Vedha Narayanasamy, an advertisement professional in the city, has been studying Japanese for more than three years and has completed three of the five levels.

She learns the language more as a hobby than for career development. “I have found that there are a lot of words common to Tamil and Japanese. If one knows Tamil well, it is easy to pick up Japanese as the syntax and the sentence formation is similar,” says Ms. Narayansamy.

She won in the open category of the speech contest organised by Consulate General of Japan in association with Hayakawa Japanese Language School and Cultural Center on Sunday.

Rohit, who secured the first prize in the junior category, talked about cricket as his favourite sport and impressed the judges. A student of ABK-AOTS Dosokai for two years, Rohit put in extra hours to learn the language. Shibanimelba won the first prize in the senior category.

Masanori Nakano, Consul-General of Japan, said that there are a lot of words that sound similar in both Japanese and Tamil. For example, ‘Thumbi’ (grasshopper) is called ‘Thombo’ in Japanese. With several Japanese companies coming to India, students proficient in Japanese have an edge over the others, he said.

More In: Chennai | Events