The 11th Japanese Language Speech Contest

The 11th Japanese Language Speech Contest was held at the Embassy of Japan on Saturday, 17th March 2018. The speech contest attracted about 170 people among them 21 Japanese language speech contestants shortlisted from 41 applicants. This year’s contest had a regional outlook as for the first time, there was a contestant from University of Khartoum, Sudan and a contestant from University of Dodoma, Tanzania.

The speech contest was organized by the Japan Foundation (JF), the Japanese Language Teachers Association of Kenya (JALTAK) and the Japan Information and Culture Centre (JICC), Embassy of Japan.

Sponsors of the contest included, Japan Foundation, Mitsui and Co. Europe PLC, JICA Kenya, The Nairobi Japanese School. Marubeni, Valdivia Bio-Energized water, Rohto Mentholatum (Kenya) Ltd and Nippon Express.

The Japanese Language Speech Contest was officially opened by the Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Mr. Toshitsugu Uesawa. In his remarks the Ambassador reiterated that the knowledge of Japanese language by Kenyans helps to deepen the exchanges between Japan and Kenya and helping to form stronger bonds of friendship, opening up new horizons for both nations.
H.E. Mr. Toshitsugu Uesawa, Ambassasor of Japan to Kenya delivering his opening remarks

The panel of Judges for this contest was made of senior representatives of the Japanese community in Kenya. That is, Chair of Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industries in Kenya, Mr. Naoki Kumagai (General Manager of Mitsui & Co. Europe Plc); Chief Representative of the JICA Kenya Office Ms. Keiko Sano, Principal of Japanese School in Nairobi Mr. Takigawa; and the Director of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Mr. Daisuke Mizoguchi.

Following the opening ceremony, the Japanese speech contestants took to the stage to show what they had studied and practiced to that day. While the result of the contest was discussed by the judges, students from Tenri Primary School, State House Girls and Kenya Utalii College entertained the crowd with various Japanese themed performances which included Japanese dance, a song and poetry, respectively.

One of the participants of the speech contest delivering her speech in Japanese

The panel of Judges paying keen interest to all the presentations

Students from Tenri Primary School performing ‘Sooran Bushi’, a traditional fishermen’s song in Japan

A cross section of the audience

Winners of the contest were announced and the event was finally declared closed by Mr. Katsuji Nakamura, Chairperson of JALTAK Kenya. This year, the winner of Japanese speech contest was Mr. Paul Wahome, a student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology, who made a presentation on Japanese Anime.

Mr. Paul Wahome, winner of the 11th Japanese Language Speech Contest receiving a prize from Mr. Naoki Kumagai.

Group photo of the participants of the 11th Japanese Language Speech Contest

The number of Japanese Language students in Kenya is currently about 1100. Some outstanding students have been given the opportunity to participate in the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Language training program in Japan.