Japan: 2040. In an effort to make Japanese people smarter, and to avoid the intellectual damage caused by the youths of the early 21st century, Japan institutes the mandatory “Reading Death Match.” All Japanese, upon reaching the age of majority (20), will be forced to battle to the death through a fatal reading competition. A group of 10 people will be matched up against each other and must read for 12 hours straight. The slowest reader, measured by nano-chips implanted in all of the readers’ eyes and brains that detect speed and understanding, will be executed on site, and have their family shamed. Will you survive?
While unfortunately reading challenges and competitions have not yet reached this level of excitement that I think is required, they are becoming an increasing trend in motivating yourself to study Japanese.
The concept is simple: a lot of Japanese learners get together, read as much as they can for a specific amount of time (maybe a month?), keep track of the numbers, post the stats on the contest’s website, and the high reader is crowned king or queen.
What do I think of these contests?
I like them. While I haven’t personally entered any, I think you should take motivation wherever you can find it. Also, when you are studying with (or against) other people in a competitive fashion, you will end up working harder and progressing faster. Most goals are accomplished in life because you want to do something better than someone else.
There is a big Japanese reading contest that I think has been run quite a few times called Tadoku (多読), which literally means reading a lot. I’ve heard very good things about it. See comments below for more info.
And to those of you that are thinking to yourself “can’t people just cheat and lie about their numbers?” Yea I suppose. But really? Are you going to cheat on a Japanese reading contest (where your life isn’t in danger)?