The 2013 Japanese Language Speech Contest

The judges and a cross-section of the audience listening to the speeches
A contestant making his speech

The Japanese Language Speech Contest is an annual event which aims at providing an opportunity for learners of the Japanese Language to prepare and give speeches in Japanese. This year’s speech contest brought together 20 contestants; both independent learners and learners from different institutions. The themes of the 2013 Japanese Language Speech Contest were:

  1. Culture of my people
  2. The Happiest Moment of my Life
  3. The Fun of Studying Japanese

The Speech Contest was opened by Prof. Mulinge (Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences) who warmly welcomed the guests and participants to the United States International University (USIU), the venue of the speech contest. He was followed by H. E. Mr. Toshihisa Takata, Ambassador of Japan to Kenya, who expressed his gratitude to the USIU administration, the sponsors, the Japanese Language Teachers Association – Kenya (JALTAK) among other groups and individuals who worked together to make the 6th edition of the Japanese Speech Contest possible.

Following the opening ceremony, the participants took to the stage. The experience was both entertaining and educative as was shown through the contestants’ creativity in the interpretation of the themes. The members of the audience for example, got to see and hear about a relationship unfold through emoticons, hear about a learner’s joy at joining the University and about another’s best birthday experience which turned out to be an unforgettable dream. They also got to learn about how children are named in the Luo culture, the Indian wedding ceremony, the Maasai culture, and the Kenyan culture as a whole. All the speeches were delivered in perfect Japanese. Those who were not as proficient in the Japanese Language did not lose out either since the speeches were projected on a screen in English.

A scene from the play performed by the USIU Japanese club
H.E. Ambassador Toshihisa Takata with Mr. Martin Tobiko Koipa, winner of the 2013 Japanese Speech Contest
Other than the speeches, there was also entertainment in the form of songs and plays, and a report by two students who had received short-term scholarships to Japan. The 2013 Japanese Language Speech Contest was concluded by the awarding of prizes to not only the winners of the Speech Contest and the entertainment group that performed best, but also a consolation prize to each of the other participants and entertainment groups that did not win.