University of Nottingham Malaysia
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UNM students win Japanese language skit competition


Dahlia Sheherazade Aishah Mohd Faisal, Alysha Bujang, Choy Yi Fang, Izza Khaleeda Mohd Shahrul and Muhammad Farhan Shahmi Abdullah, year 2 Japanese language students from the School of Media, Languages and Cultures (SMLC), were announced as the 1st Prize winners of the 2020 Japanese Skit Contest organised by Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur (JFKL).

Their skit centred around Marui Maruo, a university student with a deep passion for the game Tic-Tac-Toe. He dreams of joining the university’s exclusive Tic-Tac-Toe club before he graduates but only those who are acknowledged by the number one player - Francesca Xavier, are allowed entry.

Marui is defeated countless times and therefore his application to join the team is rejected. But he perseveres and continues trying until one day he finally beats Francesca and is awarded a membership at the club.

According to team leader Dahlia, the theme for this year’s skit competition was the letter 'X'. So the team had to interpret it as creatively as they could. The script was reviewed a few times with the lecturer and those who understand Japanese language would enjoy finding many small details and creativity woven in the whole skit.

The team had initially planned on gathering physically to film the skit, however, the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) meant that they had to make adjustments.

“We then decided to have an esports-type game of Tic-Tac-Toe instead,” Dahlia said.

The contest is an annual event that is open to Japanese language learners in Malaysia who are above the age of 17 and currently learning the Japanese language at college, university or language centres.

The various teams were judged based on four criteria: Relevance to contest theme, clarity and suitability of Japanese language used, acting skills, and originality and creativity of the story line.

About two weeks after the submission deadline, JFKL revealed the list of finalists who had made through to the final round of judging. There was supposed to be a ‘Final Screening’ the week after to announce the winners through a Zoom call with all the finalists, but this was cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

As an alternative, the results were announced on JFKL’s website, along with a video announcement of the winners. 

Team member Alysha said that she was motivated to join the competition to help improve her grasp of the Japanese language.

“Also, I felt that this was an opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone, as I wouldn’t usually join events like this. I was also excited to be working in a team to create this skit. I felt like it was going to be a fun experience.”

Her teammate Muhammad Farhan echoed her sentiments. He went on to say that winning the competition was a surreal experience and that while the prizes were great,  the true privilege was being able to manifest a witty, yet wholesome production which played around and satirised the conventions of the anime genre to tell an honest story about friendship.

One of the members, Izza, who is majoring in Film and TV, said that she was really excited to be able to exercise her creativity and gain proper experience in being behind the camera, and piecing the story together through editing.

Another member, Yi Fang mentioned that they had not expected to even place in the top 5, let alone winning. They were already happy by submitting the video as they had put a lot of effort into it. When the team found out they had won, all of the members were in awe and felt that all of their efforts paid off.

For their winning skit, the students won for themselves Kinokuniya book vouchers, Kokuyo stationery sets, Panasonic LED touch lanterns and Japan Foundation merchandise. The team also received a private congratulatory message from Mr Norio Yanai, Executive Secretary of the Japan Club Kuala Lumpur.

SMLC has been sending teams to participate in the Japanese Skit Contests since years ago and had won multiple prizes in the contest. This is the 2nd time University of Nottingham Malaysia won a 1st Prize.  

The full skit can be viewed here.

(Article and thumbnail caption: Students from SMLC won the 1st Prize again in the 2020 Japanese Skit Contest)


For media enquiries please contact: Josephine Dionisappu, PR and Communications Manager University of Nottingham Malaysia at  

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted on 23rd July 2021

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