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Tucson Japanese Speech Contest   

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- For details of a past contest, click on its poster -

The 2015 13th Annual Tucson Japanese Speech Contest


2015 13th TJSC Application Instructions:

2015 13th TJSC Application Form:

Cosplayers! Come and show your classmates and the public what you do!  Contact Miyako Mckay at for more details on how to be part of our gathering in Exhibitions.


To participate in the cultural exhibitions, volunteer, or become a sponsor, please contact:

Congratulations on the successful conclusion of the 2014 TJSC!

Watch last year's contest!

1Opening Ceremony
2Category A
3Cosplay Competition
4Japanese Dance
5Category B
6Judo Demonstration
7Ramune Drinking Contest
8Category C
9Taiko Performance
10Awards Ceremony
11Cultural Exhibitions

The 12th (2014) Annual TJSC Winners


Category A

1st placeYuan ZhouUniversity of Arizona
2nd placeQiyu DengUniversity of Arizona
3rd place
Wesley LeeUniversity of Arizona

Category B

1st place Sachi Cochran
Pima Community College-West Campus
2nd place Xinye Wu
University of Arizona
3rd place Shemonti Hassan
University of Arizona
Honorable Mention
Zishen Li
University of Arizona

Category C

1st placeLi Hsiang LeeUniversity of Arizona
2nd placeShan ZaidiUniversity of Arizona
3rd place
Jacob HoltPima Community College-Northwest Campus
Honorable MentionRyan FullemanUniversity of Arizona

Judges' Special AwardTiancheng DaiUniversity of Arizona
Judges' Special AwardGreg MolinaPima Community College-East Campus
Judges' Special AwardLou FoxUniversity of Arizona
Judges' Special AwardJulia RandUniversity of Arizona



The 12th (2014) Annual TJSC Cosplay Competition Winners


1st placeJoelle Blot as Majora
Sky Islands High School
2nd placeKaitlyn Johnson as Hatsune Miku
Ironwood Ridge High School
3rd place
David Rivas as Alucard
Ironwood Ridge High School

Congratulations on the successful conclusion of the 2013 TJSC!

Above: The speech participants
Below:  The performers


Odaiko Sonora                                                                Suzuyuki-kai                                                 Sonoran Aiki-kai

The Tucson Japanese Speech Contest

The TJSC Committee

The TJSC Community Award

TJSC Sponsors (2012)

The 10th Annual TJSC (2012) Winners

The TJSC Photo Gallery
2014 12th Contest
2013 11th Contest
2012 10th Contest
2011 9th Contest
2010 8th Contest
2009 7th Contest

The Tucson Japanese Speech Contest

In 1990, Pima Community College's East Campus held the first Japanese speech contest in Arizona.  Four years later, statewide interest in the contest had grown to the extent that the annual event was turned over to the AATJ (Arizona Association of Teachers of Japanese) and it was decided that the Arizona State Japanese Speech Contest would be held annually at rotating locations throughout the state.  For the next several years, students from Tucson, their families and friends travelled to the Phoenix area and often as far away as Flagstaff to attend the event.

By 2001,  enrollment in Japanese courses in Arizona had skyrocketed.  In Tucson alone, in addition to the Japanese classes offered by the University of Arizona and Pima Community College's East Campus, PCC's  West, Downtown and Northwest Campuses  added Japanese language sequences.  In response to the increased number of applicants to the contest, the AATJ adopted a percentage system to determine how many students from each university, college, and region of the state could participate.  Unfortunately, this meant that a large number of potential participants had to be turned away.  As a result, in 2002, Yosei Sugawara, Pima's East Campus lead Japanese language instructor, approached the chair of East Campus' Language Department, with the idea of returning to the origins of the event by organizing a local Japanese speech contest in which all of Tucson's students could take part. 

With Pima Community College's enthusiastic approval, it was announced that the 1st Annual Tucson Japanese Speech Contest (TJSC) would be held in Spring 2003.  Tucson-area colleges, universities, local organizations and businesses stepped forward to provide financial support and a number of faculty and community members volunteered their time to make the contest a success.
  When the first TJSC was held on April 5th, over 100 audience members watched as Tucson's students presented their speeches in PCC's East Campus' Community Room. 

Since that first year, more than 2,500 community members have attended the annual contest in support of Japanese language students from Pima Community College's East, Downtown, West and Northwest Campuses, the University of Arizona, Kino School, Sky Islands High School, Dodge Middle School, the Bernard Language School, and IBM Tucson.  Judges have included members of the Japanese Rotary Club,  the Japan America Society, and the Japanese Exchange Teaching Program, representatives from IBM Japan, Raytheon, Canon, and Sumitomo , postdoctoral students and faculty from the University of Arizona, a member of the Legislative Bureau of the Japanese House of Representatives and even a Sahuarita, Arizona police officer.   Over seventy local businesses and organizations have become regular contributors and, for many years, their contributions have been supplemented by the Japanese Consulate in Los Angeles and by grants from the Japan Foundation of Los Angeles.

In addition to the student speech competition, the TJSC has grown into a day-long celebration of student accomplishment and intercultural communication with Japan-related cultural performances, demonstrations and exhibitions playing an increasingly important role.  Exhibitors and performers have included Odaiko Sonora, the PCC Northwest Anime Club, the Tucson Go Club, the Shinsei School of Ikebana, the Tucson Origami Club, the Southern Arizona Koi Society (SAKA), Rendo-kan Dojo (judo and karate), Yamakawa Dojo (iaido), Urasenke Chado (Japanese tea ceremony), Ayako Enterprises (samurai weapons), Martial Arts of Tucson (aikido), Desert Dojo Martial Arts (ninjutsu), Nono & Co. (a J-pop band), the University of Arizona Archery Club (kyuudo), Mari Kaneta's Suzuyuki-kai (classical Japanese dance), Paul Amiel (shakuhachi),  and the Japanese Ministry of Education and International Relations (the JET Program). Community volunteers have presented interactive demonstrations of furoshiki wrapping, calligraphy, kimono-do, hanafuda, and Cos-play, and local nonprofits such as the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition (SAJCC) and Yume Japanese Gardens have reached out to the community announcing special events including the Mochi-tsuki, Tsukimi and various Japan-related educational opportunities. 

In 2014, after twelve years as Chair of the TJSC Committee, Dr. Sugawara stepped down, turning his responsibilites over to Miyako Mckay, the President of the Southern Arizona Association for Japanese Education (SAAJE) and to Itsumi Ishikawa-Peck of the University of Arizona, the Chair of the 13th Annual TJSC Committee.   With SAAJE and the University of Arizona's East Asian Department agreeing to take leadership, the TJSC will continue its strong committment to promoting language education and intercultural understanding.        

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The TJSC Committee

The Tucson Japanese Speech Contest Committee (TJSCC) was formed in 2002.  All members are volunteers who dedicate their time to help with the annual contest.  The current committee includes Japanese language teachers and students, a graphic designer, a business manager, a corrections officer, a software engineer and a stay-at-home mom.  The members help schedule cultural exhibitions and performances for the contest, decorate the annual venue, provide signage for the event, organize prizes for the students, and contact potential sponsors.       
If you're interested in helping us provide this annual event to our community,  consider joining the TJSCC.  Anyone who would like to donate his/her time and effort is welcome.  Many current members speak no Japanese so please don't let the language stop you.  If interested, please contact us at

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The TJSC Community Award

Each year at the conclusion of the contest, the TJSC Committee  presents TJSC Community Awards to outstanding sponsors and volunteers in appreciation for their support of the contest.

Renee Terry
Community Volunteer

Bernie Houser
Vantage West Credit Union

Rick Keefe
(also accepting for Maritza Keefe)  

Photos by McKinney Pix

Past TJSC Community Award Recipients

2014 (12th TJSC) Yamato Japanese Restaurant Ann Taylor Piano Studio

Miyako Mckay (Community Volunteer) Narihiro Kiyota (Univerity of Arizona)
2013 (11th TJSC)Samurai RestaurantNatsu Lewallen (Community Volunteer)

Rendokan Dojo
2012 (10th TJSC)Aikido of TucsonOdaiko Sonora

Fukumi Zapp (Community Volunteer)
2011 (9th TJSC)Bryana Scott (Community Volunteer)Peter Tredici (Pima Community College)

Martial  Arts of Tucson
2010 (8th TJSC)Patricia Houston (Pima Community College)Tom Struck (Fantasy Comics)
2009 (7th TJSC)Reene Terry (Community Volunteer)Bernie Houser (Vantage West Credit Union)

Rick & Maritza Keefe (R-Galaxy)
2008 (6th TJSC) Elizabeth Harrison (University of Arizona) Michael Samuels (Central Animal Hospital)
2007 (5th TJSC) Japan-America Society of Tucson Carla Eardley (Straight Road Studio)
2006 (4th TJSC) Wally Barber (Tucson Kendo Kai) Kazumi Saito (Community Volunteer)
2005 (3rd TJSC) Constance Strickland (Pima Community College)
Bob Zormeier (Ayako Enterprises)
2004 (2nd TJSC) Clint Whittakar (Community Volunteer)
2003 (1st TJSC) Tandika Star (

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2014  TJSC Sponsors

PCC-Northwest Campus, PCC-East Campus Student Life and Activities Office, Consulate-General of Japan at Los Angeles, VantageWest Credit Union, Sky Island High School, JTB, R-GALAXY, Fantasy Comics, Desert Toyota, Reynolds Logistics, Sushi on Oracle, Yamato Restaurant, Ginza Restaurant, Samurai Restaurant, Yukari Sushi, Saffron Indian Bistro, Kimpo Oriental Market, Rendokan Dojo,  Aikido of Tucson, Sonoran Aikikai, Martial Arts of Tucson, Michael Drake Attorney at Law, Wright & Wright Attorney at Law, Central Animal Hospital, Ann Taylor Studio, Ms. Kristy Pearson, Ms. Hitomi McKnight, Mr. Alan Haggh, Mr. Atsushi Nagasaki, Suzuyuki-Kai, Acupuncture Oasis, Tucson Go Club, Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson

If your business or organization is interested in helping sponsor the TJSC, please
contact us at  

The 12th TJSC was also partially funded by a grant from the Japan Foundation.

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