Pronunciation Pedagogy Workshop for Japanese
OJAD and its use for practical prosody training of Japanese

(OJAD = Online Japanese Accent Dictionary)

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Nobuaki Minematsu (Professor of The University of Tokyo, Leader of Project OJAD, Japan)
Kohji Oikawa (Japanese Teacher of JASLON, China)

Supported by:

The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
Japanese Language Class, School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo,

Boston University, Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature and the NEH Distinguished Teaching Professorship in Humanities,

National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, and 

Asian-Pacific Signal and Information Processing Association (APSIPA). 

Description and call for participation:

While many learners of Japanese want to acquire a good skill of controlling lexical accent and phrase intonation to make their utterances sound more natural, satisfactory prosody training is not given in class. One of the reasons for that will be very complicated context-dependent accent change. Even native Japanese often have difficulty in explaining how they change lexical accent although they change unconsciously when speaking. Further, to improve the comprehensibility of learners’ Japanese, adequate control of phrase intonation is important but this fact is not taught satisfactorily in class. To solve this situation, Project OJAD and NINJAL (National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics) developed a web-based system for Japanese prosody training, called OJAD. The OJAD was already translated into 14 non-Japanese languages and, as of May 28, its tutorial workshop will have been given 78 times in 26 countries and the LA workshop will be the 79-th.

1-min PV:

The one-day workshop will serve two purposes. The first is to introduce the OJAD, where fundamentals of Japanese prosody are summarized as well as the four functions of the OJAD are explained through demonstrations and exercises. The OJAD uses the Fujisaki model to visualize lexical accent and phrase intonation. After the OJAD session, a demonstration class is given from Kohji Oikawa, who is the most famous teacher of Japanese in Beijing for his unique and intensive speech training. For six years running, his students had won the championship in the Beijing speech contest of Japanese. One of his female students is now working as professional voice actress of Japanese animation in Japan.


          Session-1: tutorial workshop of the OJAD
          Lecturer: Dr. Nobuaki Minematsu (The University of Tokyo)

          Time: 9:00 – 12:30 (including a break)
          The language to be used is mainly English and partly Japanese.

          If every attendee can understand spoken Japanese, he talks in Japanese.
          1) Fundamentals of lexical accent and phrase intonation of Japanese
          2) How is learners’ inadequate prosody perceived by native Japanese?
          3) The four functions of the OJAD
          4) An example of effective use of the OJAD in class of speech training

          Lunch time: 12:30 – 13:30 (Lunch is not provided from the organizers)

          Session-2: demonstration class
          Lecturer: Kohji Oikawa (JASLON)
          Time: 13:30 – 14:30

          The language to be used is mainly Japanese and Chinese and partly English.

Oikawa-sensei’s unique method of teaching Japanese pronunciation, especially Japanese prosody, is demonstrated and explained. The organizers are looking for Chinese learners of Japanese and in this session, he will teach them with his method. Participants can observe how the learners’ pronunciation is improved. The OJAD will be used partly in his class.

Venue: Auditorium at the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles (JFLA)


          Registration for attendance is free of charge but participants have to bring their own laptop or tablet, which should be fully charged in advance. Knowledge of Japanese is preferable but without it, one can learn at least how speech and ICT technologies can be applied to language education. For registration, please send an email to Nobuaki Minematsu ( with its subject being “May 28 workshop”.  In the email, you have to show your name, e-mail address, affiliation, and how you are involved in Japanese language education (teacher or learner). The deadline for registration is May 20 (Fri). 


  Dr. Nobuaki Minematsu received his doctorate in Engineering in 1995 from the University of Tokyo. From 2002 to 2003, he was a visiting researcher at KTH, Stockholm. Currently, he is a full professor at the University of Tokyo. He has a wide interest in speech communication ranging from science to engineering. He has published more than 400 papers, including conference papers. They are related to speech analysis, speech perception, speech recognition, speech synthesis, dialogue systems, language learning systems, etc. He received scientific/technical awards from RISP (2005), JSAI (2007), ICIST (2011), O-COCOSDA (2014), PSJ (2014) and IEICE (2016). He gave tutorial/keynote talks on CALL (Computer-Aided Language Learning) at APSIPA2011, INTERSPEECH2012, O-COCOSDA2015, EJHIB2015, and ISAPh2016. Since 2015, he has been serving as distinguished lecturer for APSIPA.

   Kohji Oikawa, born in 1970 in Saitama prefecture in Japan, was graduated with a master’s degree from Beijing Center for Japanese Studies and a degree in Japanese phonetics. Currently, he is the headmaster of JASLON (Japanese Language Salon) located in Beijing. In 2001, he started his teaching career in Peking University and Tsinghua University and has taught Japanese language in China over 10 years. More than 100 students that he trained won nationwide speech contests. In 2011, he started “Speech Training Marathon” and has given lectures and speech training at 302 schools in China. He also gives teachers’ training courses across Europe and Southeast Asia. His pedagogical activities are widely reported by the mass media both in China and Japan. Recently, he gave seminars to teachers in the University of Tokyo, Waseda University, and Kansai University in Japan.