In only the second year that Harker has sent teams for all three levels, Harker’s Japanese program swept all three first-place team prizes at the National Japan Bowl in Washington, D.C., over spring break. The top-level team and their teacher were awarded a 10-day trip to Japan this summer where their itinerary includes the honor of meeting Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado.
The Japan Bowl is an annual team competition for high school students across the U.S. studying Japanese as their foreign language. There are three levels of competition – II, III and IV, with level IV being the most challenging – and three students per team. The competition tests not only the students’ language skills but also their knowledge of history, geography, politics, current events, U.S.-Japan relations and variety of cultural aspects such as arts, festivals, religions, pop culture, etiquette and gestures.
“Although it is a very challenging competition, we have shown very steady improvement every year,” said Masako Onakado, Japanese teacher. “Last year, we earned second place in both level II and level III and fourth place in level IV, which was our best record until then. Earning the first place in all levels in this 17-year-old competition this year was truly remarkable.”
Chris Nikoloff, head of school, also noted, “This is an amazing accomplishment. Congratulations to the students and thanks to Masako for all of her efforts on their behalf.”
Student winners were: Level IV Sarah Wang, grade 11, team captain; Roslyn Li, grade 11 and Kevin Wang, grade 12. Level III Kelly Chen, grade 11, team captain; Jerry Sun, grade 10 and Katie Liang, grade 10. Level II Nirupama Gadagottu, grade 12, team captain; Tiffany Jang, grade 9 and Victoria Liang, grade10.