Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary School Students 2014

The Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for secondary school students was held at the Embassy of Japan in London on June 21 2014. The 18 finalists, who had been selected from 205 applicants from 25 different schools across the UK, all demonstrated great creativity, thoughtfulness and outstanding ability in Japanese in performing their speeches – not to mention extraordinary courage to present their ideas in a foreign language to an audience of 130 people!

Between each of the three categories of speeches, the audience had the opportunity to watch videos and presentations from the Federation of Abbey Schools and Netherton Junior and Infant School, two primary schools which teach Japanese language and culture. It was the first time primary schools have been involved in the Nihongo Cup and it was inspiring to see primary-level children show such enthusiasm for Japan at such a young age.

Due to the extremely high level of Japanese and the thought-provoking content of the speeches delivered by all finalists, the judges had extremely difficult decisions to make when choosing the final winners of the 2014 Nihongo Cup. In the end, Rianna Shah (Key Stage 4 and 5 Post-GCSE), Aisha Mariam (Key Stage 4 and 5 Pre-GCSE) and Hana Khan (Key Stage 3) were awarded first prize in each of their categories.

We asked some of the winners and other attendees about their thoughts and feelings about learning Japanese.

1st prize winner Aisha Mariam commented, “Japanese is a language I hold dear. Learning the language is something I really enjoy doing and would definitely recommend to everyone. I can’t stress enough how brilliant and exciting it is! It may seem strange to study right now, but with the growing influence of Japan around the world, in all ways, I can see it being a MFL in every school in England.

Theodore Nze, 2nd prize winner of the Key Stage 3 category, said, “I studied Japanese as it geared me up to more possibilities, and it makes it easier to communicate to other people. It has changed my life, how I act, how I speak, everything. I can safely say it’s the best thing that’s happened to me.”




The Japan Foundation, London