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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May. 2015)

Message to the second century

Utilizing the strengths of university to approach healthcare for the elderly through a diverse partnership.

Respecting individuality and producing professionals who trust their instincts

Terumi Yoshida
Freelance Announcer

Terumi Yoshida is an announcer who has contributed tremendously to the development and prosperity of the broadcasting world with his unique and eccentric radio programs. Looking back at his time as a Waseda student, we asked Yoshida what his future expectations are for the university.

Among turmoil, I learned the importance of staying true to my opinion

――Can you please share a memorable experience at Waseda?

At Waseda, I had many opportunities to interact with unique and animated students and faculty, and I learned the importance of having my own opinion and style. The student movement was active at that time and it was not uncommon for radical students to interfere with classes. One memory I have is of French language Professor Ishii dealing with protesters equipped with helmets, masks, and staves barging into class and screaming “Nonsense!" The calm and collected Professor Ishii said the following to the protestors "You are the only ones who think that way. Everyone else wants to have class.” The protesters were dispirited and had no choice but to withdraw from the classroom. Seeing Professor Ishii’s firm stance towards the protesters made me realize the importance of not allowing other’s opinions to compromise my own.

Repeating the process of setting goals and overcoming failure

――What led you to want to become an announcer?

It started with me joining the announcer club at Waseda University. However, I first joined hoping to overcome my fears of communicating with strangers and did not intend to become an announcer.

After joining, I realized that I could only overcome problems through personal effort.

When I look back at my life, I see a pattern of running into an obstacle, overcoming said obstacle through trial-and-error, and then running into another obstacle. My realization in the announcer club played a big role in enabling me to strive forward and face these obstacles head on.

The first time I experienced failure was at my first summer workshop. An announcer contest targeting first and second year students was held. The contest included a manuscript reading and three-minute free talk. Although my classmates spoke skillfully during the free talk session, I couldn't find the right words and fell silent. Feeling humiliated and determined to overcome my failure, I consulted a senior student who had been recruited by Nippon Broadcasting System. I was introduced to a vocational school for announcers and decided to attend the school. The feeling of shame and humiliation I experienced at the summer workshop motivated me to continually attend the school, which I kept a secret from others. The lessons I learned at school regarding self-promotion helped me overcome my fears of communicating with others.

A turning point for me becoming an announcer happened during my second year, when I heard a student in the club who had graduated from the university appearing on a radio program. However, my abilities at that time were still lacking. I would record myself and be shocked by how gloomy my voice was when played back. Feeling I must do something, I started imitating professional announcers such as Ikkei Kojima from various broadcast programs. As my speaking style became brighter, people around me said that my personality had improved as well. Changes occurred in my daily conversations, and my overall communication ability improved.

Follow your own style: Daily trial-and-error

――Is there an experience you had at Waseda that has helped you as an announcer?

Yoshida's hobby is oil paintings, and his skill is such that he has held exhibitions of his work. "I paint whatever I want," he said. He has created many works which express satires of current events.

Trial-and-error using your own style is very important in the workplace.

Shortly after I finally began working at Nippon Cultural Broadcasting as an announcer, I started to feel that time was passing me by. I had not yet established a role for myself and did not bring up my dream that I eventually wanted to host my own late night program. I felt overwhelmed by the pressure of knowing that I would be transferred to another division if I did not display talent within my first three years. Things started to look up near the end of my first year. I was entrusted with conducting locker room interviews with sumo wrestlers before their matches. I really love sumo wrestling. However, with my sub-par social skills, I was unable to interview experienced sumo wrestlers between their early morning practice and matches. I couldn’t leave without any material so I snuck up behind other reporters conducting interviews and arranged the material into my own style.

When I established my presence at the station, I was a reporter for the weekday evening live broadcast program, “Yuuyake Topikka.” I tested out many unconventional bits for the program such as suddenly beginning to eat miso soup on the train and watching the reaction of other passengers. Gaining popularity, I was eventually selected to be a host for late-night broadcasting program, “Sei! Yang.” However, I was disappointed to learn that my program was in the same time slot as the extremely popular "Tamori's All-Night Nippon." Thinking that “no one is listening to my program anyway so I might as well do what I like,” I started to take my bits even further. For example, on the day examination results were presented to examinees of the University of Tokyo, I dressed up as a student and tossed successful examinee into the air. We became a big topic of discussion when we were picked up by news programs and depicted as real students who had passed the exam. Our number of listeners gradually increased and our program became a new model for late night programs. We achieved results beyond our expectations. In addition to this broadcast program, the ability to challenge myself to overcome obstacles for the past 41 years is thanks to my experiences at Waseda. Going forward, I want to continue pushing myself to become the best announcer I can be.

Trust your instincts and seize every opportunity

――What are your hopes for Waseda?

 I consider myself as someone who acts on instinct, a quality which is common among Waseda graduates. Compared to my student days, today’s society is rigid and formal, and I get the feeling that students are not expressing themselves. However, nothing new can come from uniformity and society will be eventually dull. I would like Waseda to continue supporting an environment for a diverse, varied student body. I hope that students will engage in eccentric activities and discover who they want to become. I am glad that delightful people with various backgrounds will emerge from Waseda University.

Terumi Yoshida
Freelance Announcer

Terumi Yoshida was born in 1951 in Tokyo. He began working as an announcer at Nippon Cultural Broadcasting after graduating from Waseda University’s School of Political Science and Economics in 1974. Yoshida has garnered much popularity as a host in late-night radio programs such as “Sei! Yang,” and “Yoshida Terumi no Teru-teru Waido.” Yoshida left Nippon Cultural Broadcasting in March of 1985 and has worked as a freelance announcer, often appearing on television. He served as emcee of popular television programs such as “Yuyake Nyan-Nyan” (Fuji Television), “11 PM” (Nippon Television Network), and "Pittashi Kan-Kan" (TBS). His main written works include "Yoshida's Conversation Techniques" (Geishin Publishing) and "Radio Man: The Radio Days of 1974 to 2013" (Pia Publishing).