Co-organized by the Foreign Language and Literature Teaching & Guidance Committee (Japanese) for Higher Education under the Ministry of Education, China Japanese Teaching Committee, Jilin University and the Japan Science Society, the “2020 Sasakawa Cup Japan Research Essay Contest” had its awarding ceremony online on February 24. SFL students took top prizes in the contest with 6 out of 8 participants each receiving an award in the finals. In the Literature Group contests, CAO Danwei and ZHANG Yanan won the second and third prizes (special prize vacant); PENG Jiaying and FENG Ruijia were awarded honorable mention. In the Culture Group and Linguistics Group finals, CAO Meirong and LEI Meiyan won honorable mention respectively. 4 SFL teachers from the Department of Japanese, LIU Xiaofang, ZHANG Ying, Otawa TOMOKO, and Tsuchiya KAZUYUKIwere also awarded Outstanding Teachers.
The “Sasakawa Cup” is one of the most influential Japanese essay contests for universities and is divided into Literature, Culture and Linguistics Groups. The 3rd “Sasakawa Cup” this year received 370 essays from more than 80 universities across China, including the renowned Peking University, Tsinghua University, Renmin University of China and Fudan University, etc. The panel of judges include Prof Xiu Gang (Tianjin Foreign Studies University), Prof. Xu Yiping (Beijing Center for Japanese Studies), Prof. Song Xieyi (Dalian University), Prof. Zhou Yifu (Beijing Foreign Studies University), Prof. Ye Lin (Nanjing University), Prof. Gao Jie (Shanghai International Studies University), Prof. Su Jiugao (Jilin University) and Prof. Liu Yuzhen (Nankai University). All essays were evaluated anonymously and the first 10 in each Group entered the final.
The final was held online where contestants did a thesis defense in Japanese (order determined by drawing lots). As all the presentations were held online, the audio, video and internet connection were tested multiple times to ensure smooth delivery. Tutors LIU Xiaofang and Tsuchiya KAZUYUKI also trained participants in terms of online presentation. Two students, CAO Danwei and ZHANG Yanan, finally won the second and third prizes in the Literary Group, by virtue of their solid Japanese language skills, novel thesis topic selection, flexibility, critical thinking and rich knowledge reserves.
In recent years, the Department of Japanese has initiated learning and teaching reforms aiming to evolve from “learning Japanese” to “using Japanese to learn”. The traditional courses of listening, speaking, reading, writing, translation and interpretation are organically combined with training on critical thinking, language capabilities and problem-solving. The reform has proven results in enhanced teaching quality and a lot of awards won by students in contests alike.
The Department of Japanese has witnessed multiple outstanding achievements of the teaching and talent cultivation reform: XU Jinghua and SUN Meng (both PhD candidates) published papers respectively on “Journal of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies”; the former also won the second prize in the “2020 Sino-Japan Graduate Academics Forum”.