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2020 Judges’ Comments

This is our 12th year of the Video Matsuri! Thank you to all the teachers and parents for your continued support of this event. Despite the challenges that both teachers and students have been facing recently as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19, we have received a large number of entries this year and the Junior Secondary division again received the most entries. It has been a real pleasure to again see so many students enjoy the video making process.  There were many excellent videos submitted, from all levels and we would like to congratulate all the students, teachers, and parents who have been involved.   

This year’s contest signature item was a ‘すいとう or water bottle’ and the submissions showed many interesting and diverse ways for it to appear in the video. すいとう means a reusable water bottle or flask in Japanese. Some students chose to interpret this as disposable plastic bottles, and the judges were enthralled to discover how すいとう would appear on the screen. Other submissions focused on the action of drinking water, and others cleverly included in the plot of their story. The judges looked for and appreciated those videos that delivered a clear message through their script and included their water bottle as a key part of the story. 

Across all categories, the concepts of sustainability and friendships were a popular focus. Bottle flipping battles were also popular in a few videos. We were delighted to see that so many students were able to creatively express themselves in Japanese. It is also worth noting that video editing skills were particularly high this year, with subtitles, music inserts and scene switching cleverly applied. Some of the submissions were thrillers, with skillfully created suspense, and action that was extremely well choreographed.    

In the Primary and Junior divisions, a wide variety of genres were covered such as comedy, detective/crime, thriller, horror and drama. The winning video in the Primary division displayed outstanding skills and was based on the theme of the Olympics in response to the postponement of 2020 Olympics. The students held their own Olympics with a range of cross cultural events such as Kendama, Jan-ken-pon and bottle flipping competitions. The students presented well-rehearsed lines and chanting rhythms, and exhibited excellent team work. 

In the Junior Secondary division, videos that were highly rated by the judges were based on the lives of junior high school students and used real world settings including classrooms or their own bedrooms. It was great to see that many of the works were inspired by anime and movies. We were particularly impressed by the fact that there were many things that the audience could understand/ empathize with, even without knowledge of the original work. Unfortunately, we also noted that there were some submissions with violent expressions or vocabulary which was not considered suitable. So even though the story-line, acting and editing were excellent, they could not be considered. We imagine that there are many episodes related to junior school life that can inspire the making of a video. Stories that make you laugh, stories that make you cry, stories that make you want to scream, and so on. We hope that students will continue to choose fun or interesting topics for their stories that will appeal not just to their friends, but will also evoke sympathy and enjoyment for people outside the school.

The winning video sensitively portrayed a teenagers’ social life and showed how stereotyping can impact lives with a well thought-out script which was supported by good acting skills. The bright pinkすいとうwas effectively used on the screen to symbolize at first, difference from the rest of the group and later, acceptance into the group. The video delivered a heartfelt and optimistic message on how to overcome issues and the happy ending will, we believe, give courage and hope to other teenagers. 

In the Senior Secondary division, there were again a wide variety of genres covered including thriller, suspense, action-heroes and drama and they consistently demonstrated lots of imagination. Students’ hard work and care was particularly evident in this division where students were able to perform memorized dialogue and well-rehearsed action. The winning video had many levels: it contained the metaphorical wisdom of how we cause consequences by our own actions, it had a well-organised story line with a mysterious thriller twist and it was highly regarded because of its’ subtle message on environmental conservation to reduce plastics.  

In the Tertiary division, there were many videos that had a strong message regarding environmental conservation and recycling and it was great to see that many were connected to society.  The winning video demonstrated a high level of video editing skills and successfully created a mix of thrills and humour in the choice of settings. The well thought out tempo and unexpected comical twist in the story kept the viewers’ attention to the end. The strong environmental conservation message was delivered in a gentle manner throughout the story. 

It was great to find that teachers are using the whole production process and film making as an assessment. The process of video making is a great way to promote language learning, as well as creativity, teamwork and the integration of skills from other areas of study. We hope that this video contest will continue to give students the opportunity to showcase their Japanese and other skills, and reflect on their own learning.

All entries are available to be viewed on-line.  Many of the videos that were submitted had subtitles that made them more accessible for non-Japanese viewers in the school community, as well as parents and friends.  We encourage students to add subtitles to their work in their submissions in future.  We hope that students and teachers enjoy sharing their work and their learning of Japanese through video with friends, families and beyond. 

Thank you all for taking part in Video Matsuri—especially the teachers, family and friends who supported the project. We look forward to seeing your amazing videos next year!

The Video Matsuri Judges

Category Winners



Peace Lutheran College (QLD)

Junior Secondary


Caroline Chisholm College (NSW)

Senior Secondary


MLC School (NSW)




Special Mentions



Illawarra Primary School (TAS)



Park Lake State School (QLD)



Grand Avenue State School (QLD)

Junior Secondary

Unlimited Water Bottle

Hornsby Girls’ High School (NSW)

Junior Secondary

Akemi san no Suito

Santa Maria (VIC)

Junior Secondary

A Thirsty Murder

The Armidale School (NSW)

Junior Secondary

Densetsu no Suitou

Applecross Senior High School (WA)

Junior Secondary


Christ Church Grammar School (WA)

Senior Secondary

Mr. Bottle

Daramalan College (ACT)

Senior Secondary

Episode 1 – Bottles of Fate

Kelvin Grove State College (QLD)




View All 2020 Video Matsuri Entries

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