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The four Japanese Speech Contest Winners

All 4 top prizes at the Manitoba Japanese Speech Competition were won by UM students

UM completes a clean sweep

Students capture top prizes in Manitoba Japanese Speech Contest

March 16, 2020 — 

A trip, a description of an art form and a new experience – these were the topics of the winning speeches in the 2020 contest. Seems like typical subjects for students to cover. But, there is something unique about this event compared to other speech competitions. All the speeches were presented in Japanese.

Students from the University of Manitoba swept all four prize categories in the 32nd annual Manitoba District Japanese Speech Contest.

Introductory Level: Nathan Gagne
Intermediate Level: Keighlynn Veilleux
Advanced Level: Jinyu Huang
HyLife People’s Choice Award: Daigh Burgess (sponsored by Manitoba Pork Producers)

The contest is co-organized by the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg and is sponsored by The Consulate General of Japan in Calgary with the support of the Japan Foundation and Mitsui Canada. The current Japanese Consul General, Shigenobu Kobayashi, also acted as one of the contest judges. It is open to students who are presently studying Japanese as a foreign language and are of a nationality other than Japanese.

There were a total of 15 participants from the two universities who presented original speeches 3 to 5 minutes in length that they were required to memorize. All four UM winners are studying Japanese through the Faculty of Arts Asian Studies Program.

Group photo of all participants, judges and sponsors

2020 contest participants

This year’s speech contest was extremely close and the quality of speeches was so high that the judges needed over 30 minutes in a closed room to debate the winners.

The contest is a great opportunity for students to demonstrate how much they have learned throughout their university studies. “Students are able to talk about themselves and their experiences and display their knowledge,” says Japanese Instructor Satoru Nakagawa. As they create and refine their speeches, “they also learn a lot about public speaking, both inside and outside the classroom.”

The students will now participate in the National Japanese Speech Contest to be held online on March 29.


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