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JLfest 2023
Japanese Comedy

Story Telling Competition

The competition aims at enhancing the oral skills of Japanese language learners by cultivating their interest in reading as well as their appreciation for the language and Japanese comedy (Rakugo).

It also encourages learners to inculcate good values through telling or listening to the story.

This year, the competition was held on June 17, 2023, and 11 contestants competed by retelling the story 「ファミリーズー」in their own personal style. The story was rewritten by Edward Lee based on 2 popular RAKUGO stories.


1st Prize Winner:

Angel Tan Ke Qin

SMK (P) Temenggong Ibrahim

2nd Prize Winner:

Tan Ai Lin


3rd Prize Winner:

Nur Alleesya Nadhirah Jazlan

SM Sultan Abdul Halim


Edward 3_edited.jpg

Edward LEE




Dr Rokiah Paee

Senior Lecturer




Technical Advisor



Nirmala Beletambi

 Japanese Language Teacher



  "Year after year, contestants in this competition never failed to awe me with their creativity and unique interpretation of the story's characters. However, this year the hurdle was high. Why? There were 11 characters in the story!!.  Contestants have to assume 11 different personalities to portray and vocalise each and every character in this story differently, using a wide range of voice techniques, body gestures, and facial expressions in order to help the audience to visualise the story. Difficult but yet each contestant managed to give a different personality to each character in the story that made the judges felt that they were listening to 11 different stories instead of to the same story 11 times. Hats off to all the contestants!

    Contestants were required to craft an interesting opening self-intro before they begin telling the story. And I was floored by the creativity and wittiness of some. One talked about a personal experience of how difficult it was trying to give a name to a new school club. And another asked the audience what sort of work they think would earn them RM500 a day. I believe that they could be our future RAKUGO-KA.

    The performance of the 3 winners was superb. They enjoyed telling us the story as much as we enjoyed listening to them. However, there were also some good ones who did not make the cut. I would like to highlight two of them. The first one breezed through the whole story right before time effortlessly. She was fluent as she lived in Japan when she was small. However, had she not rushed through the script but put more attention to putting 'life' into each character, she could be a great storyteller  The second contestant was the exact opposite. She spoke slower, was expressive with her facial and body expressions, and more importantly made brief but effective pauses to accentuate some of the characters. This allowed the audience to visualise the characters and the story. Unfortunately, she forgot her lines briefly which cost her valuable time. She was very close to finishing the story before her time was up. What's a waste!

    On the other hand, a lack of consistency and accuracy was noticeable. This could result in losing the audience as they would not be able to follow. Hence,

  1. Be consistent when vocalising and positioning the characters. If the voice of the mother cat is soft-spoken and hesitant, then it should be maintained throughout the story unless she underwent an emotional change. Likewise, if the lion cage is on the right side of the tiger den, then the lion should walk from the right to the left when it enters the tiger den.

  2. Be accurate in pronunciation. Pronouncingオーナー(owner) as おんな (lady), as some of the contestants did, could affect the storyline and caused confusion.

Perhaps it is not a bad idea to video record yourself to check for consistency and accuracy as well as explore ways to improve your performance."


  "🎉 Congratulations to the Winners and everyone who participated in this competition! 🙌 Shoutout to all the first-timers out there! It takes real courage to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Keep pushing yourself to grow and thrive. 👏👏👏

    It's interesting to see how some participants bring the characters from the stories come to life through them. Some of them used creative techniques like using 'sensu' as a microphone, making sound effects when making announcements, changing their voice to match the character, or incorporating physical movements to enhance their storytelling. These added a lot of depth and entertainment value to their performances. Most of the participants had very good pronunciation in Japanese! Just a small suggestion - working on your intonation, and speaking speed could really help bring your story to life more.

    There were some participants who had a great start but once they forgot a line, it became challenging for them to regain their momentum. As a result, they resorted to reading from their notes or screen and this impacted the rest of their performances. Memorising and telling a story in a foreign language in a limited time frame requires double or even triple the effort. Keep Practising!


    Remember! Your words, facial expressions, and body language are key in communicating the emotions you want to convey to your audience."




​  これから物語を読むとき、たまにはセリフの一部分でも声に出して読んでみるのはどうでしょう。」


  "First of all, congratulations to all the participants. You did a very good job. It was not easy to tell a story in the Japanese Language with gestures and changing voices at the same time. Many of you were able to memorize the long scripts and immersed well into the characters in the story.  It reflected your hard work and passion for the Japanese Language. Kudos to the teachers in charge who trained them well.

    To the winners, congratulations! You deserve it.  And to others, don’t give up. Please try again next year.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizing team of JL Fest for trusting me to be the judge in this storytelling competition. It was a new experience for me but enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you again."


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