J.LIVE 2019 Report

Watch the competition on Youtube (video by Brayboy Creative Video)

The final round of George Washington University’s fifth annual Japanese Learning Inspired Vision and Engagement (J.LIVE) Talk, a presentation contest open to college-level learners of Japanese in the United States, was held on Sunday, November 10 at The George Washington University.

The nine finalists who competed on Sunday were selected on the basis of their first-round and second-round video statements and from amongst over fifty applicants from 11 states (CA, FL, IN, MD, MN, NC, OH, OR, PA, RI, TX). They delivered their dynamic presentations to a full audience at the University Student 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. Robert Croker of Nanzan University, Ms. Noriko Tabata of TOP US, and Ms. Kiri Sandquist of Prudential Financial -- evaluated 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.




Category I: ACTFL Intermediate Low- Mid Level

  • Gold Award Winner: Wrange Walther, Texas A&M University (Prof. Yuki Waugh) 「日本の冗談」
  • Silver Award Winner: Alexzander C. S. Ciminillo, University of Findley (Prof. Prof. Hiroaki Kawamura)「星を目指して」
  • Bronze Award Winner: Dia Lynn Thomas, Franklin and Marshall College.(Professor Kaori Shimizu)「ヒジャブとおしゃれ」


Category II: ACTFL Intermediate High- Advanced Low Level

  • Gold Award Winner: Bilal Pazir, University of Texas, San Antonio, (Prof. Makiko Fukuda)「僕の航海」
  • Silver Award Winner: Yiman Wang, Georgetown University, (Prof. Yoshiko Mori) 「バーチャルアイドル瀬名くん」
  • Bronze Award Winner: Spencer Rauner, George Washington University, (Prof. Takae Tsujioka)「人の心を種として」


Category III: ACTFL Advanced Mid- Advanced High Level

  • Gold Award Winner: Natasha Milligan, Willamette University (Prof. Miho Fujiwara)「思いやり?」
  • Silver Award Winner: Deidra Buenger, University of Toledo (Prof. Kasumi Yamazaki)「空気に読まれる自分から読む自分へ」
  • Bronze Award Winner: Jaewon Park, Bucknell University (Prof. Yukiko Asano)「夢のパーソナル・トレーナー」

Cash awards of $300, $200 and $100 were presented respectively to the Gold, Silver and Bronze award winners of each category. Gold award winners also received prizes in the form of study trips to Japan. The Category I Gold award winner, Mr. Wrange Walther, received a scholarship for a summer intensive Japanese language course at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan, along with a round-trip ticket from the U.S. to Japan and a living stipend of $3,300. The Category II Gold award winner, Mr. Bilal Pazir, received a scholarship for a summer intensive Japanese language course at the Naganuma School in Tokyo, along with a round-trip ticket from the U.S. to Japan and a living stipend of $2700. The Category III Gold award winner, Ms. Natasha Milligan, received a scholarship for summer intensive Japanese language course at International Christian University in Tokyo, along with a round-trip ticket from the U.S. to Japan and a living stipend of $2700.

In addition, Mr. Alexzander C. S. Ciminillo received the Kakehashi Award for participation in an all-expenses paid group tour of Japan. The award is sponsored and organized by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Japan in Washington, DC. The trip will occur in early 2020. Mr. Ciminillo was selected for the award on the basis of his suitability to represent the United States as a “friendship ambassador” and on the merit of the topic and delivery of his presentation.


Congratulations to all!


Guests and Sponsors

The attendees of J. LIVE Talk were also able to network with guests from various sectors of the Japan-related community. Nanzan University, IACE Travel, MAATJ (Mid-Atlantic Association of Teachers of Japanese), the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program; Kinokuniya Bookstores of America; the Japan-America Student Conference, and Tokiya Japan hosted informational booths. The day concluded with a special workshop and performance of Busu by Kyogen masters from Japan.

This event was co-sponsored by East Asia National Resource Center and Noh Society of New York. Student volunteers from GW’s Japanese program and DC Japanese community volunteers staffed the event throughout the day and were integral to its success.



Browse some highlights from our 2019 event or view all Images on Dropbox.