Global Classmates Video Competition is a contest where schools participating in our virtual exchange program, Global Classmates, create unique short videos that offer their distinctive perspectives on a central theme. The students in Japan narrate their video in English and the U.S. students narrate in Japanese.


We began this competition in 2014, in an age where impactful videos and stories can instantly spread across the world, to help nurture in students the ability to create valuable and globally appealing content.


It is not easy for students to come up with a succinct and compelling storyline for a short 3-minute video, as well as follow through the numerous steps it takes to complete their product. However, we are continually impressed by the high quality videos submitted that showcase the creativity, teamwork, and dedication that went in to making them.
Judging of videos consists of Kizuna Across Cultures first selecting eight top videos, after which a team of external judges, consisting of global leaders with a strong background in U.S. and Japanese culture and education, evaluate the videos on a variety of factors to select four winning videos, two from each country. One video is also selected for top honors – the grand prize.


Students participating in Global Classmates can view all submitted videos, allowing learning to happen for all. We continually receive student feedback such as, “I realized the diversity of the partner country and my own country,” and “I was inspired by the creativity and skills of the other schools’ students.”

Winners of 2020 Video Koshien

Theme: Our World

Grand Prize & 1st Place Japan: Ishinomaki High School (Miyagi)

I love how this video shows many different aspects of life and culture in Ishinomaki–from school life, to showing how the city rebuilt after 2011, to the local food, artists, and crafts the city is famous for. It was creative, the music was moving, and I got a very clear idea of your world!  (Sara Cook / CBS News Producer)


They did a great job portraying Ishinomaki as a city that is recovering from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake as well as a city of many different aspects. The images used were also beautiful. (Hiroyuki Takai/ Board of Director, JCAW Foundation, Inc.; General Manager, Washington office, Sumitomo Corp of Americas)


Well done! It makes me want to come and visit your world! (Daniel Tani /Director, US-Japan Foundation)

1st Place US: Mills High School (California)

Using the concept “we are united because of Japanese language,” the students did a great job portraying their connected worlds through the use of words, music and visual elements. I am very impressed with this creative approach. (Misako Ito/ CULCON, Secretary-General )


The music made with a mixture of Japanese and American sounds was impressive. I was moved by the outstanding use of visuals and music and their ability to convey ideas in Japanese, juxtaposed with the expressions of honest feelings of high school students. (Kenji Ono/ Director, Office of the promotion of foreign language education bureau, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Japan)

2nd Place Japan: Rakuhoku High School (Kyoto)

Far and away the most creative video and I loved the message. I loved how they held items up and said, “this is my world”. We all have different likes. The puzzle was fun and creative. (Joshua Beatty, Director of Global Operations/ Environmental Defense Fund)


The script was well developed and the ending was well done. The message, presentation skills, and creativity were all high quality and most of all, the great teamwork made this video excellent. (Takehiro Shimada/ Minister for Communications and Cultural Affairs, Embassy of Japan, Washington, DC)

2nd Place US: Stuyvesant High School (New York)

By asking what is important in your world to each student, I was able to see the differences in the students’ attitudes towards life and their cultures. I was also impressed with their Japanese. (Kyoko Shimomura/ Advisor, Culture Vision Japan Foundation Inc. )


The video was very well put together, and a real pleasure to watch. The conclusion showed how everyone’s worlds are brought together by an interest in Japanese, and I really appreciated it. (Katherine Tarr / U.S. Department of State, Coordinator for Public Diplomacy for Japan and Korea)

Judges (in alphabetical order)

Joshua Beatty/ Director of Global Operations, Environment Defense Fund
Sara Cook/ Producer, CBS News
Misako Ito/ Secretary-General, CULCON
Kenji Ono/ Director, Office of the promotion of foreign language education bureau, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Japan
Takehiro Shimada/ Minister for Communications and Cultural Affairs, Embassy of Japan, Washington, DC
Kyoko Shimomura/ Advisor, Culture Vision Japan Foundation Inc.
Hiroyuki Takai/ Board of Director, JCAW Foundation, Inc.; General Manager, Washington office, Sumitomo Corp of Americas
Daniel Tani/ Director, US-Japan Foundation
Katherine Tarr/ Coordinator for Public Diplomacy for Japan and Korea, U.S. Department of State