The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > Campus Now > NEW WAVE (April)

Campus Now



Art and Science Center; its Activities and Objectives

In April 2006, Waseda University Art and Science Center at Honjo was established as a successor to the Telecommunications Advancement Organization (now National Institute of Information and Communication Technology: NICT), an organization approved by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. The Director Prof. Aiji Tanaka (Faculty of Political Science and Economics) talks about its activities and the objectives of Art and Science Center founded on December 1st, 2007, as an external organ of the Academic Affairs Division.

In a Bid to Develop HR in the Film Industry

In April 2006, Waseda University established Art and Science Center at its Honjo Campus in a bid to develop human resources in the industry of films and other visuals as well as to promote research on cutting-edge digital media creation. The facility was originally established in May 2001, at the request of Honjo City by the Telecommunications Advancement Organization (now NICT), an organization approved by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Waseda University took over the activities, has raised external funds for equipment modernization and maintenance of the latest machines, and accordingly contributed to the production of films listed in the following appendix. Then, Art and Science Center was founded on December 1st, 2007, as an external organ of the Academic Affairs Division.

In 2007, Waseda University celebrated its Second Establishment at the 125 anniversary of its original establishment and started moving toward a new century. The production of visuals is one of Waseda University's new education-research projects and will be beneficial to our students, our society and consequently the next generation. Art and Science Center will be engaged in a wider range of activities.

One of the Center's principal objectives is to develop human resources through reinforcing collaboration with the Network Media Center (MNC) especially on the inspection/maintenance and upgrades/modernization of the equipment. Since the Center does not have its students, it is also important to promote its collaboration with the Global Information and Telecommunication Institute (GITI) and the Honjo community in an effort to provide support for students in their film production as well as to make a cultural contribution to the community in cooperation with the local Film Commission. Meanwhile, experts are invited to attend our Strategic Advisory Committee for Filmmaking and heated discussions are made over strategies for our University's filmmaking education.

The Center's goal of the development of HR in the film industry is in line with one of the strategic goals of Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology promoted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, that is, "the creation of advanced science and technology to help develop sophisticated ways of production of media arts." We are making our utmost efforts toward integrating visual arts with science and technology to meet social and economic needs. It is one of the most important education-research goals of Waseda University.

Waseda University has produced many leaders in a variety of industries and made a significant contribution in the field of arts, notably in theater. And now, our University is expected to produce excellent talents in the diversified industry of visuals production.

Currently, the Center is used mainly by the students of Prof. Kohei Ando at the Graduate School of Global Information and Telecommunication Studies for their filmmaking as a demonstration experiment and film editing with special effects by using sophisticated equipment. A wider range of activities is expected in the future.

Films produced at Art and Science Center (as of April 2007)
Film name Director Distributor Medium Release year
Soundtrack Ken Nikai GAGA Communications Theater 2001
Gangu Shurisha (Toy Repairman) Hakubun Q-FRONT Movie Event
Godzilla, Mothra, MechaGodzilla: Tokyo SOS (Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.) Masaaki Tezuka Toho Theater 2002
Umi wa miteita (The Sea Watches) Kei Kumai Nikkatsu Sony Pictures Theater
Spy Sorge Masahiro Shinoda Toho Theater 2003
COSMIC RESCUE Shinsuke Sato Shochiku Theater
Battle Royale II Kinji Fukasaku & Kenta Fukasaku Toei Theater
Last Love, First Love Hisashi Toma Shochiku Theater
Yurei kashimasu (Ghost Rental) NHK NHK TV
Riyu (The Reason) Nobuhiko Obayashi Asmik Ace Entertainment Theater 2004
Chikyu Daishinka (The Great Evolution of the Earth) NHK NHK TV
Cutie Honey Hideaki Anno Warner Bros. Theater
Ninja Hattori-Kun Masayuki Suzuki Toho Theater
SUIT Masaki Hamamoto Phantom Film Theater
Musume Dojoji - jyaen no koi (Maiden at the Dojo Temple) Yukiko Takayama Pandora Theater
Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean Shinji Higuchi Toho Theater 2005
Ubume no Natsu (Summer of the Ubume Ghost) Akio Jissoji Shochiku / Tokyu Theater
Sengoku Jieitai 1549 (Samurai Commando: Mission 1549) Masaaki Tezuka Toho Theater
Kame wa igai to hayaku oyogu (Turtles Are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers) Satoshi Miki Willcom Theater
In the Pool Matsuo Suzuki Kadokawa Pictures Theater
Nirai kanai kara no tegami (Letters from Kanai Nirai) Naoto Kumazawa IMJ Entertainment & Xanadeux
Semishigure (The Samurai I Loved) Mitsuo Kurotsuchi Toho Theater
Shinku (The Deep Red) Takashi Tsukinoki Toei Theater
Mada Mada Abunai Deka (Still Dangerous Cops) Kunio Torii Toei Theater
Mezame no hakobune (Ark of Awakening), aka Open Your Mind Mamoru Oshii "Mountain of Dreams" pavilion at Expo Aichi Japan Event
Nippon Chinbotsu (Submersion of Japan) Shinji Higuchi Toho Theater 2006
The Uchoten Hotel (Suite Dreams) Koki Mitani Toho Theater
Bubble e Go! (Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust) Yasuo Baba Toho Theater 2007
Akane Zora (Crimson Sky) Masaki Hamamoto Kadokawa Pictures Theater
Saiyuki (Monkey or Way To The West) Kensaku Sawada Toho Theater
Overview of Art and Science Center at Honjo and its past Activities

Art and Science Center is located in a nature-rich environment, an eight-minute walk from Honjo-Waseda Station on the JR Joetsu Nagano Shinkansen Line. In its area of approximately 16,500m2, there is a film studio in which all types of motion pictures can be produced. In addition to the studio equipped with a large blue screen setup, there are also an editing room where digital technology can be used to distribute and project motion pictures, a preview room equipped with a high-precision projector and a media server. They are connected to a network system, enabling prompt editing and other operations. Also, cutting-edge equipment and software for digital filmmaking include Smoke, Inferno and Lustre with a motion-control camera and a motion capture system. In brief, the Center has one of Japan's best equipment and is leading Japan's digital filmmaking (See the Appendix).

Art and Science Center has contributed to the production (use of special effects, editing etc.) of many biggest-hyped films such as Spy Sorge by Masahiro Shinoda, Professor by Special Appointment at Waseda University, and Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean and Nippon Chinbotsu (Submersion of Japan) by Shinji Higuchi. Since high-level technologies for special effects and editing are now much in demand in the film industry, the Center has great potential and will play an enormous role in the world of arts in general.

Specific Ways to Develop HR

For the above purpose, Waseda University should make a concerted effort to develop HR for filmmaking, making best use of the above-mentioned equipment; specifically,

  1. HR development in collaboration with faculties, graduate schools, Art and Architecture School and the Open Education Center,
  2. HR development to produce film creators as well as film producers and distributors,
  3. Practical HR development by accepting support from the film industry, especially Waseda alumni working for the industry, for example, by requesting them to conduct courses on filmmaking, and
  4. Development of educational materials on filmmaking for a new educational method, which will be provided for as many people as possible (as a social contribution).

Digital filmmaking is a future artistic way of expression and HR development in it is our unique mission and contribution to artistic activities all across the world.

Establishment of Institute for Research in Cinematic Art and its Objectives

On December 3rd, 2007, as part of academic-industrial collaborative activities, Waseda University revised the management and organization structure of Art and Science Center and established Institute for Research in Cinematic Art Co., Ltd. as its affiliated company in a bid to support the Center's activities. The Institute is engaged in activities entrusted by the Management Council Secretariat of the Center, especially in publishing as demonstration experiments the results of cutting-edge research conducted by the Center in collaboration with industries. The Institute will further develop its activities, for example, those for continuing education, in collaboration with other Waseda University organizations.

They include sales activities to promote the use of the Center, new film releases, development of educational materials on filmmaking for continuing education, establishment of network for post-productions for enabling film editing to be done in an identical environment at different locations. Beyond the framework of traditional activities of Waseda University, the Institute is committed to promoting its social activities.

(Public Relations Office)

Waseda University Art and Science Center; Filmmaking Equipment

Art and Science Center has an area of approximately 16,500m2 in which there are seven rooms with a complete set of filmmaking equipment, including a blue screen studio and an editing room.

Blue Screen Studio

The studio has an area of 468 m2 (18 m in width, 26 m in depth, and 10 m in height) equipped with a blue screen setup (screen size: 33 m ~ 10.5 m), a motion-control camera, a motion capture system, lighting devices and lifts. All sizes of objects can be shot from all different angles.

MA Studio

MA studio is composed of a multi-channel digital mixing console, a digital audio workstation, a multi-track recorder, effects units and a mixing room. MA studio also features a 200-inch acoustically transparent screen and 5.1-Ch. surround sound speaker system for powerful audio editing.

Computer Graphics Lab

This lab has several workstations and a network server as well as computer graphics software and, by using them, high-quality images can be speedily produced. Because of its high-performance network, the lab can be used for classes as well as for filmmaking.

Preview Room

Completed films are viewed before their release for final adjustments including image-quality evaluation and film dubbing. The equipment includes a high-precision DLP projector, a 200-inch acoustically transparent screen (aspect ratio: 16:9) and 5.1-Ch. surround sound speaker system.

Online Editing & Synthesis Lab

This lab is composed of a non-linear editing system with router for connection to HDTV circuitry, which can store large amounts of data, high-speed magnetic tape drive for data backup, an audio mixer and other devices. The equipment is capable of editing and processing of high-quality digital images.