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What's On

Women and Sport in Japan new
Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) July 2020 new
The Japan Foundation Touring Exhibition:
The Superlative Artistry of Japan
New A-Level Workshop!『Motto Yomu CHIKARA』Workshop Part2 - Material Development new
The Fifteenth Japanese Speech Contest for University Students
Nihongo Cup 2020
UK-JAPAN Bridge Together Project

Women and Sport in Japan   org

This is the fourth event in our Sport Symposia Series organised together with SOAS' Japan Research Council. This event will focus on the theme of Women and Sport in Japan.

Guest speakers will be a mix of academic researchers and sportswomen. Discussion will focus on the changing environment for women and sport, in terms of participation, progress and challenges. Guest speakers will share the inspirational stories of their sporting careers.

This event is free to attend but registration is essential. 


Helen Macnaughtan
Helen is Chair of the Japan Research Centre and Senior Lecturer in International Business & Management (Japan) at SOAS University of London. Her research interests focus on a range of topics relating to gender, employment and sport in Japan. She has previously published on the history of women’s volleyball in Japan with reference to the gold medal victory for the ‘Oriental Witches’ at the Tokyo 1964 Olympics. She is currently researching the history of rugby in postwar Japan with a focus on the corporate history of the game.

Guest Speakers

Sakai Mariko
Sakai Mariko is an Olympian who competed in Artistic (Synchronized) Swimming at the 2012 London Olympic Games. After retiring as an athlete, she has worked for the Japan Sport Council (JSC) where she is secretary for a project initiated by the government to develop a better environment for female high-level mother athletes. She also works at Tsukuba International Academy of Sport Studies at Tsukuba University Japan as a researcher since 2018. She worked in Cirque du Soleil from 2014 to 2017 where she was inspired by many performers, and she incorporates these skills into current coaching for young athletes. Having served as a national coach of her sport over the last year, she has been seeking to promote her sport for both male and female athletes.

Hirano Yuka
Hirano Yuka is a professional female football player, currently signed at the Women`s Team of 1. FC Köln (Cologne), Germany. The Japanese attacker was signed up after trials and scored four goals in her subsequent first six games for 1. FC Köln. In a game against Wolfsburg she showed the data system what the coaches already knew – after running 11,9km, she ran more than any other FC player. When the Japanese national women’s football team won the Women’s World Cup in 2011, Yuka was 15 years old, and she decided she wanted a football career – preferably abroad. Now, at 23 years of age, she is making that dream come true. She has been in Germany since February 2019 and is teaching herself German. She doesn’t yet know how long she will remain in Germany, and her goal is to play in as many different footballing countries as possible, preferably in Europe and America. “I want to get to know different cultures and experience as many things as possible” says Yuka.

Christian Tagsold
Christian Tagsold is at the Department of Modern Japanese Studies, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. He has previously researched the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and its role for re-establishing national identity in Japan after World War II. He has broad experience in organising sports mega-events. He was a member of the Local Organising Committee for the FIFA Confed Cup 2005, the FIFA World Cup 2006, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011. He will interpret Japanese-English for Yuka Hirano as well as talk about his time with the Japanese women’s team in FIFA events.

Konul Nurullayeva

Konul conducts research at the University of Azerbaijan and is on the Executive MBA program at the Swiss Business University. She worked for the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan as Director of International Relations for over 10 years. She was the youngest and the first female chef de mission in the history of the Olympic Games to represent her national team in Vancouver (2010) and Sochi (2014) Winter Olympic Games. She was deputy chef de mission during the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing (2008) and London (2012). She was the youngest female CEO of “Baku 2020” (Olympic Games Bid Committee) in the history of the Olympic movement. In 2015 she was a member of the Board of Directors of the Inaugural European Games and chef de mission of the biggest team in the history of Azerbaijan. She is the first female representative from Azerbaijan to be elected in the European Olympic Committees’ “Gender Equality in Sport” Commission. In 2013 she was elected as the first female member to the Executive Board of the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF). She is Director of the “Gender Equality” Commission of the ISSF and member of the Coordination Commission of the 5th Islamic Solidarity Games - “Konya 2021”. She is fluent in Azerbaijani, Russian and English.

Panel Commentators

Nefeli Chondrogianni
Nefeli is a passionate sports professional and an advocate for women sports development. From her position as Communications and Technical Affairs Manager at Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy (FBMA), a government entity of Abu Dhabi – UAE, she oversees the expansion of the Emirate’s women sports offering by planning and implementing various initiatives that aim to make sports a part of every Emirati woman’s daily life. 'She is studying for a PhD in Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent (UK) on the topic of social impact of international non-mega sports events on local communities supervised by Dr Dikaia Chatziefstathiou and Dr Simon Hoult. She has an M.A. in Sport Management from the London Metropolitan University, UK, and an M.Sc. in Exercise and Quality of Life, from the University of Thrace, Greece.

Dikaia Chatziefstathiou
Dikaia is an expert in Olympic Studies and her work on Olympism has been widely published and cited. In the most recent work, she applies the theory and methodology adopted in her Olympic research into the world of football unpacking issues of power in the dressing rooms. She is Director of Research Environment and Knowledge Exchange, and a Reader in Olympic Studies & the Social Analysis of Sport at the School of Human and Life Sciences in Canterbury Christ Church University, UK. She is also an International Research Expert of the Centre for Olympic Studies & Research (COS&R) at Loughborough University, UK; and a Senior Associate of the Hibou Alliance of sports professionals worldwide. She is the winner of the inaugural Coubertin Prize 2008 awarded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Pierre de Coubertin Committee (IPCC) for her qualitative research on Pierre de Coubertin’s writings and speeches.

Mara Yamauchi

Mara Yamauchi is a former elite British marathon runner and diplomat. A two-time Olympian, she is the second fastest British marathon runner ever, with a PB of 2:23:12. She grew up in Kenya, and has lived in Japan for many years as a diplomat and professional athlete. Mara finished 6th in the 2008 Beijing Olympic marathon – the best performance ever by a British woman in this event – and was runner-up in the 2009 London marathon. She also competed for Team GB at the 2012 London Olympics. In January 2013 Mara retired from elite competition and now works as a running coach, commentator and motivational speaker. She lives in London.

Photo Credit: Marimo Images

Simon Rofe
Simon is Reader in Diplomatic and International Studies in the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, and Programme Director for MA Global Diplomacy, at SOAS University of London. His research focuses upon diplomacy, international and global history, with a particular focus on the diplomacy of sport. He is the author and editor of a number of books and academic articles including “Sport and Society: Games within Games” (Manchester University Press, 2018).


  1. 'She is studying for a PhD in Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent (UK) on the topic of social impact of international non-mega sports events on local communities supervised by Dr Dikaia Chatziefstathiou and Dr Simon Hoult.'

Date: 11 March 2020 from 5.00pm to 7.00pm

The Magic Circle,
12 Stephenson Way,
London NW1 2HD

This event is free to attend but registration is essential

Organised by:  
Sponsored by:  
Supported by:  
Part of:  
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Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) July 2020   org

The next JLPT will take place on Sunday, 5th July 2020 at two locations in the UK, London (SOAS University of London) and Edinburgh (The University of Edinburgh). The registration at each test centre will start in early- mid March.


Please see each university’s website for the application opening date and further details for registrations.



Please note that the registration at each test centre may close earlier when the test centre has reached its maximum capacity.


The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is designed to evaluate and certify the Japanese-language proficiency of non-native speakers of Japanese. The test is conducted twice a year, in July and December, in Japan and various locations around the world.


For more information about the JLPT exam and where to take the test, please visit the Official JLPT website

Date: 5 July 2020
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The Japan Foundation Touring Exhibition:
The Superlative Artistry of Japan


This exhibition captures Japan’s creative culture and monozukuri spirit through the theme of “superlative artistry,” which refers to the exceptional methods and techniques used. Starting with the craft works from the Meiji era, the exhibition features 38 items across a wide range of genres, including contemporary art, craft works, food samples, and shokugan (small toys sold with candy).  

This is the only chance to see this popular exhibition in the UK, don't miss it!

Date: 18 January 2020 - 19 April 2020

Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Crescent, Salford M5 4WU



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New A-Level Workshop!『Motto Yomu CHIKARA』Workshop Part2 - Material Development   org

Lecturers: Shoko Middleton, Michiyo Kato and Sachiko Yamaguchi

Language of workshop: Japanese (parts of the workshop will be in English)

Workshop content: This will be a hands-on workshop including the following activities:

  • Brief introduction of the new A-Level.
  • Introduction of activities using “Motto Yomu CHIKARA (the old AS resource)” for your A-Level classrooms.
  • Group work divided by units: Learning from each other by showing your materials and exchanging ideas.
  • Sharing the posters you will make with all participants.

Fee: Free (Registration is essential. Participants will receive a certificate of attendance for CPD.)

Requirements: Participants must bring examples of A-Level teaching materials that they use. They do not need to make new materials/resources. A small amount of material is fine, such as:

  • Handout or homework (single sheet will be fine),
  • Activity/vocabulary cards you use in your lessons,
  • Some work made by your pupils,
  • Some data such as PPT or Quizlet (please bring your own laptop or ask to print out in advance),
  • Others

NOTE: Please be prepare to share your materials/resources and explain usage methods, any good points, any points to be improved, etc.


The deadline for registration is 10th Feb (at 17:00).

Limit of the participants: up to 30 teachers
Registration may close before the deadline if the number of participants reaches maximum capacity.

Contact: Hiroko Tanaka  

Date: 22 February 2020 from 1.00pm to 5.00pm

Venue: Monticello House, Anglo Educational Services

45 Russell Square,
London, WC1B 4JP
(Nearest stations: Russell Square, Euston, Holborn etc.)

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The Fifteenth Japanese Speech Contest for University Students   org

Come along and listen to what university students studying Japanese in the UK and Ireland have to say! The finalists will give their speeches and presentations in Japanese to an audience consisting of members of the public, fellow students, teachers, families, key figures from the UK-Japan community and a panel of judges.

This event is FREE to attend, but prior registration is required.

To register to attend, please click here.

(The deadline to register is 25th February, Tuesday)

The Fifteenth Japanese Speech Contest for University Students is organised by the British Association for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language (BATJ) and the Japan Foundation London in joint partnership. The event provides an opportunity for students from the UK and Ireland to demonstrate their Japanese speaking skills.

Download our event poster!

Date: 29 February 2020 from 1.00pm to 6.00pm

Great Hall, King's College London

Strand Campus, Strand, London WC2R 2LS

There will be areception form 6:00pm to 7:00pm.

The 15th Japanese Speech Cont4est is generously supported by:



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Nihongo Cup 2020   org

Nihongo Cup is the Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary School students across three categories: Key Stage 3, Pre-GCSE Key Stage 4/5, and Post GCSE Key Stage 4 and 5.

Finalists will be invited to perform their speech at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford in front of a panel of judges and VIPs from the field of Japanese language education and Japan-UK relations, for the chance to win some fantastic prizes – including a trip to Japan!

Finals day will take place on 27th June 2020 (Saturday). Finals will take place at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford.

You can also find articles about previous Nihongo Cup finals on our News Page.

To find out more and for application forms, please download this "Application Pack" zip file by clicking here.

The Application Pack contains an application form, information and rules and a flier/poster.

The closing date for applications is: 20th March 2020

Date: 27 June 2020

Nihongo Cup is organised by the Association for Language Learning (ALL) and the Japan Foundation London.

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UK-JAPAN Bridge Together Project   org


UK-JAPAN Bridge Together Project: Sakubei Yamamoto Coal Mining Paintings World Tour

As part of the Beyond 2020 programme, the Bridge Together Project is exhibiting the coal mining paintings of Sakubei Yamamoto which have been registered as a UNESCO Memory of the World – the first Japanese artefacts to receive the honour. The exhibition will tour cities around the world in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games.


Date: 4 October – 15 November 2019

Venue: Embassy of Japan, 101-104 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7JT


Date: 14 September 2019 – 30 September 2020

Venue: Big Pit National Coal Museum, Pontypool NP4 9XP, Wales

Sakubei Yamamoto Coal Mining Paintings World Tour

Date: 4 October 2019 - 30 September 2020

For more information, please click here.



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