Who Are We?

What's ESUJ?

The English-Speaking Union of Japan (ESUJ) is a non-political, non-profit voluntary organization inaugurated in October 1998 with the aim of familiarizing the Japanese people with English as a tool for international communication. While it is an independent general incorporated association in Japan, as a member of the ESU International Council*, it maintains close relations with some 50 ESUs worldwide centered around the English-Speaking Union established in Britain in 1918. It has been (1) hosting the University English Debating Competitions for 18 years and the Adult (Shakaijin) English Debating Competitions for 14 years for the purpose of fostering global communicators, (2)holding lectures, English-language programs, receptions, etc. to provide a place for learning and interaction across generations and professions, and (3) introducing diverse Japanese opinions abroad through its website.

*Members of the ESU International Council (As of October 2015):
Albania, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Brazil, Bulgaria,
Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, England and Wales, Estonia, Finland,
France, Georgia, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Italy, Korea, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United States
Brief history of ESUJ
October 1998 The English-Speaking Union of Japan (ESUJ) was established as a non-profit, non-political voluntary
organization. Mr. Masamichi Hanabusa (Former Ambassador to Italy) was elected as Chairman.
The First University English Debating Competition was held.
September 2000 The “Japan In Their Own Words” (JITOW) column was inaugurated on the ESUJ website.
June 2002 The first Adult (Shakaijin) English debating Competition was held.
October 2007 The ESU International Council Meeting was held in Tokyo.
June 2008 Mr. Tsunetada Matsudaira  (Former Japan Airlines Representative in London) was elected as Chairman.
June 2009 ESUJ became a general incorporated association under Japanese law.
June 2011 Mr. Sadaaki Numata (Former Ambassador to Canada) was elected as Chairman
2015~ ESUJ expanded its activities to civil service and corporate in-house training programs.
2017 ESUJ 20th Anniversary Events
Oct. 7 & 8  ESUJ Debating Competition
October 10 The ESUJ 20th Anniversary Symposium
                     “Using English to meet challenges in the world”
March 2019 HPDU Competition 2019: Co-sponsored by HPDU of Japan and ESUJ

Jump to ESUJ Chairman Greeting Page.

Activities of ESUJ

(1)    Fostering global communicators
In tandem with the tradition-honored ESU UK, ESUJ has played a pioneering role in the promotion of parliamentary debate in Japan.  With the help of sponsoring corporations, the circle of parliamentary debate has spread, through  the annual ESUJ University English Debating Competitions as well as the Adult (Shakijin) Competitions, to encompass university students, working adults, high school students and teachers, and is now here to stay. With growing social recognition of ESUJ’s raison d’être in this regard, it has started undertaking civil service and corporate in-house training programs designed to improve communication skills in English.  Parliamentary debate helps foster not only English proficiency but also skills in logical thinking, problem finding and solving, flexibility, all of which are required of global communicators. As such, it aptly meets the demands of the time.
(2)  Providing a place for learning and interaction across generations and professions
ESUJ hosts throughout the year programs designed for those actively interested in the English language. It is continuing to enrich programs that will appeal to its members and also to younger people who may wish to join, such as lectures, the new “Learning Series”, the “Roudoku Club” and the “Chairman’s Conversations”.
(3)     Introducing diverse Japanese opinions abroad
Since 2000, the external outreach committee has met every month with a view to introducing diverse opinions in Japan on a host of subjects through the publication of opinion articles in Japanese and English on the “Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW)” column of the ESUJ website. Nearly 500 articles have been published to date.

 2017 Activities (Japanese)       2018 Activities (Japanese)
 2015 Activities (Japaense)  2016 Activities (Japanese)


The history of The English-Speaking Union (ESU)

The English-Speaking Union was founded in 1918 in Britain for the promotion of mutual understanding and friendship among countries whose mother tongue was English. Two years later it was also established in the United States.
Following that, as the former members of the British Commonwealth attained their independence, they founded their own independent ESUs. Later,non-English-speaking countries of Europe such as Germany and France also organized their own ESUs for the promotion of international understanding through the use of English. The movement continued to grow, until today there are some 50 English-Speaking Unions throughout the world. These international ESUs make their own programs according to their particular circumstances and needs. Activities include charitable educational events for students such as debate competitions, speech contests and drama contests; the sending of English teachers to Britain; lecture meetings on current international affairs; the provision of scholarships for young musicians and artists; and seminars with the purpose of encouraging friendship among the member s and improving their English ability. Through the network of the International Council, exchange programs and other activities are also undertaken among groups of neighboring ESUs in a region. As for ESUJ, top-notch debaters from British universities are invited to assist the University English Debating Competition every autumn. In 2015, they staged a model debate at a reception on the eve of the competition, took part as judges, and also held workshops

ESU Website


ESUJ Office

Fujikage-Building 9th Floor, Motoakasaka 1-1-5
Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0051
5 minutes walk from Exit B, Akasaka-Mitsuke Station (Tokyo Metro)
TEL: 03-3423-0970 FAX: 03-3423-0971

※Please contact us by E-mail before you come to office.