Despite COVID-19 presenting new obstacles to international exchange, more than 30 participants from various regions were able to learn and interact together online across national borders through the 9th International Japanese Language Debate Course from August 23 to 30, 2020.
Sponsored by the Japan Debate Association (JDA) Kyushu Chapter and the International Society for Teaching Debate (ISTD), co-sponsored by Kyushu University’s Faculty of Languages & Cultures, and organized with the cooperation of the Kyushu University Debate Club (QDC), the debate course will serve as a model case for online debate education in the future.
In previous years, this course has been held as a multiday retreat, or “debate camp” as popularly called, to deepen international exchange between students of Kyushu U and Japanese learners living in East Asia through debate in Japanese. This year, the impact of COVID-19 forced the switch to an online intensive course for the first time.
Welcoming Katsuya Koresawa (Hiroshima Shudo University and Director of the Japan Debating Association) as a lecturer, the participants attended lectures and took part in group work, discussing the timely debate topic "Resolved: that Japan should cancel the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics." Japanese native speakers and Japanese learners formed mixed teams and developed their arguments by comparing and examining evidence for and against each side. As is customary in competitive debate, they prepared for both sides of the debate resolution and switched sides in competition.
Natsumi Tsunoda, a first-year student at the School of Law, led Team B to the second place and won the best debater's prize in the Japanese Native Speaker Division.
"We were able to have a good debate thanks to our team and our opponents' teams,” she said. “We were able to find out what we hadn't noticed from our respective viewpoints in Japan and abroad, and it was a fun competition as an international exchange.”
Kosei Enomoto, a second-year student at the School of Interdisciplinary Science and Innovation, won the second debater’s prize.
"I was able to reaffirm the joy of debate. Through the interaction and debate with participants, I felt that debate was an effective way to make the world a better place,” he commented.
Participants' universities: Kyushu University, Hiroshima Shudo University, Hunan Normal University (China), National Chiao Tung University (Taiwan), National Central University (Taiwan), National Taiwan University, National Taichung University of Science and Technology (Taiwan), Konkuk University (South Korea), Myongji College (South Korea), Dongguk University (South Korea), Busan University of Foreign Studies (South Korea)