For the Love of the Japanese Language—and More

The last weekend of the love month has witnessed the Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM) at the forefront of celebrating the Japanese language (Nihongo) learning and Japanese arts and culture through the Nihongo Fiesta 2016 held on February 27 at the Shangri-La Plaza Mall and Spinning Manila: J-Pop Live! staged on February 28 at the Whitespace Manila.

The Nihongo Fiesta 2016 consisted of events such as the 43rd Nihongo Speech Contest, which gathered students and professionals nationwide. Out of 11 finalists, a speech entitled “My Body Size is 100, 90, 110” by Princess Meg Y. Perez from Davao won grand prize (sai-yuushuushou), earning her an all-expense-paid study tour in Japan and prizes from the sponsors.

Perez attributed her win to continuous practice and confidence, and encouraged aspiring Japanese speech contestants to do the same.  She also related how her experience getting bullied in school taught her to fight back and also led her to immerse herself in anime and Nihongo.

The 8th Nihongo Quiz Bee for High School Students likewise drew competing schools from NCR and other regions for a brain battle on Japanese language and culture. Valenzuela City School of Mathematics and Science bested 19 other schools. Securing the school’s first Grand Championship proved to be challenging for the team, as there was a tight competition and small point margin between them and first placer Marikina Science High School. Florentino Torres High School was named second placer.

Audiences were also treated to the full-house screening of the acclaimed film Sarusaberi: Miss Hokusai at the Shang Cineplex Cinema 1, as well as to the entertaining number by the local up-and-coming girl group KAWAII 5, the group who sang the theme song of the localized Japanese drama, Amachan, on TV5.

To cap off the event, Japanese Pop (J-Pop) artists straight from Japan composed of Diana Garnet and Joe Inoue, with special participation of THE BEATMOTORS, recounted the challenges and joys of learning Nihongo outside Japan before they enchanted the crowd with the live performance of their hits and popular anime songs as a teaser to their concert the following day.

Spinning Manila: J-Pop Live! attracted close to three hundred J-Pop lovers who enthusiastically sang along to the artists’ songs as well as nostalgic, well-loved hits from old and new anime shows such as Naruto Shippuden. Winners of the JFM’s first ever Facebook cosplay photo contest, chosen by the featured artists themselves, were also revealed at the concert.


“This year marks the 60th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Philippines, and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Japan Foundation, Manila. We are delighted and pleased to kick off this special year with the series of colorful events and celebrate together with the Japanese learners, and Japanese arts and cultural enthusiasts,” commented by JFM Director Hiroaki Uesugi.

The Nihongo Fiesta 2016 and Spinning Manila: J-Pop Live! are just two of the activities co-organized by JFM with the Embassy of Japan to commemorate the Japan-Philippines Friendship Year (The 60th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Philippines).  The Nihongo Fiesta 2016 is supported by the Shangri-La Plaza Mall, the Shang Cineplex, the Film Development council of the Philippines (FDCP), the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines, Inc. (JCCIPI), The Japanese Association, Manila Inc. (JAMI), the Japan Overseas Enterprises Association (JOEA), University of Philippines Tomo Kai and the Association of the Filipino Nihongo Teachers (AFINITE).Spinning Manila: J-Pop Live! is made possible by Canon Marketing (Philippines) Inc. and partners HERO TV,, Otaku Asia, The Cosplay Café, and Naruto Cosplayers Philippines.

About the Japan Foundation, Manila

The Japan Foundation was established in 1972 by special legislation in the Japanese Diet and became an Independent Administrative Institution in October 2003. The mission of the Japan Foundation is to promote international cultural exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and other countries. As the18th overseas office, the Japan Foundation, Manila was founded in 1996, active in three focused areas: Arts and Culture; Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange; Japanese-Language Education Overseas. For more information please visit our website at and our Facebook