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,” the third year (2016) students created videos on “Our Cool School!,” and the fourth year (2017) students created videos on “Our Happiness.”
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.
Winners of 2018 Video Koshien
Grand Prize: Thomas Jefferson High School (Virginia)
It was a very high quality video that showcased the entire school atmosphere very well. It was great to not only include the students’ passions but to also include the teachers’ passions. (Shin Donowaki/ President, JCAW Foundation, Inc.; General Manager, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas/ Washington Office)
It was great to hear the voices of a variety of individuals, not only students of Japanese, but also teachers and students not studying Japanese, emphasizing the inclusivity of passion. The variety of scenes and professional editing gives the video an extra polished feel. (Hideki Hara/ Director, The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles)
2nd Place: Stuyvesant High School (New York)
I enjoyed seeing the students be passionate about various aspects of their school lives. I also understood how individuality is emphasized in U.S. schools. (Kyoko Shimomura/ Wife of Former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology)
With only minimal dialogue, the video conveys the impact people can have on others through the pursuit of their own passion. I liked how the two main characters seek to learn and develop themselves by observing and participating in activities that bring other people passion. (Jennifer Ishiguro/ U.S.-Japan Council Member; Legal Consultant, Gateway One Lending & Finance)
1st Place: Murasakino High School (Kyoto)
What a creative video. I loved their approach – having the government take away passion and then through the efforts of the students, people get their passion back. This is a really important topic – that people need passion to live their lives. Loved it! (David Janes/ Director of Foundation Grants and Assistant to the President, United States-Japan Foundation)
I was drawn in from the beginning because of its storyline. It was a great way to show the importance of having passion by showing what happens without passion. The video and the story development were rhythmic and they did a great job conveying their message in a short amount of time. I was also impressed with the English fluency of the student narrator. (Taichi Kaneshiro/ Director of Office of Promoting Foreign Language Education, Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology)
2nd Place: National Institute of Technology, Hakodate College (Hokkaido)
I was very impressed with the level of video editing and technical skills that were unique to students at an institute of technology. The way they showed “END” in the ending scene was so creative. I was able to feel their passion filled school lives from watching the video. (Kyoko Shimomura/ Wife of Former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology)
The beginning was quite innovative with great technical applications. Enjoyed all the students communicating their passion. (Rona Tison/ Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations, ITO EN, LTD.)
Judges (in alphabetical order)
Hideki Hara/ Director, The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
Jennifer Ishiguro/ U.S.-Japan Council Member; Legal Consultant, Gateway One Lending & Finance
David Janes/ Director of Foundation Grants and Assistant to the President, United States-Japan Foundation
Taichi Kaneshiro/ Director of Office of Promoting Foreign Language Education, Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Kyoko Shimomura/ Wife of Former Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Rona Tison/ Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations, ITO EN, LTD.