Linfield students compete in Japanese speech contest

Two Linfield College students earned awards in the annual Toyama Cup Speech Contest held at the World Trade Center in Portland April 18.

The Toyama Cup Speech Contest is a Japanese speech contest held annually and is co-sponsored by the Japanese American Society of Oregon and PGE, and supported by the Japanese Consulate of Portland. The contest celebrates Oregon’s sister state relationship with Toyama Prefecture in Japan and is open to all students studying Japanese at the college and university level in Oregon.

During the contest students are eligible to compete in one of two divisions. The upper division and lower division contestants are divided on the bases of how long the student has studied the language and how long the student has lived in Japan. Linfield had two student competitors placed in the more advanced level.

Sophomore Leah Sedy, a Japanese major from Poulsbo, Wash., placed second in her division. Senior Lily Niland of Seattle, Wash., an intercultural communications major with minors in Spanish and Japanese, placed first in her division. Niland also won the contest’s grand prize which included a one-week, all expense paid trip to Japan to serve as a cultural ambassador in Toyama Prefecture.

Niland also participated, along with fellow senior Alex Hill of Las Vegas, Nev., in an event called the Japanese Senior Summit April 25. This event brought together seniors majoring in Japanese and Japanese Studies from Linfield, Willamette University, Pacific University, and Lewis and Clark College. Participants delivered presentations about their research projects and participated in a tea ceremony workshop.

For information about the Toyama Cup Speech Contest results and to see a slide show about the Senior Seminar, go to the Japanese program’s homepage at

For more information, contact Christopher Keaveney, co-chair of the modern languages department and Japanese professor, at 503-883-2584.

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