March 10, 2012
23rd Annual Texas State Japanese Language Speech Contest Final Results
On Saturday, March 10th 2012, contestants from across Texas gathered at Rice University’s Herring Hall for the 23rd Annual Texas State-wide Japanese Language Speech Competition. 28 participants competed in five divisions ranging from beginner poetry recitation to advanced college level free speech. A new division, adult/corporate was also added this year. The competition was presented by the Japan-America Society of Houston and the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston. Additional supporters for the contest include: the Japanese Association of Greater Houston, The Japanese Business Association of Houston, and the Japanese Teachers Association of Texas.
After the speeches concluded, participants, judges, friends and family were invited to a reception and awards ceremony at the Baker Institute on the Rice Campus. Before awards were announced Consul-General Jota Yamamoto gave opening remarks (link) congratulating all participants, remarking on the power of speech and thanking the sponsors and supporters of the speech contest. Following Consul-General’s remarks, Mr. Hiro Matsumura, Chairman of the Japan Festival, congratulated all participants. He invited participants to come out, bring their friends and show their support for Japan Festival 2012, to be held in Hermann Park on March 31st and April 1st.
First place winner Errol Phalo and second place winner Marlene Campos of the High School Division Free Speech (Division 3) won eligibility to participate in the Aurora Foundation’s National Japanese Language High School Speech Contest in Los Angeles, California this June. Their flights will be paid for as part of their prizes.
Special prizes were awarded to the winners of the free speech levels. Errol Phalo of Division 3 received a $1000 scholarship from the Japanese Association of Greater Houston presented by Association President Shinji Takechi. August Holdrich of Division 4 won a round-trip flight to Japan from the Japan-America Society of Houston presented by President-Elect J.J. Naoki.
After awards were announced, Speech Contest Chairperson, Dr. Toshimatsu Matsumoto gave remarks focusing on the high-level of the participants, noting how the contest has grown since its humble beginnings. To close the ceremony, Japan-America Society of Houston President-elect J.J. Naoki once again congratulated all participants and thanked the night’s sponsors.
The Consulate-General of Japan in Houston is pleased to announce the top placements in each of the five divisions: