Contact Us Sitemap
Coventry Young Ambassador Japan Conference

Pupils enjoy a Japanese language lesson (top left). An indoor skipping workshop (top right). A brilliant taiko drumming performance in the main hall (bottom left). Pupils take part in a football workshop (bottom right).

On 16th March 2018, lucky pupils from primary schools throughout Coventry took part in a day full of Japanese cultural activities and sports at the Coventry Young Ambassador Japan Conference, held at the Centre AT7 in Coventry.

The purpose of the event was to celebrate the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, highlighting the links between culture, language and sport. Participants in the day's events are now Young Ambassadors who are thinking up great action plans to get schools involved in various Japanese language, Japanese culture and sports related activities in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020. The event was organised by Japan Foundation, Howes Primary School, Coventry University, CSW Sport, Finham Primary School, Stivichall Primary School and West Coventry Academy and was attended by around 240 pupils from 29 schools.

The day kicked off with speeches from Mr Takashi Okada, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from the Embassy of the Japan in the UK and Mana Takatori, Director-General at the Japan Foundation London. Five-time Paralympian gold-medallist and fluent Japanese speaker Noel Thatcher MBE then got everyone on their feet for some Japanese Radio Exercises.

Everyone gets on their feet for some Japanese Radio Exercises (top). Paralympian gold medalist Noel Thatcher teaches a group of Young Ambassadors about Japan (bottom left). Coventry pupils try out their kendo skills (bottom right).

Well and truly warmed up, the pupils enjoyed a morning of Japanese culture with workshops on: Japanese language, origami, games, sushi, manga (comic books), ikebana, Japanese clothes, calligraphy, woodcuts, using chopsticks and Japanese stories.

After a short break for lunch, pupils were able to take place in a number of sports workshops. These included: kendo (Japanese sword-fighting), Japanese dance, football, rugby, goalball, martial arts, skipping and taiko drumming (traditional Japanese drums). It was great to see everyone trying out so many different kinds of sports and even the teachers got to join in!

Medal-winning Paralympian, Kare Adenegan, speaks about her experiences as an athlete (top left). Young Ambassadors try out some archery (top right). A workshop all about karate, a Japanese martial art (bottom).

When the sports workshops had finished, everyone gathered in the main hall to hear a speech by Kare Adenegan, a silver and bronze medal winning Paralympian, who encouraged everyone to be ambitious and to dream. For many of the attendees, the Conference was the first time they had met professional athletes and it was a really special experience. We would like to extend our gratitude to Kare and to Noel for taking time out of their busy schedule to take part in the Conference.

To finish off the day, pupils formed teams and discussed their action plans for Japanese-related activities to help celebrate Tokyo 2020. Pupils were then each presented with a certificate and a set of prizes.

Before going home, everyone enjoyed some loud and energetic Japanese taiko drumming, which was a perfect end to a day full of activity!

This event would not have been possible without the hard work of all of the organisers. We would also like to thank the event’s supporters for their invaluable contributions to the day:

Aspire Sports, British Kendo Association, Chiba Prefecture, Coventry Building Society, Embassy of Japan in the UK, Engage! Coventry, Japan Sport Council, Kenilworth Books, Ricoh UK Limited, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, The Japan Society, University of Warwick, Warwick Arts Centre and Yo!Sushi.

We hope everyone reading this has been inspired to go out and practise some sport and learn about Japan in the run-up to the Olympic Games! Minna-san, ganbatte! (Everyone, go for it!)