J.LIVE Talk 2017 Report

Finalists and Judges
                J.Live Talk 2017 finalists and judges (Video by Brayboy Creative Video)

On Sunday, November 5th, nine finalists from colleges and universities across the United States competed to win trips to Japan, scholarships and cash prizes at the third annual J.LIVE Talk 2017, held at The George Washington University.

J.LIVE (Japanese Learning Inspired Vision and Engagement) Talk 2017 invites college level Japanese learners to showcase their 21st century presentation and communication skills. The competition encourages contestants to make use of audio-visual materials, audience interactions, and other innovations to enhance the messages they deliver in Japanese.

This year, the judging committee received over 30 video entries from 13 universities in eight states, including California, Wisconsin and Ohio. The nine finalists were selected as a result of the preliminary and semi-final rounds by two separate judging panels.

On the day of the final round, an audience of over 130 watched the nine finalists give their presentations live. A panel of five final round judges (Mr. Takehiro Shimada of Embassy of Japan, Mr. Shin’ichi Hori of Mitsui Co., Dr. Nanako Machida of Nanzan University, Ms. Chiyo Kobayashi of Washington CORE, and Ms. Kyoko Vaughan of Hayfield Secondary School) evaluated each presentation by taking into consideration not only the speakers’ linguistic proficiency, but also their presentation’s vision, charisma, and audience engagement. Judges also evaluated each speaker’s interpersonal skills by asking them two or three questions in Japanese. Then audience members were given the chance to ask questions, although these answers were not directly taken into account by the judges.

After careful consideration, the following decisions were announced in the Award Ceremony.

Category I: Intermediate Low-Mid

Gold Award Winner

David Burnett, University of Wisconsin-Madison: お笑いが教えてくれたこと 'What comodies have taught me'

Silver Award Winner

Asma Khan**, University of Maryland, Baltimore: コミュニティーカレッジでの経験 'Experiences at a community college'

**Ms. Khan also won the Kakehashi Award.

Bronze Award Winner

Herbert Fletcher, Georgetown University: レベルアップ 'Level up'

Category II: Intermediate High- Advanced Low

Gold Award Winner

Gus Holdrich, Baylor University: 家族 'Family'

Silver Award Winner

Kevin Yuan, Georgetown University: 言葉の力 'The power of language'

Bronze Award Winner

Youyou Huang, Georgetown University: 孤児院ボランティアの重要性 'The importance of volunteer workers for orphanages' 

Category III: Advanced Mid- Advanced High

Gold Award Winner

Yi Zhao, George Washington University: 音楽 'Music'

Silver Award Winner

Logan Lampkins, University of North Carolina, Charlotte: 日本とアメリカのテーマパークの比較 'A comparison of Japanese and US theme parks'

Bronze Award Winner

Jennifer Shin, Johns Hopkins University, SAIS: 電車の中の日本 'Japan as seen on the trains'

Cash awards of $300, $200 and $100 were presented, respectively, to the Gold, Silver, Bronze award winners in each category. Gold award winners also received incredible prizes in the form of trips to Japan. The Category I Gold award winner, Mr. David Burnett, received a scholarship for an eight-week summer intensive Japanese language course at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan, along with an ANA round-trip ticket from the U.S. to Japan and a living stipend of $3,300. The Category II Gold award winner, Mr. Gus Holdrich, received a scholarship for a six-week summer intensive Japanese language course at the Naganuma School, along with an ANA round-trip ticket from the U.S. to Japan and a living stipend of $2700. The Category III Gold award winner, Mr. Yi Zhao, received an ANA round trip ticket from the U.S. to Japan.

Furthermore, Ms. Asma Khan received the special Kakehashi Award: an all-expenses paid group tour of Japan from January 8 to 16 in 2018, fully sponsored and organized by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Japanese in Washington, DC. The Kakehashi Award is given to one J.LIVE Talk contestant on the basis of their suitability to represent the United States as a “friendship ambassador” and on the merit of his/her final presentation’s topic and delivery.

In addition to watching excellent presentations, the J.LIVE Talk audience also got the chance to learn about the Japan-America relationship in a variety of ways. A networking breakfast was held before the competition, and speakers from the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, USA, JET Alumni Association in Washington, D.C., Kizuna Across Cultures, Waseda University, and Washington Japanese Heritage Center shared information on their programs and initiatives. In the Exhibit Room, contestants and audience members alike were able to speak face to face with representatives from the JET program, the Mid-Atlantic Association of Teachers of Japanese (MAATJ), Nanzan University, and TOP NY in order to explore career paths beyond university and other opportunities. The Kinokuniya Bookstore booth also featured goods for Japanese language learners.

gold award winners

2017 Gold Award Winners

Left: Category III -- Yi Zhao, The George Washington University
Center: Category I -- David Burnett, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Right: Category II -- Gus Holdrich, Baylor University

Silver award

2017 Silver Award Winners

Left: Category III -- Logan Lampkins, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Center: Category II -- Kevin Yuan, Georgetown University
Right: Category I -- Azma Khan, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Bronze award

2017 Bronze Award Winners

Left: Category I – Herbert Fletcher, Georgetown University
Center: Category III – Jennifer Shin, Johns Hopkins University, SAIS
Right: Category II – Youyou Huang, Georgetown University