Willamette students participate and place in statewide Japanese speech contest

Contact: Office of Communications

Two Willamette students, Ciel Morrill BS’25 and Emily Zuber BA’23 earned awards at the 27th Annual Toyama Cup.

Congratulations to Ciel Morrill BS’25 and Emily Zuber BA’23 for placing at the 27th Annual Toyama Cup, an annual speech contest for university students in Oregon sponsored by Japan’s Toyama prefecture, Oregon’s sister state, and hosted by the Japan-America Society of Oregon (JASO).

The contest was held on Saturday, April 22, 2023, on Zoom and included competitors from top Japanese programs around the state, including Willamette, Lewis & Clark College, Pacific University, Reed College, and the University of Oregon. The event consists of a lower and higher level, with the champion of the higher level winning a trip and week-long stay in Toyama. All winners and runners-up received gifts from Toyama prefecture. Morrill placed third in the Level 1 division and Zuber placed second in the Level 2 division.

Contestants chose their own speech topics, which ranged from public education to the customs and history of tea, displaying not only their passion for the Japanese language but also their interests and how these are reflected in Japan. During the event, participants had the opportunity to engage with past Toyama Cup champions and guests from Toyama Prefecture.

The event was put on with help from volunteers from the Education and Executive Committees at JASO, with judges from Shokookai of Portland, the Consular Office of Japan in Portland, the International School of Beaverton, and the Association of Teachers of Japanese in Oregon. Participants were congratulated by Governor Hachiro Nitta of Toyama Prefecture and Consul General Yuzo Yoshioka.

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