Boy Who Speaks Six Languages Wins Place at Top Japanese University

A young Black Briton who taught himself Japanese and speaks five other languages has won a prestigious scholarship to a top Far East university.

Eighteen-year-old Quamelle Kurubo, who also speaks English, Korean, Mandarin, Russian and French, is to leave the UK on September 16 and will spend four years in Japan, studying at Osaka University in Japan’s third largest and second most important city.


“I’m really excited about the opportunity to go. I’ve worked really hard for it and I’m looking forward to the challenges,” said Kurubo, from London. “I will be out there initially for four years but it’s expected to be longer because it’s been said that they want me to stay on.”

The high achiever believes he has been able to achieve so much because he sets himself ambitious targets.
“I didn’t find learning these languages very hard because I had the passion for it. Anyone can do it as long as you have the passion and in my opinion, the help of God,” he said.

The multi-lingual prodigy will be studying chemistry and biology at Osaka.

Kurubo, who is currently volunteering at the Royal Free hospital as a ward clerk, said he was inspired to travel to Japan after his mother, Nataline arranged an exchange programme in which a young Japanese student spent a week with them in the UK. Kurubo later visited Japan.

“I enjoyed the trip. It was very different culturally which I found intriguing and very empowering to see how their society works. I admired how harmoniously their society operated,” said the 18-year-old, who received a certificate from the Mayor of Chiyoda City Masami Ishikawa for a presentation he did last year.

Kurubo said he wants to become a research scientist and will specialise in genealogy.


His mother Nataline, 41, said: “My son is a genius and sure is going places. He’s worked with a number of charities. I can’t keep up with him. He’s won numerous awards and teaches my other children Japanese and is self-taught. He has risen above a number of obstacles and I am extremely proud of him.

“I think he would be a great inspiration for other young readers to rise above the obstacles and create their own future.”