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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May. 2015)

Front Runner
- Young People Making a Difference

This feature provides in-depth introductions of current students and young graduates who perform in their field by utilizing the perspectives and abilities which they obtained while studying at Waseda University.
In the fifth installment, we spoke with Shuichi Shiraishi, a fourth-year student at the School of Political Science and Economics, as well as with Misato Yasuhara, an employee at Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.

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Shuichi Shiraishi
Fourth-Year Student, School of Political Science and Economics

When Shuichi entered Waseda University, he was thrilled at the prospect of studying at a school where many diverse people gather. He knew that there were countless interesting opportunities available at Waseda; he simply had to find what was most enjoyable for me. He has not been disappointed, as every day at Waseda is extremely stimulating. During his first year, since Shuichi had received a high score on the language section of his entrance examination, he was placed in a discussion-based English class with foreign students and Japanese students who had lived overseas. He really enjoyed the class.

"I wanted to keep pace with the high-level English ability of my classmates, so I began to focus on expressing my ideas frankly when speaking," explained Shuichi. "I didn't worry about pronunciation. The experience of being put to the test among a group of diverse foreign students has formed the foundation of his ideas regarding communication."

Shuichi grew even more interested in English and enrolled in a large number of language classes. He found the class taught by Professor Emi Sauzier-Uchida to be particularly interesting. Shuichi gave an English-language presentation on the different ideas towards communism held by West Germany and America during the Cold War Period, an era which had always interested him. Much to his satisfaction, his presentation was extremely well received. From his third year, Shuichi enrolled in classes to study economics and other specialized knowledge in English. "Ever since I was young, I have been good at thoroughly exploring areas which interest me," he said. "Nothing excites me more than to feel my horizons expand as I pursue new knowledge and experiences."

Economics is a field which deals with themes closely related to daily life. It uses multiple perspectives to consider and extrapolate these themes. These qualities made it the perfect subject for Shuichi.

In September 2014, Shuichi visited Jodogahama Beach, a famous place of scenic beauty in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture. He participated in jazz performances given on the pier and on boat cruises.

During his third year, Shuichi enrolled in the Yasushi Kondo Seminar, which allows students to conduct empirical analysis of economic ripple effects. While studying basic knowledge related to industrial analysis, Shuichi worked in a three-person group to write a joint paper under the theme of "Relationship between regional industrial structure and economic effect of PR mascots." After selecting the mascots Sento-kun (Nara Prefecture) and Kuma-mon (Kumamoto Prefecture), the group gathered GDP data for the two prefectures and conducted comparative analysis of the economic effect. This was no easy task. Both of the mascots were created in conjunction with special events such as the 1300th anniversary of the establishment of Nara Heijō-kyō (the ancient capital of Japan) and the opening of the Kyushu Shinkansen, and had produced synergistic results. The difficulty lay in finding the economic effect of PR mascots as individual entities. As analysis progressed, students discovered new perspectives and were faced with new problems. The group was unable to finish the paper during their seminar class time, and worked frantically in the lounge of Building No. 3 as they barely met the submission deadline.

"Although it was hard work, I found it interesting to conduct comparison and analysis for subtle nuances, and I enjoyed the process of identifying issues and reviewing analytical results," said Shuichi. "Through the seminar, I realized that I am adept at deeply considering matters, and I now try to apply empirical analysis to my work. Even more, thanks to the hard work of my group, our paper received the Outstanding Paper Award at a research paper contest held by the Waseda University Association of Political Economy. I never expected to receive such an honor. I am deeply indebted to my partner Kirino, who proposed the fresh and appealing theme of PR mascots, and to Imaoka, who developed a perfect mathematical theory."

Shuichi is already working on his next interesting theme. In the future, he hopes to contribute to society through work which is deeply related to customer service and requires problem-solving skills. It is easy to imagine a devoted Shuichi working intently to solve a variety of social issues.

Shuichi Shiraishi
Fourth-Year Student, School of Political Science and Economics

Shuichi Shiraishi was born in Kanagawa Prefecture. In 2012, he entered the Waseda University School of Political Science and Economics. He began playing the trumpet in junior high school in order to play the theme song from the film "Rocky." He serves a band leader for the Waseda University NewOrleans Jazz Club. As part of club activities, he visits Miyako City (Iwate Prefecture) two or three times per year to give performances. His work also includes jazz performances in various regional groups. He is devoted to the TOEIC test and has a personal best score of 975.