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December 01, 2003

Shizuoka Student Wins Speech Contest

Yoshinori Tanaka, a ninth-grade student from Shizuoka Prefecture, was awarded the H.I.H. Prince Takamado Trophy in the 55th All Japan Inter-Middle School English Oratorical Contest on Saturday, held at Yomiuri Hall in Yurakucho, Tokyo. Princess Takamado, the widow of Prince Takamado, who died just after last year's contest, presented the trophy this year. More than 100,000 students took part in the contest.

In the final round, the winner beat 26 other finalists with a speech titled "The REAL Japan," in which Tanaka, who lives in the temple in which his father serves, said he used to be "ashamed of my father's crazy job, my crazy family, my crazy home." When he participated in a homestay program in Australia, Tanaka was surprised to hear his host mother, after learning of his family background, say, "We have never met anyone from the real Japan before." That made him think seriously about Buddhism, and he has come to believe in the importance of teaching young people to appreciate Buddhist traditions. "We have got to teach children from a very young age to enjoy our temples," he said.
(From The Daily Yomiuri)

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