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49th Japanese Language Speech Contest Finals

The 49th Australian Japanese Language Speech Contest Finals was held at The Japan Foundation, Sydney on Saturday, October 6, 2018, to showcase a wide range of brilliant speeches from two divisions:

  • High School Senior Division
  • Open Division

The winners from state and territory level contests in these two divisions and a high school senior division winner from New Zealand were invited to participate. To reach the Australian Finals, participants must demonstrate excellence in both language and public speaking.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the contest!

2018-Speech Contest Program

2018 High School Senior Division

Prize Name Speech Title
1st Vicky Feng
(MLC School, NSW)
My Ex’change’ Experience
2nd Belinda Ho
(All Saints Anglican School, QLD)
The purpose of life
3rd Amrit Kumbhar
(Norwood Morialta High School, SA)
The Cultural Difference I Felt During My Student Exchange In Okayama

Contestants’ Comments

I feel really honoured to had participated in the 49th Japanese Language Speech Contest. The Japanese Language Speech Contest was my first time participating in a national competition. I wasn’t a person who likes going up to the front in class or participate in many competitions. Due to that, before going to the competition I was nervous and worried about my speech and meeting new people. However, to think about it now I think this contest was a really good experience where I was able to refine my knowledge about Japanese and gain confidence talking in front of the crowd.

During the speech contest everyone was every helpful and supportive, so I really want to thank all of those who were at the foundation that day. It was good to talk to all of those who share the same interest about Japan and the culture. Although it was our very first time seeing each other, we were able to get close easily in a short amount of time.

I would strongly recommend anyone studying Japanese in high school to attend this competition. Even if you don’t win any prizes I think this would be a very good opportunity for you where you would be able to talk to Japanese natives and even do a presentation in front of them.

The 49th Japanese Language Speech Contest was a truly wonderful experience. I learned so much through participating in this contest, and formed lasting friendships with people from diverse geographical regions who are also passionate about Japanese.

In preparing for the contest, I was able to uncover nuances in the Japanese language that I would not have discovered otherwise. For me, the crucial elements to having a polished speech were lots of practice, implementing the valuable advice of my Japanese teacher, and even more practice. I found that my passion for Japanese and my desire to express my ideas were important sources of motivation throughout the process.

Not only was I able to improve my Japanese, the contest provided me with the unique opportunity to meet contestants from interstate/overseas who shared my passion. Our love of all things Japanese meant we bonded almost instantaneously, and this was helped in no small part by the friendly atmosphere of the competition. By the time we had finished the delicious sushi lunch generously provided by the Japan foundation, we already had nicknames for each other based on the topics of our speeches. Listening to the speeches themselves was another incredible experience. I was blown away by the depth and variety of the speeches, as well as their refined presentations, and I immensely enjoyed hearing the ideas of each contestant.

Thank you to all the organisers, volunteers, judges and sponsors for making this contest the wonderful event it was. It provided me with an invaluable opportunity to express my opinion, improve my Japanese and meet like-minded people, and has certainly fueled my desire to continue my Japanese studies. I would highly encourage any student of Japanese to give this contest a go. Enter with an open mind and enjoy the experience, because it truly is once in a lifetime!

Making it to the Japanese Language Speech Contest finals was a tough, but rewarding journey.

While preparing for the Japanese Language Speech Contest, I have improved my pronunciation and fluency beyond what I could have achieved at school. I was able to expand my vocabulary and expression, and the speech format gave me a chance to use my Japanese in a persuasive, eloquent manner. The freedom given to each contestant regarding the content of speeches enabled me to explore subjects beyond what is covered in the school curriculum. This made the contest more enjoyable as I was able to speak about my thoughts on an issue that interested me.

Listening to other contestant’s speeches was also a worthwhile experience. At the 49th Japanese Language Speech Contest, I listened to new perspectives and stories on mathematics, cultural identity, loanwords, among other topics. Every contestant spoke with passion and motivation.

The Japanese Language Speech Contest is worth participating in whether you just started learning Japanese or have learnt it for many years. The contest is an opportunity for you to use the Japanese that you have learnt in a more expressive way and the experience will greatly level up your Japanese language proficiency. For public speakers and non-public speakers, the contest is also an opportunity to be dramatic or learn to become dramatic.

I recommend the contest to everyone and good luck to future participants!

This is my second year to be able to participate in the Japanese speech contest held by the Japan Foundation, Sydney. The speech contest was very well organized and executed, including contacting and providing information for the participants before the speech contest. I would like to thank the friendly and welcoming staff for organizing the speech contest.

Through participating in this speech contest, I have learnt more about the Japanese culture, how to write good speeches, and most importantly, I have met many amazing people that share the same passion – the passion and love towards learning Japanese. I have also gained knowledge of how to write a speech that creates resonance. My love towards learning Japanese has increased after this speech contest.

The most important thing about this speech contest was not about competing or trying really hard to write a good speech. Everything eventually comes down to having fun and gain some unforgettable experience. Although preparation for the contest was tough, it was an honor for me to able to represent my school to compete in the 49th Japanese speech contest. みなさんも、頑張ってください!

Participating in the 49th Japanese Speech Contest was an invaluable experience for me. It was my first time to participate a nation final, which was so unforgettable and exciting. Every stuff member from Japan Foundation were very kind and very helpful, provided me a lot of help and memorable experience.Speaking in front of people is never my strength, let alone in another language. However after this event, I found myself much more capable when talking to other people in Japanese.  Not only have I been inspired by other contestants’ language abilities and topics, but I have also get the opportunity to speak in front of professional judges and people who watches the live stream. It was also amazing to meet all the other contestant from Australia and New Zealand. It was a pleasure to meet you all and I have certainly learned a lot through listen to your speech, they are all very inspirational and gave me new ideas and knowledge about Japan. All in all, thank you so much Japan Foundation for giving me such a wonderful experience in Sydney.(I also like the participation price a lot !) For all the future contestant of the Japanese Language Speech Contest, I hope you good luck and all the best.

The 49th Japanese Langauge Competition served as an excellent opportunity to demonstrate and test my Japanese proficiency and speaking ability. The Japan Foundation offered a warm welcome with kind staff and excellent service. I was also able to make new friends from all across the country and even New Zealand! I was astounded at the interesting and unique ideas that were explored. The level of detail and the amount of time each individual had devoted in their speech was absolutely phenomenal.

This was my first time competing in a national level speech contest and boy was I nervous. My tips to future participants would be to relax, not to lose focus and believe in your abilities; yes I know it’s easier said than done. But moreover, I would strongly recommend participants to get to know and build connections with all the rest of the participants; you don’t get to meet people who have delved into, and share such passion of the Japanese language and culture every day; it’s a special opportunity so make the most of it!  Regardless of winning or losing, at the end of the day you go home knowing you have done your best and made some new friends.

The 49th Japanese Speech Contest was a big surprise to me. It provided not only an opportunity to show your knowledge of Japanese language and skills of speeches, but also a friendly and comfortable environment to spend time and meet Japanese learners from all over Australia (even from New Zealand). The timetable was very reasonable for the participants: there was no need to rush, and before the contest, there was a rehearsal to help us be familiar with the process, and all the things were running smoothly. Many participants were highly thoughtful about their speech, which was very impressive to me. I have learnt a lot from how they organised their ideas properly and how they mastered their performances well. The staffs were easy-going, which let me feel relaxed in such a national-class event. Very tasty desserts were provided during the tea time, the participants could have a relaxing chat with cuppas and snacks. Through this contest, my enthusiasm of Japanese study has considerably increased. Learning Japanese is a key to open the door of a whole new world with fascinating and unique culture, and potential opportunities of your future. I believe the Australian Japanese Speech Contest is a valuable platform for you if you are currently studying this language. Best wishes!

Participating in the 49th Annual Japanese Speech Contest was by far one of the most amazing opportunities I have been given while I’ve been at school. Having come out of home schooling in 2016 and only learning Japanese for 2 years, I had no idea I would be given the privilege of flying to Sydney to compete in such a prestigious event.

In the days lead-up to the contest, I was so nervous… Upon meeting the other contestants and completing the rehearsal, I felt much more welcome and comfortable. All the contestants had a relaxing lunch together, which was a great way to get to know everybody and share a bit of a laugh before the seriousness of the competition.

If you are given the opportunity to compete, take every chance to practice your speech in front of an audience. I also advise to not get too stressed! Enjoy being in the moment and making connections with like-minded people.

Having heard each speech and the effort and passion of each speaker, I am now inspired to reach for greater heights in my Japanese linguistic skills, as I still await my first trip to Japan so I can experience what some of the other contestants spoke about.

The commitment the Japan foundation has in “bringing Japan to you” is an integral part of this contest, and I want to thank them for the wonderful experience. ありがとう。

2018 Open Division

Prize Name Speech Title
1st Vincent Law
(University of Technology Sydney, NSW)
Just a person who dislikes mushrooms
2nd Tom Wilson
A message for young Tamura
3rd Rupa Samanta
(Swinburne University of Technology, VIC)
Live the Life You Love

This year was actually the second time I’ve participated in the Japanese Language Speech Contest, my first appearance being at the previous competition last year. Why did I come back when so many choose to quit after their first attempt? I knew that my last year’s performance was not my best, and that I could definitely have done better if I had just tried harder. My love for the language, the support from my friends and teachers, and my determination to improve all contributed to my success. I encourage anyone with a passion with Japanese to participate in the Speech Contest, even more so if you have participated in it previously and wish to aim higher.

To the future participants, I’d like to quote Mark Watson, the Open Division winner of the 48th Japanese Language Speech Contest.  “…Think outside the box – bring our own story and perspective, and bring a thought or an observation that people haven’t heard about before.” I think this is an especially important thought to hold when you first start creating your speech. Though to add onto this I have a couple more points as advice.

  1. Work on your tone and accent – Remember, this is a Japanese Speech Contest. Try to sound as close to a native Japanese speaker as you can.
  2. Speak loudly – You will inherently speak more clearly and trip up on your words less. If you speak quietly you might end up mumbling, especially for long sentences or monologues.

The Speech Contest and the events leading up to it has brought me many wonderful experiences. From working closely with my teachers to making new friends, I am so grateful for having the opportunity to partake in this event and learn so much about Japanese, and the people around me.

I’m truly grateful that I’ve been able to participate in the 2018 Japanese speech competition. It was an encouraging and humbling experience for me because I’ve learned what I’m capable of and what I need to improve on. To be honest, I was unsure of my ability to win the Queensland competition. I felt like despite the years of effort I put into learning and perfecting my Japanese, it wasn’t enough, but my friends encouraged me to participate anyway, and they were supportive all the way through. It was an amazing confidence boost when I found out that I made it through to nationals. Being able to make it to the national competition after winning the Queensland competition was an amazing, yet humbling experience for me. Though I didn’t win, it showed me what I was capable of when I put in the effort to learn and apply my Japanese. Now I know what I need to improve on going forward, and I’m willing to do what I can to perfect my Japanese. I would say to those thinking of participating, don’t worry about what you think of your language skills, or whether you don’t know how to say this one thing the right way, or like me, you hesitate and stumble through most conversations. I hesitated and stumbled through the Queensland competition and didn’t even imagine I’d make it to Sydney, but I was chosen and it made a world of difference to me, and how well I did in the national competition. Don’t ever think that your Japanese skills aren’t good enough, because they are.

Everyone, you are awesome for two reasons (probably more haha), you study Japanese, and you made it to the National Japanese Speech Contest (can I get an amen?!). So, I congratulate you on your excellence and your motivation to study the very difficult language that is Japanese. I know what it’s like because I’ve been in your shoes, the late nights writing essays, the tears when trying to remember all these kanji, the hard work it takes to separate the pronunciation of 「病院」and「美容院」. But it’s moments like this, like the moment that you’re in right now, presenting your speech that you’ve been practicing for months in front of an amazing (and a little scary) audience of fantastic people, it’s this moment that makes it all worth it. You realise that all that frustrating and hard work payed off.

So, what now? What’s next? I want you to do two things! Number 1, is be proud of yourself. You’ve just done an absolutely amazing thing that you should be very proud of. Number 2, is realise the sheer number of opportunities that are out there, just like this one, because you speak Japanese at a very high level. These opportunities are out there, and they are waiting for you. The only question left is, are you going to take them?

I am truly grateful to all those who made my participation in the 49th Japanese Language Speech Contest such an enriching experience. Although there are clearly wonderful prizes supplied by the contest’s kind sponsors to be won, I believe all contestants, past and future, can walk away with something they can forever hold onto for the rest their lives. Upon preparation for the contest, I soon realised that language ability was not the only aspect I would be challenged on. I believe confidence also plays a huge role in speech delivery. Personally, I have never had many public speaking roles throughout my life up until now, which made the experience somewhat daunting at first. However, through this experience, I have learnt so much about unlocking the confidence to speak in front of a sea of people. This is something I wish to continue to work on and stay with me for the rest of my life. Throughout the contest, participants are also presented with the opportunity to listen to other participants’ speeches and connect with likeminded individuals from all different walks of life who all share the same passion for the beautiful nation that is Japan. Listening to everyone express their passions, dreams and experiences really inspired me. I know within my heart that I am going to continue feel passionately towards Japan and keep working towards improving my Japanese. I also know that I will forever hold onto the wonderful friendships and connections that formed throughout the contest.

The Japanese Language Speech Contest has been a great opportunity for us to apply all of what we have learned through writing and presenting our speeches. Personally, this has been a key experience which helped me to expand on my Japanese language studies and encouraged me to go beyond class work. It has also made me think about and learn more about my chosen topic in a deeper way which I may never have done if it were not for this competition.

Participating in both state and national competitions have also let us meet like-minded people who have a passion in Japanese language learning. This passion is also shown through the amazing speeches made by them. The wide range of topics and ways of delivery has been astounding and the amount of hard work and practice that they have done is evident when they present. I hope that they are proud of what they have achieved.

Overall, I am glad to have participated in the Japanese Language Speech Contest and would highly recommend you to participate and try your best. You will definitely get something out of preparing and presenting your speech and looking back at your hard work is both rewarding and motivating to continue your Japanese language studies to keep improving.

Being able to represent South Australia and participate in the 49th Australian Japanese Language Speech Contest Finals, it’s one of the most fortunate opportunities in my life. I still remember that when I started learning Japanese, I was feeling so tough and always wanted to give up half way through. A special thanks to my Japanese teacher and friends who cheered me up and always be there whenever I was struggling with vocabulary or kanji. From a random Japanese language learner to a Japanese Speech Speaker, it’s really a wonderful journey for me. Been through numerous practices and memorizes, finally it’s the time to give the speech even though I still felt nervous when I got up the stage. Thought about the effort that I put into, “just give the best shot that I have”… Despite being “nervous speaker”, friends coming across from different part of Australia as well as New Zealand, were so friendly and we actually talked about our lifestyle and of course our Japanese language learning process. How cool is that!

I would also like to say a big thank you to the Japan Foundation Sydney, organizers, judges, volunteers, guests, and my fellow friends. Without you guys, the speech contest wouldn’t run so smoothly. Although the preparation for the speech was tough, but I really enjoyed the whole process and had fun! It was truly an amazing experience for me and I do encourage people to give it a try. As people said “Never try, never know”. And the best highlight of this speech contest is that you get the chance to meet new friends and communicate in Japanese with them!

The Japanese Speech Competition is a unique opportunity to improve your Japanese and put your language skills to the test. The experience of writing your speech, practicing it and delivering on the day will help you polish your Japanese and use it in an entirely different setting. The most entertaining speeches are those that talk about a personal experience and use a touch of humour to engage the audience. It sounds easy but it is a challenge and one that is very fulfilling. I am looking forward to taking part again next year!

2018 Special Prize

Adina Apartment Hotels

Name Speech Title
Ming Hui Gao (Rossmoyne Senior High School, WA)
in High School Senior Division
Raising children – a demanding task

2018 Gallery

2018 Event Details

Date Saturday | October 6, 2018
Time 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Venue The Japan Foundation, Sydney
Level 4, Central Park
28 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008
12:30pm Reception Open
1:00pm Opening Ceremony
Opening Address by Mr Yoshihiro Itatani
Embassy of Japan in Australia
1:15pm High School Senior Division
1:50pm Break
2:10pm Open Division
3:00pm Presentation by Ms Kimberley Tay
(The 1st Prize winner of High School Senior Division in 2017)
3:10pm Afternoon Tea
3:50pm Award Ceremony
Followed by Closing Address by Mr Yoshihiro Wada
Director, The Japan Foundation, Sydney
4:10pm Photograph Session
4:30pm Hall closes
1st Prize

Middle and right images: © Kyoto Tourism Council

Return air ticket to Japan courtesy of Japan Airlines

Kyoto Bullet Train Open Ticket Package & Kyoto Sightseeing One-day Pass courtesy of Central Japan Railway Company

One day Mr Fuji & Hakone Tour courtesy of JTB Sunrise Tours

2nd Prize Duffle bag and $260 Running Shoes voucher courtesy of ASICS

$200 prepaid Gift Card courtesy of Temple University Japan Campus

$200 prepaid Gift Card courtesy of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

$100 prepaid Gift Card and university goods courtesy of Aoyama Gakuin University

3rd Prize $200 voucher courtesy of Kinokuniya Bookstore of Australia

$200 Running Shoes voucher courtesy of ASICS

Special Prize (×1) Overnight accommodation for two in Australia or New Zealand courtesy of Adina Apartment Hotels, valued at $500

* Every participant in High School Senior Division will receive Stainless Mug Bottle courtesy of Waseda University

* Non-prize winning participants will receive a T-shirt courtesy of ASICS

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