Based on teacher recommendation (and subject to review by the selection committee1), applicants enter one of the three competition categories: Category I, II, and III2. All applicants must satisfy all basic qualifications, as well as the relevant category-specific qualifications. Heritage speakers who satisfy the basic qualifications are encouraged to apply.

Basic qualifications

  • Will be registered in a Japanese-as-a-foreign-language class at undergraduate or graduate level in a 2-year college or 4-year university as of November 13, 2016 (J.LIVE Talk 2016 final round date)3

  • Has earned a minimum of six college level Japanese-as-a-foreign-language credits4 or the equivalent (as determined by the student’s university and subject to review by the selection committee5) by the time of application

  • Has not attended a full-time, secondary-level (grades 7-12) Japanese educational institution accredited by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, for 4 or more years.  

Category-specific qualifications

The following levels are determined by teacher recommendation based on the “ACTFL oral proficiency guidelines 2012 and subject to review by the selection committee.

Category I

  • Possesses intermediate-low to intermediate-mid level speaking proficiency

Category II

  • Possesses intermediate-high to advanced-low level speaking proficiency

Category III

  • Possesses advanced-mid to advanced-high level speaking proficiency


1 Please note that the selection committee reserves the right to place a contestant in a different category based on the committee’s evaluation of his/her YouTube video submission, and/or Skype interview to be conducted if necessary.

2 In the event there are not enough successful applicants in Category III, the selection committee will merge Category III into II.

If there are extenuating circumstances that make it impossible for you to be enrolled in a Japanese class in Fall 2016, please contact us by email and explain your situation. The Executive Committee will determine your eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

4 Calculated based on a semester system.

For instance, AP Japanese Language and Culture course credits officially accepted by a college/university may be counted as college-level Japanese-as-a-foreign-language credits.

Invitation to J.LIVE Talk 2016