Middle Tennessee State University served as host for the 12th annual Tennessee Area Japanese Speech Contest in early April.
Area businesses, including Nissan North America, Mitsui & Co. and Japan Airlines, sponsored the April 6 event, organizers said. The Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville and the Tennessee Language Center also provided support for the competition.
The contest featured 35 participants from seven universities from Tennessee and Kentucky, who competed before an audience of nearly 100 guests. Participants were divided into beginning, intermediate and advanced levels.
Five participants “who gave excellent speeches” represented MTSU, said Dr. Priya Ananth, an associate professor and coordinator of the Japanese program in MTSU’s Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures.
MTSU had three winners in this year’s event:
• Gauguin Simmons, first place, beginning level, intermediate Japanese course (JAPN 2010).
• Hannah Sandefur, second place, beginning level, intermediate Japanese course.
• Rachel Reece, third place, advanced level, Japanese politics (JAPN 4030).
Ananth said MTSU faculty members from the Japanese program “worked hard with helping the students prepare their speeches as well as with the organization of the event.” They included Dr. Fusae Ekida, an assistant professor; Chiaki Shima, an instructor, and Ryoko Poarch, a lecturer.
Ten student volunteers from the Japanese program “did a fantastic job of making this regional event a grand success,” Ananth added.