October 28, 2023

Mr. Ruka Watanabe (3rd year, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, School of International and Area Studies, Central Asia Region Major) currently studying at Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies in the Republic of Uzbekistan, was crowned the first-place winner in the final of the”Uzbek is the translator of my heart (O’ zbek tili – qalbim tarjimoni)” Uzbek language contest for foreigners held on October 18, 2023, in the capital city of Tashkent.

Nearly 450 foreign students from higher education institutions across Uzbekistan participated in the contest, in which those who passed the preliminary screening at each institution competed for first place in a three-stage judging process that included

(1) a speech in video format,
(2) an essay, and
(3) a free-form presentation on stage.

Mr. Watanabe, who was selected as a finalist, sang the song “Omon yor” in Uzbek to the dance accompaniment of fellow exchange student Ms. Riko Sonoda, (3rd-year Russian and Central Asian Studies Major at the School of Language and Culture Studies), which received the highest evaluation.

The contest was organized by the Government of Uzbekistan to celebrate “Uzbek Language Day” on October 21 (jointly sponsored by the Uzbek Language Development Department of the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, and the Uzbek Language Development Fund affiliated with the Council of Ministers).

His Excellency Mr. Abdurakhmonov, the Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Japan, visited the university this month and encouraged students of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies to learn Uzbek in his lecture about this “Uzbek Language Day” holiday.

I am deeply grateful to have received such a prestigious award in this contest, which is the result of the generous guidance of the professors of the Department of Central Asian Studies at TUFS and the Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies, as well as the support of my friends in Uzbekistan, who I competed with in this friendly competition. This experience has made me determined to further deepen my study of the Uzbek language and Uzbekistan.

Mr. Ruka Watanabe.

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