Posted on December 12, 2022 by COLFA

(Washington, DC) UTSA third-year Japanese major student Rhyn Cai is the winner of the 2022 Gold Award at The Japanese Learning Inspired Vision and Engagement Talk (JLive Talk).
Pictured: Professor of Instruction, Makiko Fukuda with Japanese Major Student, Rhyn Cai at JLive Talk

Pictured: Professor of Instruction, Makiko Fukuda with Japanese Major Student, Rhyn Cai at JLive Talk

 JLive Talk is a Japanese language competition for the 21st Century, founded in 2015 that emphasizes a comprehensive range of learned communication skills. Participants are tasked with giving a speech in the Japanese language which is not only judged based on four categories of vision, engagement, language, and communication, but also on the social and future impact of the speech’s content. This year’s competing colleges and universities of college-level Division III included Georgetown University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Rhyn won a preliminary round in October and Semi-finals in November. The final round was held at George Washington University on November 13th where Cai won the Gold Award, the highest achievement at J-Live.

Makiko Fukuda, Professor of Instruction within UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts’ Japanese language program spoke on the importance of JLive Talk.

“JLive Talk opens a door for students to connect with Japanese students all over the United States outside of UTSA and gives them a place to be a part of the Japanese learners’ community within the United States.” Said Fukuda “Taking on the challenge of a big stage, being active, and feeling a sense of accomplishment encourages further learning. It shows students who are studying Japanese now that they can excel if they work hard at the language.”

Cai’s speech entitled “Towards a Coexisting Japanese Society” addressed the problem of mixed-roots discrimination in Japan. He presented cases of Japanese citizens with mixed roots and identities and the unique positions and roles they occupy in Japanese society. He discussed Japanese treatment of foreigners from the perspective of a visible minority and invisible minority, shared his identity as someone who was born in Macau but grew up and naturalized in the U.S., and asked the Japanese audience a question; "What kind of person the Japanese would see him as, and how they would treat him?" Additionally, Cai pointed out the fundamental problems of Japanese society with low awareness of discrimination. His speech raised awareness of the problem in Japan and made the audience listen and think about what Japanese society should do to coexist with foreigners.

“With how strong the globalization trend has been in the past few decades, I have always wanted to cultivate a strong sense of critical thinking with a global perspective.” Shared Cai. “The atmosphere, the professors, and the peers here at UTSA have been the most helpful. To me, it was one of the most memorable years of my life and words are simply not enough for me to express how much I appreciate everything this campus, and most importantly, the people of this campus have given me.”

Cai proudly walked the stage during this week’s fall Commencement and is looking forward to a strong career thanks to all of the hard work he has dedicated to the Japanese language program at COLFA. He has previous work experience as a translator and interpreter.  He was also a teaching assistant for the UTSA inaugural San Antonio language Academy (SALA) Japanese language immersion program in the summer of 2022. He has also passed the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) on the second most difficult level. In addition to attending Japanese classes offered here at UTSA, Cai has also been furthering his Japanese study by watching and reading Japanese news, articles, and documentaries on a daily basis. He is a team player that is eager to contribute, and he is always excited to meet and help new people.

“I am striving to become a professional English/Japanese translator through the Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) position offered by the JET program. Being able to bridge and connect the cultural, economic, and political aspects of the people in the US and Japan would be my way of giving back to the many people and communities that have helped me achieve what I have today.” Said Cai, looking forward to his career after graduation. “I am thankful for all of the support UTSA has given me to allow me to reach this point in my career.”

J-live is sponsored by George Washington University Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, Embassy of Japan Washington D.C., Japan Foundation, Japan-United States Friendship Commission (JUSFC), International Christian University, The Naganuma School, Nanzan University, Geroge Washington University Sigur Center for Asian Studies, Sojitz Foundation, JCAW Inc, and JCAW Foundation Inc. You can view Cai’s speech at J-live contest online.