The final round of the fourth annual J.LIVE (Japanese Learning Inspired Vision and Engagement) Talk was held on Sunday, November 11, at the George Washington University.
The presentation contest is open to college-level learners of Japanese in the United States, and the nine finalists who competed on Sunday were selected on the basis of their initial video statements from amongst close to fifty entries from twenty-one institutions around the nation. The contest continues to grow each year.
Unlike a traditional speech competition, J.LIVE Talk evaluates contestants not just based on their linguistic competence but on their cumulative ability to communicate their ideas and perspectives using Japanese. The aim of J.LIVE Talk is to foster and encourage the next generation of professionals entering Japan-related careers in America and beyond, and it is geared for today’s interactive and multi-media world. The competition thus encourages contestants to make use of audio-visual materials, audience interactions, and other innovations to enhance their presentations. As Ambassador John Malott, former Japan-America Society president and a member of J.LIVE Talk’s Advisory Board, stated in his remarks at the contest: “Not many people are called upon to give speeches, but everyone makes presentations in all fields.”
On Sunday morning, the nine finalists delivered their dynamic presentations to a full audience at the Marvin Center Amphitheater. A panel of final round judges — Mr. Takehiro Shimada of the Embassy of Japan; Mr. Hiroyuki Takai of Sumitomo Corporation of Americas; Dr. Takakazu Yamagishi of Nanzan University; Dr. Tomoko Steen of Georgetown’s School of Medicine; and Mr. Clark Munson of One Planet Corporation — considered the speakers’ linguistic proficiency, confidence, ability to engage the audience, and the vision expressed in their presentations. The judges also had a chance to test each speaker’s interpersonal skills through a short question-and-answer session in Japanese. Audience members were also given the chance to question the presenters in Japanese, although these exchanges were not officially weighed by the judges.