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Waseda University

, abbreviated as , is a leading private university located in Tokyo. Founded in 1882 as Tokyo Senmon Gakko, the institution was renamed "Waseda University" in 1902. It is known for its liberal climate symbolized by the motto .

Six post-war prime ministers were Waseda alumni: Tanzan Ishibashi (1956–1957), Noboru Takeshita (1987–1989), Toshiki Kaifu (1989–1991), Keizo Obuchi (1998–2000), Yoshiro Mori (2000–2001), and Yasuo Fukuda (2007–2008). Waseda's literature program counts Haruki Murakami and Tawara Machi among its graduates, as well as Shuji Terayama among its drop-outs.[1]

The alumni also include corporate leaders such as Masaru Ibuka, co-founder of Sony; Lee Kun-hee, former chairman of Samsung; Takeo Fukui, CEO of Honda; Atsutoshi Nishida, CEO of Toshiba; Osamu Masuko, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors; Tetsuro Toyoda, CEO of Toyota Industries; Tadashi Yanai, CEO of Uniqlo; and Kenichi Ohmae, founder and former senior partner of McKinsey & Co Japan. Currently, seven of the Fortune Global 2007's CEOs are Waseda graduates.

Waseda University is a member of Universitas 21, an international network of 21 universities that have a particular focus on research.



The Okuma Shigenobu statue on the campus. He founded the University in 1882.

The Okuma Shigenobu statue on the campus. He founded the University in 1882.

History and development

The university was founded by samurai scholar and Meiji-era politician and former prime minister Okuma Shigenobu in 1882, and was designated as a full university in 1902. It started as a college with three departments under the old Japanese system of higher education.

In 1882, the university had the department of political science and economics, law, and physical science. Along with these departments, an English language course was established, where the students of all the departments could learn English.[2]

Three years later, the department of physical science was closed because it had too few applicants.[3] The department of science and engineering was established in 1908.[4]

The department of literature was established in 1890.[5]

The department of education was established in 1903, and the department of commerce, in 1904.[6]

Much of the campus was destroyed in the fire bombings of Tokyo during World War II, but the university was rebuilt and reopened by 1949. It has grown to become a comprehensive university with two senior high schools and school of art and architecture.

Origin of the name

Waseda University started its life as on October 21, 1882. Before the name 'Waseda' was selected, it was known variously as or after the location of the founder's villa in Waseda Village and the school's location in Totsuka Village respectively.

It was renamed on September 2, 1902 upon acquiring University status.

The only square academic cap in the world

Waseda's square academic cap.

Waseda's square academic cap.
Ōkuma had long desired to create an academic cap so distinctive that someone wearing the cap would immediately be identified as a Waseda student. The chief tailor of Takashimaya, Yashichiro, was called upon to design a cap in three days. Each square cap was stamped on the inside with the student's name, his department, the school seal and the legend, "This certifies that the owner is a student of Waseda". Thus, the cap served as a form of identification, and effectively a status symbol. The cap, with its gold-braided badge, is registered as a trademark.

125th Anniversary

125 Anniversary.

125 Anniversary.
On October 21, 2007, Waseda University celebrated its 125th anniversary. Okuma often talked about the "125 years of life" theory: "The lifespan of a human being can be as long as 125 years. He will be able to live out his natural lifespan as long as he takes proper care of his health", because "physiologists say that every animal has the ability to live five times as long as its growth period. Since a man is said to require about 25 years to become fully mature, it follows that he can live up to 125 years of age." This theory propounded by Okuma was very popular and often referred to in the media of the time.

In commemorative events relating to Waseda University and Okuma, the number 125 is accorded special significance, as it marks an important epoch. The tower of Okuma Auditorium, completed on the university's 45th anniversary, is 125 shaku, or about 38 m high. In 1963, there were also events to mark the 125th anniversary of Okuma's birth.

Okuma, who twice served as prime minister of Japan, organized his second cabinet when he was 77 and passed away when he was 83. He said, "I wish I had understood this '125 years of life' theory 30 years earlier". He did, however, lead a regular life, and lived fairly long compared to other Japanese at the time.


Waseda University in 1882

Waseda University in 1882
Waseda University's main campus is located in the Nishi-Waseda district of Shinjuku. The nearest station is , although Waseda is generally associated with on the Yamanote Line.

Apart from the main campus in Shinjuku, there are other campuses around the country:

Undergraduate and Graduate Schools

Undergraduate Schools:

Graduate Schools:

Research institutes


Okuma Auditorium

The Okuma Memorial Hall, a contemporary building by architect Kōichi Satō.
The Okuma Memorial Hall, a contemporary building by architect Kōichi Satō.
Soon after Okuma's death on 10 January 1922, the planning of memorials commenced. The first decision was to construct a large auditorium, something Okuma had always dreamed of.

The three-story main auditorium seats 1,435, while the secondary auditorium, located underground, can accommodate 382 people. A seven-story high clock tower stands to the left of the auditorium. The height of the tower, at 125 shaku, or about 38 m, represents the theory of "life of 125 years" advocated by Okuma. The bells at the top of the tower were transported through the Panama Canal from the MacLean Company in Baltimore, Maryland. It was the first time that four bells, large and small, had been used in Japan.

Oval-shaped transom windows on the roof represent the sun, moon, and nine planets of our solar system, and symbolize the "harmony of the universe" both inside and outside the auditorium. The auditorium opened on October 20, 1927, about five years behind schedule, after the Great Kanto Earthquake.

In April 1999, the auditorium along with the old library building were officially designated the first and second historical buildings under the newly-passed Tokyo Metropolitan Landscape Regulations, which aim to preserve buildings representative of Tokyo's history and culture.

The auditorium was designated as one of the important cultural assets of Japan by the Ministry of Education in 2007.

Libraries and museums

Waseda University Library, Reading Hall

Waseda University Library, Reading Hall
The Waseda University Library, designed by Tachu Naitō, Kenji Imai and Kin'ichi Kiriyama, was completed in 1925. This five-story building, with a total area of 1,195 (about 3,944 square meters), was used initially as the University Library. The reading room was housed in a separate two-story building, with a seating capacity of 500. One of the prominent libraries established at the end of the Taishō period, it has been a symbol of Waseda University to this day, along with the Okuma Auditorium and the Theatre Museum.

The Old Library and the administration building were expanded in 1934 and 1955 respectively. The Old Library stopped serving as a main library, after the New Central Library, located where the Abe Stadium used to be, was completed in 1990. It now houses Sanae Takata Memorial Research Library, the University Archives, and Yaichi Aizu Museum. Sanae Takata Memorial Research Library opened in 1994. It is named after former university president Sanae Takata. Historical and cultural materials on Waseda University are exhibited in the University Archives, and the materials related with Shigenobu Ōkuma are exhibited in the Ōkuma Memorial Room at the Archives. Yaichi Aizu Memorial Museum opened in 1998. Waseda University Library, Current Front Hall

Waseda University Library, Current Front Hall
In the front hall, visitors are greeted by the masterpiece "Meian", which dates back to 1927. It is painted on the world's largest hand-made washi (Japanese paper), which is 4.45 meters in diameter and weighs about 12 kilograms. It was manufactured by Heisaburo Iwano, the founder of the Echizen paper works in Imadachi-cho, Fukui prefecture. The masterpiece was painted free of charge by Taikan Yokoyama and Kanzan Shimomura, two artists who represented the modern Japanese style of painting. President Sanae Takata asked them to paint a picture for the Library.

The library possesses a unique collection which survived the Bombing of Tokyo in World War II unlike many of its counterparts. The collection is an important resource for the study of pre-war Japanese history and literature.

Other museums and libraries on Waseda campuses include:



Two Waseda University baseball players from 1921.

Two Waseda University baseball players from 1921.
The rivalry between Waseda and Keiō University is highlighted by the Sōkeisen in the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League. The baseball series is held twice a year in the spring and autumn at Meiji-Jingu Stadium, and it is considered one of the most important competitions of the year by both student bodies. The Waseda University Baseball Club is the most successful team in the Big6 league in terms of winning percentage, but it has 37 league championships, which puts it second behind Hōsei University.

Football (soccer)

Waseda University football team won the Emperor's Cup, in 1964 and 1967.

Rugby union

Waseda University Rugby Football Club currently is the reigning university rugby union champion in Japan, reaching the university championships 28 times, and winning fourteen times. Its two biggest rivals are Keio University and Meiji University.


The Waseda University karate club is one of the oldest in Japan, formed in 1931 under the direction of Gichin Funakoshi.[7][8] Graduates of the karate club include Shigeru Egami, leader of the Shotokai school, Kazumi Tabata, founder of the North American Karate-do Federation and Tsutomu Ohshima, founder of Shotokan Karate of America.

Notable alumni

Prime Ministers

Business Leaders




Performing arts




(* attended but did not graduate)

Notable current students


Performing Arts

Notable faculty

Professors who are also Waseda alumni are listed in italics.

Principals, de facto presidents (1907–1923), and presidents


De facto presidents (1907–1923)




Waseda University has had numerous benefactors, including:

Waseda University in media




Super Free was a registered Waseda University school club organized by Shinichirō Wada, a student at Waseda University. The club would organized parties in order to rape unsuspecting women. The appeal of the these parties was the chance to associate with Waseda University students. After Wada's arrest, the club was disbanded. [16]

See also



External links

ar:جامعة واسيدا ca:Universitat de Waseda cs:Univerzita Waseda de:Waseda-Universität es:Universidad de Waseda fr:Université Waseda ko:와세다 대학 id:Universitas Waseda it:Università di Waseda la:Universitas Vasedensis nl:Waseda-universiteit ja:早稲田大学 pl:Uniwersytet Waseda pt:Universidade de Waseda ru:Университет Васэда sv:Wasedauniversitetet th:มหาวิทยาลัยวาเซดะ uk:Університет Васеда zh-classical:早稻田大學 wuu:早稻田大学 zh-yue:早稻田大學 zh:早稻田大学