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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May)


In order to move the hearts of consumers, interesting advertisement uses brain rather than money

Professor Kazue Shimamura
Faculty of Commerce

When I was a student, I never dreamed that I would become a university professor. I had an interest in advertisements since my time in undergraduate school and I studied in the seminar conducted by Professor Tasaburo Kobayashi. However, I had no intention of remaining at university and I searched for employment as most students do. I entered a life insurance company as an ordinary office worker. There were many young women who were proficient workers at the company and my workplace had a good atmosphere. I enjoyed my time as an office worker. However, I began to worry if this was really how I wanted to spend my life, and I began to feel as though I wanted to quit my job at the company.

In today's world, I may have chosen to make a career change, but the career change options for women at the time were severely limited. Therefore, for the time being, I decided to enter graduate school. I continued to move along into the Doctorate Program, and before I realized it, I had been in graduate school until I was 34 years old and had obtained the position of full-time instructor at a junior college. However, strangely enough, I had never felt rushed during this process. I suppose I was blessed with good friends and a comfortable environment.

This colored paper and a teddy bear with messages was a birthday present to Professor Shimamura from students.

My friends from that time are also now my coworkers. These relationships of over 30 years are very close and special to me. At this point in my life, my one year of working in a company was a good experience in that it taught me wake up early every morning and lead an orderly life. It also made me confident that I could adjust to group life.

One of the main reasons that students choose to study advertising theory is an interest in clever and amusing expressions. However, the truly interesting aspect of advertising is when you realize how corporations recognize current conditions and work to control the feelings of consumers within a variety of constraints. Even if there is no flashiness, I want students to discover value in advertisement that makes use of knowledge. In the past 1 to 2 years, the advertising industry is experiencing major changers. For example, internet advertising now composes 10% of total advertising. It is unclear how the industry will have changed in half a year from now. For this reason, it is difficult to decide what to teach in an advertising theory course. I try to instill students with a deep understanding through methods such as creating opportunities for lectures from onsite creators of advertising.

A few years ago, as part of my overseas research, I conducted a survey regarding the current state and issues of advertising education. In America, an advertising department existed within a communication school or journalism school, and emphasis was placed on the creation of advertising materials. Conversely, in Japan, there were many cases in which advertising was linked with business and taught within a commerce school. In these cases, no department was established for a narrow field such as advertising. I also believe that university curriculum should focus on a broad range of study that includes related material, rather than studying a special skill as one would at a vocational college. Even if the subjects are not popular with students, I believe that it is important to provide contents which are necessary for the study of advertising. Such contents include the history of advertisement and consumer behavior.

Glasses collection. Since she began earning a salary, Professor Shimamura has collected glasses. She has tried many different designs, but it seems that round frames are the best match for a round face.

When I look at students today, I feel that they are very compassionate and considerate towards their friends. The students in my seminar are all very close to each other. It's really quite heartwarming. However, as a general trend among all students, even if they are sensitive to matters within their own group, if they are outside of their group and they see a stranger fall, then they tend to ignore what has happened. Even if they pass a student in the hall who was in the same class that they had just taken, they often exchange no greetings. I find this to be somewhat sad.

Recently, I always seem to be business. In order to relax myself, I want to resume hobbies such as the piano, painting and calligraphy. I want to be a person who always has peace of mind and supports those around me.

Professor Kazue Shimamura
Faculty of Commerce

Graduated from the Waseda University School of Commerce in 1978. After graduation, she spent one year as a company employee before entering graduate school and resuming her research in advertising theory. She became an Assistant Instructor in the Waseda University School of Commerce in 1993, an Assistant Professor in 1995, and a Professor in 2001. Her hobbies include listening to music. Some of her favorites are DANCEMAN and Janis Joplin.