The Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for secondary school students was held at the Embassy of Japan in London on June 21st 2014.
The 18 finalists, who had been selected from 205 applicants from 25 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 had the opportunity to watch videos and presentations from the Federation of Abbey Schools and Netherton Junior and Infant School, two primary schools which teach Japanese language and culture. It was the first time primary schools have been involved in the Nihongo Cup and it was inspiring to see primary-level children show such enthusiasm for Japan at such a young age.
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 204 Nihongo Cup. In the end, Rianna Shah (Key Stage 4 and 5 Post-GCSE), Aisha Mariam (Key Stage 4 and 5 Pre-GCSE) and Hana Khan (Key Stage 3) were awarded first prize in each of their categories.
We asked some of the winners and other attendees about their thoughts and feelings about learning Japanese. 1st prize winner Aisha Mariam commented, “Japanese is a language I hold dear...Learning the language is something I really enjoy doing and would definitely recommend to everyone. I can’t stress enough how brilliant and exciting it is! It may seem strange to study right now, but with the growing influence of Japan around the world, in all ways, I can see it being a MFL in every school in England.”
Theodore Nze, 2nd prize winner of the Key Stage 3 category, said, ““I studied Japanese as it geared me up to more possibilities, and it makes it easier to communicate to other people. It has changed my life, how I act, how I speak, everything. I can safely say it’s the best thing that’s happened to me.”
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: Rianna Shah (North London Collegiate School)
Speech title: “Food for Thought: Inspired by India”
2nd Prize: Dominic Oben (Whitgift School)
Speech title: “Let’s Study Kanji”
3rd Prize: Ridwana Uddin (Presdales School)
Speech title: “What I felt on the 5th”
Kirsten Bergfors (St Helen’s School)
Jane Liu (Wycliffe College)
William Sweetman (King Edward VII School)
Key Stage 4 and 5 Pre-GCSE Category
Winner: Aisha Mariam (King Edward VII School)
Speech title: “Relating Pakistan and Japan”
2nd Prize: Cynthia Dewi (Tile Hill Wood School)
Speech title: “My Experience in England”
3rd Prize: Thomas William Davies (Writhlington School)
Speech title: “Let’s Learn Foreign Languages”
Yuting Feng (Wolfreton School)
Lucy Hawksley (Bexley Grammar School)
Byung Sup Song (Whitgift School)
Key Stage 3 Category (Speech theme: “My Dream”)
Winner: Hana Khan (Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls)
2nd Prize: Theodore Nze (Aylesbury Grammar School)
3rd Prize: Taranpreet Kalra (Greenford High School)
Joshua Anthony (Dartford Grammar School)
Mark Potts (Campion School)
Symran Wedge (Queen Mary’s High School)
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 Japan Centre, JOBA, JSA (the Japanese Speech Awards), JP Books, Lingualift, Oxford Brookes University, Ricoh UK Ltd, and Toshiba of Europe Limited for sponsoring the event and donating prizes, and also to Sumisho Computer Systems for their generous sponsorship, to the Embassy of Japan for hosting the event, and to Soho Japan for contributing to the evening reception.
Finally, don’t forget that schools teaching Japanese or doing any kind of Japan-related activities can enter our Japan Webpage Contest for Schools – click here for further details.