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The Thirteenth Japanese Speech Contest for University Students - FINALS DAY

A huge “otsukaresama deshita”* and “omedetou gozaimasu”** to the 23 finalists who took part in the finals day of the Thirteenth Japanese Speech Contest for University Students Finals Day on 24th February 2018 at Kings College London.

* (“You’ve worked hard!”)

** (“Congratulations!”)

This year’s finalists competed against applicants from 17 universities across the UK to make it to the finals. The quality of the entries this year was exceptional and the audience was treated to a series of fascinating speeches on a wide variety of topics.

The day kicked off with the Individual Presentation Category Finalists (post-beginner level), with the five finalists in this category impressing the audience with their knowledge on a number of topics, ranging from diversity in Germany to the Tour de France. The first prize was won by Ellis Warren, a 2nd year student at SOAS, University of London, for his fascinating speech: “Regarding the British – The British and Racial Tolerance”.  Second place was won by Sebastian Lim, a 4th year at Imperial College London, for his lively and amusing introduction to “Singapore’s Past and Present”.

Next up was the Speech Category for students studying Japanese as either a Degree or Non-degree Course. The judges were extremely impressed with not only the range of topics discussed by the finalists, but the breadth of their knowledge and their ability to talk fluently in Japanese about complicated issues. Hester Mullen, currently in her 4th year at the University of Edinburgh, scooped the top prize for her speech reflecting on what she had learnt during her internship in Shimokawa, Hokkaido. In her speech “Shimokawa, the Vibrant Future City of the Forest: What a Small Japanese Town Can Teach the World” she deftly discussed wider societal issues such as environmentalism and Japan’s ageing population using Shimokawa as an example. Second Place was won by Yee Ching Chow, a 4th year at SOAS, University of London, for her talk on “Negative body image and the influence of media amongst young women in Japan”, during which she movingly and effectively talked about her own personal experiences dealing with these issues. Finally, 2nd year University of East Anglia student Yin Kwan Lao won the third prize for her fascinating discussion of the causes of and possible solutions to the “NEET” issue in Japan and the UK, “From Young to Middle-Aged: Aggravating NEET Problem and the Importance of Family Education”.

After the Individual Category, the audience and judges were entertained by four lively group talks given by finalists in the Group Presentation Category (beginner level). The Group Category contestants were not placed individually, but instead received special prizes based on their chosen topics. The audience enjoyed talks on: “Alice in Ingurland, North and South” (University of Bristol), “Superstitions in Romania’s Cultural Events” (University of East Anglia), “Britain: expectation vs reality” (University of Leeds) and “Spicy!”  (King’s College London).

Videos of the speeches - coming soon!

We would like to thank all participants, their teachers and supporters, the judges, audience members and BATJ for making the contest such a success. In addition, special thanks must go to the generous sponsors: Bloomberg L.P., Central Japan Railway Company, Gendai Travel Limited, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Japan Airlines, Japan Centre, JP BOOKS, King’s College London, NHK World, Nikkei Europe Ltd., Oxford Brookes University, Regions, Ricoh UK Ltd, TOP CAREER, Toshiba of Europe Ltd, Wagashi Japanese Bakery and ZOOM Japan.

We would like to encourage as many undergraduate students of Japanese language as possible to apply for next year’s contest! Finally, students still at school may be interesting in applying for the Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary Schools, the deadline for which is Fri 23rd March 2018.