Chuo Online

  • Top
  • Opinion
  • Research
  • Education
  • People
  • RSS

Top>Hakumon CHUO [2012 Spring Issue]>[News Plus] 5th English Speech Contest for 4 Affiliate Schools Chancellor's Prize won by Mayu Kurokawa (2nd-year student at Yokohama Yamate Senior High School)

Hakumon CHUOIndex

[News Plus]

5th English Speech Contest for 4 Affiliate Schools
Chancellor's Prize won by Mayu Kurokawa (2nd-year student at Yokohama Yamate Senior High School)

Mayu Kurokawa

Mayu Kurokawa, winner of the Chancellor's Prize

The 5th English Speech Contest for four Chuo University affiliate schools was held at Chuo University Suginami High School on January 14th. A total of 12 high school students gave speeches, 3 each from Chuo University High School at Bunkyo, Chuo University Suginami High School, Chuo University Junior and Senior High School at Koganei, and Chuo University Yokohama Yamate Junior and Senior High School. The Chancellor's Prize for the most outstanding speech was awarded to Mayu Kurokawa, a 2nd-year student at Yokohama Yamate Senior High School.

This contest began in 2007 when Professor Yuji Kaneko (Faculty of Law), the Principal of Chuo University High School at Koganei at that time, proposed that "a speech contest be held as an opportunity to measure the intellectual improvement of students at the 3 affiliate schools" (subsequently, Yokohama Yamate started to participate for a total of 4 schools today). This proposal received the enthusiastic support of the Principals at Chuo University Suginami High School and Chuo University High School at Bunkyo, and the first contest was held the following year in 2008.

Themes for the 5th Speech Contest included: 1) Feelings from recent events or experiences, 2) A historical figure that I respect (as well as the reason for that respect), and 3) Free theme. Each participating student selected one theme and gave a 5-minute presentation.

The 5th Speech Contest featured the participation of 12 students, 3 from each affiliate school. Each student had won a preliminary contest held among 24 students at his or her school. Moreover, an additional 10 students (2 from each grade) from Chuo University Junior High School at Koganei and Yokohama Yamate Junior High School performed recitations as an exhibition.

Judges included Professor Stephen Hesse (Faculty of Law), Professor Robert Morton (Faculty of Commerce), Professor Gary Cantor (Faculty of Economics), and Associate Professor Michael Brennan (Faculty of Policy Studies), who joined the judging panel this year. The judges selected students for the Chancellor's Prize and the Special Achievement Prize.

"I had trouble with pronunciation and asked foreign instructors to check my speech many times," recalled a smiling and happy Mayu Kurokawa, who won the Chancellor's Prize. "Once the contest actually started, I felt overwhelmed by everyone's wonderful speeches. The fact that my speech was selected from among those by so many outstanding contestants has really given me new confidence."

Mayu became interested in studying English because she enjoyed her English classes in junior high school. Upon entering high school, she participated in a school program for language study in Australia for about 10 days. This experience increased her desire to study English.

In addition to homework from her English classes, Mayu studies English passionately by using materials such as Mimi Dokusyo (Ear Reading). "In the future, I want a career which connects me with the world," she says when discussing her big dreams.

Light and Shadow of the Sky Tree

Kurokawa Mayu
A junior at Chuo University Yokohama Yamate High School (Yokohama)

Hello, everyone. Today, I'd like to talk about "the Light and Shadow of the Sky Tree". "The Sky Tree" in Sumida-ku, Tokyo, soon to be completed, attracts much attention. Boasting a height of 634m, it will be one of the world's tallest. It's equipped with a general energy saving plan. For example, a large-capacity water tank, facilities which reduce electric consumption, and so on. It is a great building which mixes old Japanese building structure, and the most advanced techniques. However, did you know that there are problems behind the Sky Tree?

Trouble occurred. There was a demonstration parade by homeless people who load empty cans on to carts. The front banners said "Collecting aluminum cans and newspapers is our job." And "Don't take poor people's jobs away by force." The Sumida-ku by-laws were revised as follows. 'People other than specific traders are prohibited from carrying away empty cans and newspapers. Violators will be charged by police or fined two hundred thousand yen.' So, the homeless who make their living by collecting resources had a sense of impending crisis and held a demonstration.

I often see homeless people living in houses made of cardboard at Kannai Station on the hot summer days and the cold winter days too.

I feel sad whenever I see them. Also, one day I saw a homeless person who was kneeling and begging at Ishikawa-cho station on my way home from school. I wanted to do something, but I thought "if he runs after me, and if he remembers me, what shall I do?" I became fearful. After all, I couldn't do anything, but I later regretted it.

Based on my research on the homeless, the proportion of those collecting resources is 87%, and day laborers are 9%. I understand how important collecting resources is to their lives. I understand that the number of the homeless has been rapidly increasing for the last decade. Why doesn't the number of homeless decrease? Because, for example, if there isn't a guarantor, they cannot live in an apartment. In addition, they can't have anything to do with a placement office if they don't have an address and so on. In other words, they can't work without money.

I think it must never be the case that "when poverty comes in the door, love flies out of the window." Most importantly, it should be work to get an income. However, even work is not possible if we don't have money. Don't you think that it is a strange society?

The Sky Tree makes full use of great technology. But behind it, I knew for the first time there were suffering people. "Although I know collecting resources is an illegal act, the homeless can't help but do it." This comment remained in my mind. I think we mustn't take the jobs of poor 'homeless' people. I think such laws were made by the people who couldn't understand the situation. The government should put people before urban development.

That is why I have a suggestion. Firstly, the government should give priority to preparing an environment in which the homeless can live, and they should secure accommodation space for the homeless at one corner of the Sky Tree. Also, they should provide food and clothing. And, for example, the homeless could earn money by working as dustmen at the Sky Tree or by engaging in various activities. When they become independent, they will return a part of the reward to the government which supported them. Also, the government should enable them to be able to do the work they want to.

I think after all, nothing was solved by just a policy. A strong bond with society and the area is indispensable. According to the data, I understand people have impressions like "the homeless are dirty and lazy." Many people are indifferent to the homeless. But it is a misunderstanding. I think the most important thing is a heart that is considerate to others without looking down on them. If there is support from the government and each persons' conscience, the Sky Tree will become a true Japanese symbol and be loved by everyone.

Thank you for listening.

◆  ◆  ◆

Winners from the 5th English Speech Contest for 4 Affiliate Schools are listed below.

Chuo University Chancellor's Prize
Mayu Kurokawa (2nd year high school student at Chuo University Yokohama Yamate Junior and Senior High School)
Title: Light and shadow of the Sky Tree

Judges' Special Prize (Content/Structure Division)
Yuka Aoki (1st year high school student at Chuo University Junior and Senior High School at Koganei)
Title: For Whom Is TPP?

Judges' Special Prize(English Expression Division)
Seiichiro Kanno (1st year high school student at Chuo University High School at Bunkyo)
Title: Through a Cup of Japanese Tea

Judges' Special Prize(Pronunciation/Appeal Division)
Yuka Yanaoka (3rd year high school student at Chuo University Suginami High School)
Title: Why I Admire Oskar Schindler from the Movie "Schindler's List"