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Warwick students win prestigious Japanese award with Coventry Cathedral inspired talk

A trio of University of Warwick students have been commended by the Japan Foundation for a talk and presentation on Coventry Cathedral.

Caijia Li, Yeng Yeng Shang and David Walton were awarded the War and Peace Prize for their talk at the Seventh Japanese Speech Contest for university students, a competition run by the Japan Foundation and British Association for Teaching Japanese (BATJ).

The trio chose to talk about Coventry Cathedral because of its importance as a local landmark. David’s grandfather and great-grandfather both lived in and around Coventry and were firewatchers in the city during the Blitz.

Yeng and Caijia found that learning about the cathedral helped them to feel more of a connection with the area, and to feel more at home here.

The group were one of four to be commended at the awards ceremony at the School of Oriental and African Studies, in London. In total 22 groups from ten universities across the UK competed in the group presentation category.

David said: "Winning the prize has really boosted my confidence in speaking Japanese, and I was so glad that the audience understood the message we were trying to get across."

Yeng added: "'The prize is a confidence boost for me, as it demonstrates that, even when limited to using Japanese at a beginner's level, a wide range of messages can be carried across. It is definitely an encouragement to further my Japanese studies."

Caijia said: "The prize and the speech contest has reaffirmed my love and fascination for the Japanese language. Through the contest, we met and made new friends who share our same passion in the language. This whole journey has been truly amazing and inspiring.

Politics undergraduate Melody Ho made the final of the Category 2 competition, for students studying Japanese as an elective or optional course.

Notes to Editors

A photo of the trio is available at

For more information contact Luke Hamer, Assistant Press Officer, University of Warwick, on 02476 575601, or on 07824 541142. Alternatively email

PR: 54 22/03/12

David Walton, Yeng Yeng Shang and Caijia Li