Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary School Students 2017

  • Krishan Emmanuel
  • Olivia Boutell
  • Boju Khaw
The Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for secondary school students was held by the Japan Foundation at Conway Hall in London on 24 June 2017. This event has now been open to the public for two years. The speeches this year covered a variety of topics, starting from “My Ideal Holiday” for the youngest Key Stage 3 participants, followed by individual subjects broadly chosen from society, art and culture, to which the participating Key Stage 4 and 5 (Pre-GCSE and Post-GCSE) pupils added their own original perspectives.

There were 18 finalists selected from 127 applicants representing 26 different schools across the UK. The speeches were all of outstanding standard and delivered in fluent Japanese in front of an audience of more than one hundred. During the intervals, the audience was able to watch a performance of the Japanese myth Orochi and to experience rajio taisō, which is a highly popular keep-fit radio programme in Japan.

The high quality and thoughtful content of the speeches given by the finalists presented the judges with a real challenge. The first prize winners were, for the youngest, Olivia Boutell (Key Stage 3: “My Ideal Holiday”), who focused on the itinerary she wished to follow in Japan, which included exploring hot springs, visiting cat cafés and learning more Japanese during her trip; Boju Khaw (Key Stage 4&5 Pre-GCSE: “Morals in Folk Stories”), who introduced the characters of Japanese folk tales by comparing them with their counterparts in British stories; and Krishan Emmanuel (Key stage 4&5 Post-GCSE: “What can the British learn from Shinto?”), who provided a deep analysis of the Japanese Shinto religion and won the top prize of a trip to Japan to perform his speech at the International Speech Contest in Japanese.

The many students who took part in this competition were, of course, motivated by their strong interest in studying Japanese. We hope they were encouraged by their experience and will continue their exploration of the Japanese language and culture. We look forward to more young people becoming interested in learning how to communicate in Japanese. For more information and photographs of the contest, please find details at:

The Embassy of Japan

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