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Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary School Students 2017

Japan’s Shinto religion, morals in folktales and the impact of Japanese culture on music and art turned out to be winning topics at the Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary School Students 2017, which was held on 24th June at Conway Hall in London.

The 18 finalists, who had been selected from 127 applicants from 26 different secondary schools across the UK, all demonstrated great creativity, thoughtfulness and incredible ability in Japanese in performing their speeches – not to mention extraordinary courage to present their ideas in a foreign language to an audience of over 100 people!

The day began with speeches by students studying Japanese at Key Stage 3, who were all in Year 9. They all had to talk on the theme of “My Ideal Holiday,” but they could interpret these theme as they wished. The winner in this category was Olivia Boutell from Hockerill Anglo-European College, who spoke about how desire to travel to Japan and see the many wonderful sights there – including visiting a cat café! Her prizes included a Kindle presented by SCSK.  Samiha Rahman from Greenford High School came second with her speech – she also wants to travel to Japan to visit the aquariums there. George Amis of Bexley Grammar School came third, with his speech about travelling to Ethiopia.

Next was the Key Stage 4 & 5 Pre-GCSE category, for all students at Key Stage 4 and above who had not taken GCSE Japanese. They could choose any theme they liked, and the winner was Boju Khaw, a Year 10 student from St Helen’s School, who gave a fascinating speech on Japanese and Western folktales. Boju was presented with a laptop by Toshiba, among other prizes. Coming second was Anya Burakowski, Year 11 at Wolverhampton Girls’ High School, who explored the differences between Japanese and Western Art. In third place was Patrycja Juchum, a Year 10 student from St Michael’s Catholic Grammar School, who talked about what sort of jobs she would like to do in the future.

The final category was the Key Stage 4 & 5 Post-GCSE Category, for students who had taken their Japanese studies beyond GCSE level. In addition to performing a speech, they also had to answer some challenging questions about their speech to demonstrate their ability to use Japanese spontaneously. The winner, demonstrating excellent presentation skills, very thoughtful speech content on the subject of Shinto and a superb ability to answer questions, was Krishan Emmanuel, a Year 13 student at Harrow School, who won the top prize of a trip to Japan to perform his speech at the international Japanese Speech Awards.  The second prize went to Amy Watson, a Year 13 student at Wolfreton School and Sixth Form College, for her speech about the vocaloid Hatsune Miku, and the third prize was won by Ruchika Ganesh, a Year 13 student at Cheney School who talked about microaggressions and racial stereotypes.

Between each of the three categories of speeches, the audience had the opportunity to watch a performance of the Japanese myth of “Orochi” by , and have a go at “radio taisō” exercises!

Many congratulations to all the finalists, and a big thank you to everyone who came together to make the day such a success.

The event was organised by the Japanese Language Committee of the Association for Language Learning, in association with the Japan Foundation London.

We are very grateful to Japan Centre, JOBA, JP Books, LinguaLift, Oxford Brookes University, Ricoh UK, SCSK Europe Ltd, Toshiba of Europe Ltd and ZOOM Japan  for donating prizes, to the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation for their generous sponsorship, and to the Embassy of Japan for their support.

More photos from the contest can be viewed at our Facebook page here.

You can download the event programme with details of all the finalists, speeches and judges below.

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