On Friday, Dec. 7, Harvard’s Japanese Language Program and the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies co-hosted an award ceremony and reception honoring Harvard students, who have excelled in Japanese language courses and who have achieved distinction in Japan-related essays.

Marissa McGarry and Tatyana Avilova, a junior and senior in the college respectively, both received Tazuko Ajiro Monane Prizes for their exemplary performance in Japanese language courses. McGarry and Avilova each delivered speeches in Japanese and English, thanking their language instructors and fellow students for their support. Both also mentioned how their love for the Japanese language and culture grew out of grade-school obsessions with anime.

Rachel Saunders and Layla Hazemi, a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in East Asian Languages and Civilizations and a senior in the college respectively, received Noma-Reischauer Prizes, for their Japan-related essays. Saunders, by way of her adviser Professor Melissa McCormick, who accepted the award on behalf of Saunders, and Hazemi gave remarks thanking their advisers and the selection committee and discussing the research that went into their essays on topics as distinct as the historical significance of a 14th century Japanese handscroll and the gender politics of the Shakespeare adaptations of a Japanese all-female theater troupe.

The ceremony was followed by a reception, doubling as an end-of-the-semester party, in which students of the Japanese language mingled with their teachers and together enjoyed a copious supply of sushi and traditional Japanese snacks provided by the Japanese Language Program.