Video Koshien is a program-wide competition where students create unique short videos that offer their distinctive perspectives on a central theme. Normally students only engage with their partner school during the program, but Video Koshien allows them to watch the videos of students from other schools and explore new approaches to presenting their ideas using video and sound, all while learning about and deepening their understanding of the diverse cultures of their classmates from Japan and the U.S. Participation is not mandatory; however, most schools take on the challenge every year!
Widespread use of the internet has given people the ability to easily and instantly spread their thoughts and ideas to the world. Video is one of the most powerful mediums to do that, offering limitless possibilities for visual expression. Through Video Koshien, KAC hopes to develop and nurture students’ ability to articulate and disseminate information in today’s world.
Every year we ask global leaders with a strong background in U.S. and Japanese culture and education, such as individuals from the U.S. Embassy and in Japan from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, to judge the competition. They evaluate the videos not only on language ability, but also on a variety of factors to select the winning videos. It is a lot of work to create the videos but that makes completing the video and winning an award all the more exciting. We receive comments from teachers and students how glad they were to have participated each year. The theme changes annually: the first year (2014) students created videos on “My School Introduction,” the second year (2015) students created videos on “My Culture, My Pride,” and the third year (2016) students created videos on “Our Cool School!”
It is not an easy task for students to come up with an idea for the video on their own and use a non-native language to present it; however, we are always left speechless at the quality of videos submitted. We are always impressed by the creativity and uniqueness of the high school students’ ideas, as well as their ability to have fun and work together.
2017 Video Koshien Winning Videos
Grand Prize & 1st Place : Yokosuka Meiko High School (Kanagawa)
Tossing the heart around so that each student could express what made them happy was a great way to demonstrate the contest theme. (Nicholas Harling/ Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice; Host of Let’s Talk Japan; Former JET Program Assistant Language Teacher )
The use of the pillow was heart-warming and I liked how it united everyone by passing the pillow. The reminder of PEACE was powerful. (Rona Tison/ Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations, ITO EN, LTD.)
2nd Place Tie: Higashi Maizuru High School (Kyoto)
Beginning the film with LINE was original and very modern. I really enjoyed the format of introducing events by month and showing the happiness that you feel from them. (Takashi Sato/ President, San-J International, Inc.)
I really enjoyed how it introduced Japanese culture as well as things unique to the school. It was outstanding! (Shin Donowaki/ President, JCAW Foundation, Inc.; General Manager, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas/ Washington Office)
2nd Place Tie：Inagakuen Sogo High School (Saitama)
They did a nice job of creating a more dramatic video with a plot. I loved their idea of focusing on friendship. (David Janes/ Director of Foundation Grants and Assistant to the President, United States-Japan Foundation)
The simple concept was clear and relatable to all ages. The overall flow was smooth and the English was well done too. (Erika Ninoyu/ Band Director, Anchorage School District; U.S.-Japan Council TOMODACHI Emerging Leader (ELP) Alumni)
1st Place：Stuyvesant High School (New York)
I thought it was so well done, because each student could explain what made him or her happy. It also gave an interesting picture of the students’ lives, from hanging out at Times Square to riding a bike in the snow. (Ambassador John R. Malott/ Former President, Japan-America Society of Washington DC)
I liked the use of the “time of day” to show happiness. It was a great reminder that there is someone happy 24 hours of the day. (Rona Tison/ Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations, ITO EN, LTD.)
2nd Place：Center for Global Studies (Connecticut)
The way the video starts off with a crying scene and then turn into everyone’s story on happiness was so interesting to watch. The jazz music was also cool! I liked the message that small things can make one happy. (Kyoko Shimomura/ Wife of Former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology)
This is a fun, creative video that cheered me up. (Greg Aurit/ Cultural Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy, Tokyo)
As it focused on specific topics and used a classic storyline structure it was easy for me to understand and therefore left an impression on me. I was impressed with how deeply and closely this school is tied with local tradition and culture. (Takashi Sato/ President, San-J International, Inc.)
It was nice to see American students speaking Japanese into the camera and sharing info on Hawaiian culture. (Jeffrey Adler/ Cultural Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Tokyo)
Judges (in alphabetical order)
Shin Donowaki/ President, JCAW Foundation, Inc.; General Manager, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas/ Washington Office
Nicholas Harling/ Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice; Host of Let’s Talk Japan; Former JET Program Assistant Language Teacher
David Janes/ Director of Foundation Grants and Assistant to the President, United States-Japan Foundation
Ambassador John R. Malott/ Former President, Japan-America Society of Washington DC
Erika Ninoyu/ Band Director, Anchorage School District; U.S.-Japan Council TOMODACHI Emerging Leader (ELP) Alumni
Takashi Sato/ President, San-J International, Inc.
Kyoko Shimomura/ Wife of Former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Rona Tison/ Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations, ITO EN, LTD.