreign language to an audience of 130 people!
Between each of the three categories of speeches, the audience was entertained by Japanese children’s stories told to the musical accompaniment of Motoki Hirai, and an interactive performance of the traditional “tankobushi” Japanese coal miner’s dance by two members of the Japanese Language Committee.
Due to the extremely high level of Japanese and the thought-provoking content of the speeches delivered by all finalists, the judges had extremely difficult decisions to make when choosing the final winners of the 2013 Nihongo Cup. In the end, Ji-Han Choi (Key Stage 4and 5 Post-GCSE), Lusha Zharova (Key Stage 4 and 5 Pre-GCSE) and Anna Whitehead (Key Stage 3) were awarded first prize in each of their categories.
There were many young Japanese language learners in the audience studying Japanese, and we asked them to share their experiences with us. Christina Vivian, a student at Greenford High School, said: “I chose to study Japanese because I’m really interested in the culture and language so pursued to learn it... It has made my school life a lot more interesting!”
Anna Whitehead, winner of the Key Stage 3 category, said, “Japanese is a fun and interesting language to learn. Japanese culture is exciting and unique, and the food is delicious! I recommend Japanese, it is very special and you won’t regret it!”
Many congratulations and a big thank-you to everyone who came together to make the day such a success. The full results of the contest are as follows:
Key Stage 4 and 5 Post-GCSE Category
Winner: Ji-Han Choi (Hampton School)
Speech title: “Meeting with Code Geass”
2nd Prize: Bozena Odobasic (Gresham’s)
Speech title: “School Uniform”
3rd Prize: Rachel Lawson (Wolfreton School and Sixth Form College)
Speech title: “My Writing”
Clifford Chung (Hockerill Anglo-European College)
Yu Yeen Fung (St. Helen’s School)
Alvin Lei (Wycliffe College)
Key Stage 4 and 5 Pre-GCSE Category
Winner: Lusha Zharova (Sevenoaks School)
Speech title: “Anjin”
2nd Prize: Benny Dörnyei (The South Wolds Academy and Sixth Form)
Speech title: “Japan and Hungary”
3rd Prize: Mia Sutton (Aldercar Community Language College & Post Sixteen Centre)
Speech title: “Visiting Japan”
Maisey Hodges (Campion School Language College)
Ruth Ladani (Greenford High School)
Anna Spivack (Hockerill Anglo-European College)
Key Stage 3 Category (Speech theme: “My favourite thing”)
Winner: Anna Whitehead (Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls)
2nd Prize: Chris Grimwood (Aylesbury Grammar School)
3rd Prize: Setareh Rafahtalab (Queen Mary’s High School)
Elan Gadit (Whitgift School)
Taranpreet Kalra (Greenford High School)
Kai Dunlop (Campion School Language College)
The event was organised by the Japanese Language Committee of the Association for Language Learning, in association with the Japan Foundation London and Embassy of Japan in the UK. We are very grateful to Toshiba of Europe Ltd, JSA (the Japanese Speech Awards), Ricoh UK Ltd, JP-Books (JPT Europe Ltd), Japan Centre and Lingualift for sponsoring the event and donating prizes, and also to Sumisho Computer Systems for their generous sponsorship and to Soho Japan for contributing to the evening reception.