Nihongo Art Contest Exhibition 2009

Nov 24, 2009 - Dec 12, 2009 @ Gendai Gallery at JCCC

Nihongo Art Contest 2009 will be featuring an exclusive exhibition of inspirational artworks by students across Ontario that are currently studying the Japanese language. This year’s juried exhibition will include 210 drawings from students ranging from grades 1 to 12 – including the first few computer graphic illustrations – each unique in its own style, medium and representation of the Japanese character. The collected artworks will also showcase some pieces by kindergarten students and adults.

is a unique way to express individualistic ideas about Kanji (Chinese Characters), Hiragana and Katakana words through illustration. Through Nihongo Art, children experience a different approach to learning the Japanese language, challenging themselves to create an illustrated artwork that embodies both meaning and character.

This exhibition will run from Tuesday, November 24 and continue until Saturday, December 12 at The Gendai Gallery, located within the Japanese Canadian Culture Centre. The opening event on Saturday, November 28 will include an awards presentation for the top winning entries, followed by an artist workshop opened to children of all ages by Annie Onyi Cheung, a University of Toronto Art History and Studio Arts Graduate.

The Nihongo Art Contest was founded in 2004 by Yukie Uchida, a teacher of Japanese at Hillfield Strathallan College in Hamilton. She invented a unique method of teaching: she asked students to draw pictures that incorporated Japanese characters to embody a word’s meaning in the drawing itself. With the support of the Japan Foundation, the Ontario-wide contest was established and every year, hundreds of children in Ontario experience Nihongo Art while learning the Japanese language.

Contest Judges

Takeo Maekawa (Chair), President, Japanese Social Services. Other judges included Masayuki Suzuki, Director, The Japan Foundation, Toronto; Marie Ikeda, Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre; Jotaro Arimori, Japanese Program at University of Toronto; Akiko Maruoka, Japanese Coordinator of Japanese Language Courses at University of Waterloo; Yumi Onose, Gendai Gallery; Angel Chung, Gendai Gallery; Bob Tanaka, The Heritage Committee, The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, and Misato Sakatani, Consul, The Consulate General of Japan in Toronto.


Nihongo Art Contest Organizing Committee 2009 (NACOC09) and Gendai Gallery.

Participating Schools

Hillfield Strathallan College, Toronto Kokugo Kyoshitsu, The Giles School, Nisshu Gakuin, St. Louis Adult Learning Centre, Nikka Gakuen, The Toronto Japanese Language School, YRDSB International Language Program, Georges Vanier Night School, The Valley International Language School and Thunder Bay Japanese Language Class


The Consulate General of Japan in Toronto, The Japan Foundation, Toronto, The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Hillfield Strathallan College, The Giles School, Toronto Kokugo Kyoshitsu, Nikka Gakuen, St. Louis Adult Learning Centre, Nisshu Gakuin, Toronto Japanese Language School, Thunder Bay Japanese Language Class, The Nikka Times, Nikkei Voice and Bits Box Inc.

For more information about Nihongo Art Contest 2009, contact:

Mika Lai, President, NACOC09: 905.477.9087.
Masako Sawada, Vice President, NACOC09:
Angel Chung, Gendai Gallery Programming 

or visit Nihongo Art Contest reference site:;