Earlier this year, two annual Japanese speech contests were held in the UK. Both featured a range of different applicants, of various ages, speaking on a wide spectrum of challenging topics. We spoke to the organisers of each contest to hear about this year's highlights.
The Ninth Japanese Speech Contest for University Students
The Japan Foundation, London
The UK space industry, vampire folklore, and the arcades of Japan as a meritocracy were among the many fascinating topics presented at the Finals Day of the 9th Japanese Speech Contest for University Students, which was held on March 1st at SOAS, University of London.
What’s special about the Japanese Speech Contest for University Students is that students of all levels of Japanese can enter, as there are three categories that cover the entire range of Japanese ability, from beginner to advanced. It’s truly inspiring to see the passion that all of these students have for using Japanese to communicate their thoughts and feelings about the world.
Take Gen Nen Ho, for example. He’s a 3rd year student of Medicine at King's College London, and also the winner of the Individual Presentation Category (aimed at post-beginner learners of Japanese) in this year’s contest for his very animated and intriguing presentation entitled “The Mythical Cambridge.”
“When the opportunity to take part in a speech contest came to me, I took it without hesitation,” said Gen Nen following the contest. “I believed it would be a great chance to test my proficiency in Japanese and of course, to meet people who share the same interest in Japanese... Despite being a medical student, I spend much of my time learning Japanese. It feels so good to be able to converse in Japanese and understand anime
without the need for subtitles.”