Greensboro Japanese Speech Contest 2021

The 1st Greensboro Japanese Speech Contest (GJSC) was held on the UNCG campus in 2016.  Since then, Japanese language students from UNCG, Wake Forest University, Guilford College, and High Point Central High School have come to our campus every spring to deliver their original speeches in Japanese.  And every year since the beginning, the Kohler Award has played a pivotal role in making the event a success.   
The GJSC is designed to be less a competition and more a community celebration of the participants’ commitment to learning a new language and engaging with a new culture. Simultaneous English translations ensure that the annual audience of family, fellow students, community members and faculty can all enjoy the students’ presentations. Videos, music, photobooths, audience contests (with prizes) and Japanese snacks and sodas add fun.

A panel of judges led by a senior official from the Japanese Consulate in Atlanta decides who wins special prizes in the beginning, intermediate and advanced contest categories but everyone goes home a winner.  Thanks in large part to the Kohler Award, every year all contestants and volunteers receive the t-shirt designed for that year’s contest and a certificate of appreciation for their hard work.  


Last spring, ongoing COVID restrictions prohibited an in-person contest; however, the Kohler Award covered web design and hosting fees making it possible for the 5th GJSC to go online.  The creativity of the online 5th GJSC presentations – including poems, songs, anime, stop action and VR shorts, and even a one-man mini-spooky movie – was so outstanding that the Japanese Consulate awarded two UNCG students, the 1st prize winners from the intermediate and advanced categories, roundtrip travel to Japan for a two-week guided tour of the country.  If not for the 2021 Kohler Award, it couldn’t have happened.

Article written by Dr. Yosei Sugawara, P.h.D., Language, Literatures, and Cultures