Connection Through Education
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  • Japanese Language Festival 2023

Japanese Language Festival 2023

  • Saturday, March 18, 2023
  • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Online - links will be sent out prior to event


Registration is closed

USA: Saturday, March 18th, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (PT)

Japan: Sunday, March 19th, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (JST)


Free Event!

Registration required!

Join us online to celebrate Japanese language learning, trivia and fun of Japanese language education in Washington State.


Door Prize

All middle school and high school students you register and join our event will be entered into a special door prize! Prize TBA!

*Attention! You must register to the event and be present during the event to claim your door prize! If you attend without registering or register without attending, you miss out on the chance!


Join Our Contests!

We will have two contests running, with the winners announced at our event! Open to English-speaking students learning Japanese and Japanese-speaking students learning English!

 Winners of each contest will win $150! 

Deadline For Both Contests:

Sunday March 12 4:00 PM PT (Seattle Time)

Monday March 13 8:00 AM JST (Japan Time)

Manga Drawing Contest: Create an original 4-panel manga in your target language!

Lip Sync Contest: Lip sync 20-seconds of a Japanese/English song!

Register for the Manga Drawing Contest! Register for the Lip Sync Contest!


Special Guests


Kofi Bazzell-Smith

Manga Artist, Athlete, Educator

Taisuke Kimura

Film and TV Composer, multi-instrumentalist


Dylan Rhoads

Nintendo, Program Manager, Strategic Initiatives, Office of the CEO

Carolyn Whittingham

Nintendo, Manager, Player & Product Experience - Pokémon

Kofi Bazzell-Smith

Kofi Bazzell-Smith is an artist, an MFA Candidate in New Media at the University of Illinois, and a professional boxer. Kofi learned Japanese and travelled to Japan several times to study manga and produces works in English and Japanese. He is currently engaged in an interdisciplinary fellowship with the Humanities Research Institute, his central research question is: “How can the pursuit of an art form from another culture serve to produce new knowledge?” Kofi’s work comes at the intersection of Japan’s efforts to globalize via popular culture and the recognition that comic studies is gaining in academia as a generative lens for examining socio-cultural phenomena. His goal as an artist-scholar is to champion these movements, publish manga in Japan, and pioneer teaching manga production in the United States- challenging the Eurocentric hegemony of art education.

Taisuke Kimura

Taisuke Kimura is a composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Los Angeles. 

He is known for Disney+ "Marvel Studios: Legends". His music got placement for the Episode: The Dora Milaje. Taisuke has written and arranged music for many films and TV shows including a 95th Oscars-eligible documentary feature film "Buried: The 1982 Alpine Meadows Avalanche", "Missing" (Sony Picture Worldwide Acquisitions), "Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles" (Netflix), and "Deadly Recall" (Investigation Discovery). His work includes films, TV, and commercials for Disney, Netflix, Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, and Vice Media, to name a few.

One of the films that Taisuke has done "The Spirit Room" has won 9 awards and 4 nominations at Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival, Studio City Film Festival, Silicon Beach Film Festival, and FANtastic Horror Film Festival. It has been screened at memorable venues such as Warner Brothers, and Raleigh Studios.

A graduate of Berklee College of Music (2014), where he studied film scoring and practiced his directed study with Grammy and Emmy Winner Film Composer Claudio Ragazzi.

Dylan Rhoads

Since first working as an intern in Japan in 1995 and joining the JET Program from 1996-1999, Dylan Rhoads has built upon his academic background in Japanese language and culture as part of the interactive entertainment industry for over 20 years, working with many videogame companies in different parts of Japan, the U.S, and Europe. Through his travels, Dylan is constantly amazed by both differences and similarities between foreign cultures and his own.

Carolyn Whittingham

Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Carolyn Whittingham was driven to study Japanese language and culture due to a lifelong love of Japanese novels, video games, and animation, and has studied abroad in Osaka, Kyoto, and Hokkaido. She is currently pursuing her passion by working in the video game industry as a Player and Product Experience Manager (Pokémon) at Nintendo of America, but previously worked in the Japanese heavy industries and localization fields. Carolyn also participated in the JET Programme as an ALT in Hokkaido prefecture.



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The JLF is supported by community organizations that wish to create a fun and inspiring environment to study the Japanese Language and celebrate Japanese culture.


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