Nihongo Cup Speech Contest

10th July 2021

To read about this year’s Nihongo Cup (10th July 2021) click here. To download the programme click here.

In case the link to the Japan Foundation isn’t working I have attached the information from the Japan Foundation’s website below:

On Saturday 10th July, secondary school students studying Japanese across the UK competed in the Finals Day of the Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for Secondary School Students. This was the eighteenth year the contest has been held, and the second time the contest has been held online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The event was held with a closed audience of family, teachers, and friends of the eighteen finalists. These finalists were selected from dozens of fantastic applications from students from many schools.

The categories for Finals Day were:

  • Key Stage 2 (Theme: “My Ideal School)
  • Key Stage 4 & 5 Pre-GCSE
  • Key Stage 4 & 5 Post-GCSE

As always, the audience was able to enjoy speeches on a variety of topics, including: the popularity of cats in Japan, climate change, female scientists, music, tourism in Hungary, one school’s similarities to Hogwarts, and much, much more. We were completely blown away by the talent and creativity of all the students competing.

Due to the limits of the online competition, applicants submitted recorded videos in advance of the contes to be played during Finals Day. This added an additional challenge for Finalists, who did not have the benefit of an audience cheering them on when they recorded.

The first finalists who presented were the Key Stage 3 Category students, giving speeches on the theme of “My Ideal School”. Third place was won by Polly Fletcher (Year 9) from Wolfreton School and Sixth Form College, who described a respectful, contented school environment for her ideal school. Hannah Baumgarten (Year 9) from The Holy Cross School won second place for describing her ideal school in Kyoto, named “Peace School” where the assistant teachers are all robots! Finally, first place was won by Adam Obied (Year 8) from The Dragon School, Oxford, who described his current school and compared it to the famous fictional Hogwarts School from the “Harry Potter “books.

During the first interval, we enjoyed a percussion performance by Lewis Kentaro Isaacs. And then it was time for the Key Stage 4 & 5 Pre-GCSE Category speeches! These speeches could be on any theme the students chose. Third place went to Caspar Gower (Year 10) from Matthew Arnold School, who told us all about “tricking”, an online sport combining kicks, flips, jumps and twists. Second Place was won by Emily Downes (Year 11) from West Coventry Academy, who spoke about women in science, introducing us to famous women in the field as well as the hardships faced by female scientists. Aimme Chen (Year 10) from Sherborne Girls won first place with her joyful speech encouraging people to write their own melodies and experiment with composition and music theory.

After the Pre-GCSE Category speeches, we listened to compositions by musician and guitarist Peter Kirkbride. It was then time for the final category of the day, the Key Stage 4 & 5 Post-GCSE Category. Nicola Kalita (Year 11) from King Alfred’s Academy won third place for her speech entitled “Where are you from?”, where she described her various personal definitions of “home”. Frankie Ennis (Year 12) from Whitgift School won second place for his exploration of the impact of music in film, inspired by the use of music in the Japanese film “Your Name”. And finally, first place was won by Emma Troman (Year 12) from Hockerill Anglo-European College, who spoke about the impact of climate change on mental health, and how we can tackle this issue by working together.

Every speech by each of the finalists was of fantastic quality, and the judges faced difficult decisions in deciding the winners. You can find summaries of the speeches from the day in the event programme, which can be downloaded by clicking the attachment of this post.

We would like to thank all our sponsors. Without their support, this event would not be able to go ahead. Thank you to Japan Centre, Japan Oversea Bridging Academy, JP Books, LinguaLift, Oxford Brookes University, Ricoh UK Ltd, SCSK Europe Ltd, and SUQQU Cosmetics. We also express our gratitude to The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation for their generous sponsorship and to the Embassy of Japan for their support.

This event was co-organised with the Japanese Language Committee of the Association for Language Learning.

27th July 2020

This year we found ourselves in the difficult position of trying to run the finals day of the Nihongo Cup during a global pandemic.

Rather than cancelling this special annual event, the organising committee, with the help and support of the Japan Foundation, the Japanese Embassy and Sasakawa Foundation, decided to hold the first ever (and hopefully only) online Nihongo Cup final.

With technical support coming from Japan, and students attending the event from locations right across the country, we were all amazed and impressed  by how smoothly the online event went. The contestants submitted their speeches as pre-recorded video files, but attended the day on Zoom with parents, teachers and supporters all signing in to participate live. Whilst it was a technical challenge for many of us, judges, honoured guests and even a range of  outstanding performances were enjoyed from living rooms all over the country. 

The only disappointing thing about this year’s event, was that the first prize in the Key Stage 5 section, which would normally have been an all-expenses paid trip to Japan to compete in the International Speech Contest, was unable to go ahead. Otherwise, our generous sponsors ensured that every finalist received one or more prizes as a reward for their hard work, talent and commitment to their studies.

The standard of the competition was incredibly high, and each of the students can be immensely proud of their achievements. 

Congratulations to all !   

Nihiongo Cup 2020 Winners

For those who are thinking of preparing for next year’s competition, you might wish to look at the following templates for inspiration. Remember that a winning speech will use the template as a starting point, and then develop their speech using their own ideas and opinions.

Template-my ideal town Standard

Speech Competition Template-my ideal holiday- Standard Level

Template-Japan Trip-challenging


Template- favourite thing -standard

Template- my dream -standard

Template-future career-very challenging

To help with your pronunciation and intonation, click here. Simply cut and paste your speech into the box and listen to the correct way to say it.

This entry was posted in GCSE, IB.

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