Japanese language gains popularity among Tongan students


The Japanese ambassador to Tonga His Excellency Yukio Numata said studying Japanese is becoming increasingly popular among Tongan students.

Mr Numata was speaking at the award ceremony for Tongan students who competed during the Japanese Speech Contest 2017 in Nuku’alofa on Wednesday 10.

Twenty four students from Vava’u High School, ‘Eua High School and Tailulu College in Vava’u competed at this year’s competition. Twenty two students competed last year 2016.

Mr Numata said Tonga is unique in that the Ministry of Education has created text books of its own to help teach students understand the language in the Tongan context.

Since its introduction to Tonga in 1986, the Japanese language is now taught in seven high schools including trainee teachers at the Tonga Institute of Education.

The Minister of Education Penisimani Fifita said he was thankful for the People of Japan in assisting the Kingdom’s education with the Japanese language programme.

The competition

Milika Fifita of Tonga High School won the Open Category. She will be Tonga’s nomination to participate in the Japanese Language Program for overseas students (Outstanding Students) in Osaka, Japan, in September.

Arial Sanchez also from Tonga High School won the Form 6 Category while Tangimotia Havea from ‘Eua High School won the Form 5 Category. Salome Po’uli of Tonga High School won the Form 4 Category.

The ceremony was attended by Dr. Sione Vailala Matoto who obtained his doctorate in philosophy  under a Japanese Government Scholarship.

Dr. Matoto spoke during the ceremony and encouraged the students to study their Japanese hard.

Also attended were Dr. ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki and Dr. SitiveniHalapua, Mr. Claude Tupou CEO for the Ministry of Education and Training and members of the Japanese Language Teachers Association in Tonga.