202310081The International Exchange Speech Contest was held aiming to encourage young people to have a global viewpoint and also to enhance their language skills of both English and Japanese. This year marked the 23rd year of the contest. (No.23-11)

 Date & time: Sunday, October 8th, 2023  13:00~16:30

 Venue: Abiko Civic Plaza Multi-purpose hall

 Speakers: 12 people (9 for English session, 3 for Japanese session)

 Reciter: 1 person

 Reporter of study trip: 1 person

 Audience: 61 people

The contest began with greetings and self-introduction by the emcees, Ms.ADACHI Noriko, Director of AIRA General Affairs Department and Mr. Lan Xiu Wen, a graduate student of Chuo Gakuin University.

Following the introduction of the 6 judges, Ms. KITAJIMA Fumiko, President of AIRA and Mr. HOSHINO Junichiro, Mayor of Abiko City, made short speeches. 

President Kitajima told that AIRA is making efforts for a wide range of global exchange and are expecting to hear the speakers’ thoughts for international exchange.

Mayor Hoshino told that approx. 2,300 foreigners from 50 countries are living in Abiko City and expressed his hope this contest would become an opportunity for all to know mutual history and culture. 

The contest started with a recitation by an elementary school student, who recited a passage about “making a choice.”

 The first session was speeches in English. Nine people made speeches about what they experienced in overseas countries, the purpose of studying English, what they learned in Hiroshima, international exchange, and so on, with gestures from time to time.

The second session was in Japanese. Three people made speeches about what they felt and learned through life in Japan.

After all the speeches, Ms. YANAI Kokoro who received the“World Doll Museum Award” last year reported about her overseas trip. It seems she got a new stimulation through her experience in Korea.  She said that she realized the cultural differences when she saw Korean traditional houses and clothes.  She also pointed out that people can understand each other provided that they try to, even if there are differences in races, genders, ages and languages.

Then the evaluation of the speeches began. In the meantime, AIRA’s activities of supporting foreigners such as Japanese classes, translation/interpretation, home-stay, etc. and also the international exchange activities such as the international festival, bus trips, etc. were introduced on film.

The results of the judging are stated below and testimonials were given for each award. Ms. IMOTO Karen was given “The World Doll Museum Award” which was founded with a donation from Mr. KO Yasuhiro aiming to promote globalization among young people, and the inventory was handed over to Ms. Imoto by Mr.Ko.

At the ending, Mr. Maru, Superintendent of Education of Abiko City, commented that all the speeches were full of wills towards international exchange which preferably should be conveyed to others, too. The contest ended with an address by Mr. Omura, Chairman of the executive committee, followed by a tea party in the same place, which was held after 3 years.

All the speakers who were released from the pressure enjoyed talking with the judges and others.


(Translated by NAKAJIMA Katsumi)