Results of the 29th Japanese Public Speaking Contest


10 March 2016

On Saturday 5 March 2016, the 29th Japanese Public Speaking Contest was held at the Marriott Hotel in The Hague.
At first, Ms Setsuko Kawahara of the executive committee, who is the chargé d’affaires ad interim of the Embassy of Japan, made a speech in which she expressed her gratitude towards the sponsors for offering splendid prizes and for their cooperation as judges. Minister Kawahara also expressed how much she looked forward to the many new experiences and ways of thinking she would learn from the participants’ speeches.
This year’s theme was ‘What I learned from my Japanese language studies /日本語学習から教えてもらったこと’. The 24 participants ranged from a 17-year-old high school student to speakers in their forties.
Some participants introduced characteristics of the Japanese language, such as onomatopoeia, demonstrative words, dialects and various proverbs. Others spoke about Japanese honorific language (‘keigo’) and manners of communication, and about the connection to other languages than Japanese. Still others addressed how their way of thinking had changed regarding their hobbies or jobs thanks to their study of the Japanese language, or about their own confidence and challenges. In other words, the speeches covered a wide variety of unique perspectives.
Not only did the participants use difficult phrases and sayings that even Japanese people barely use, but the judges and everyone who had come to watch the contest also took notice of the wonderful abundance of Japanese expressions.
The Winners
The Grand Prize: Mr Sebastiaan Kamp
The Excellence Prize: Mr Jan Veerman
The Excellence Prize: Mr Maarten Rutte
The Special Prize: Ms Cindy Zhang
The Special Prize: Ms Phuong Verra
The Encouragement Prize: Mr Hamza El-Kebir