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Campus Now

Midsummer Issue (Jul. 2013)

Waseda rediscovery

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Cover & Top Photo: Yoichi Sato
(Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences)

cover story

The monument that watches the peace of Waseda

By the side of a path between the Okuma Auditorium and Okuma Garden, a monument quietly stands to mourn about 4,300 students, faculty, staff and alumni of Waseda University, who passed away during World War II, and to pray for peace.

It was 70 years ago, in 1943, when a farewell party for the students who were departing for the battlefield was held. The party is now known as a march in the rain. It was October 21st, coincidentally, the same day as anniversary of the university founding.

There is no sound in the school yard after the departure of students for the battlefield. Leaves are falling, shining in gold.

This is a poem written by a female student, Mitsue Utsunomiya, to describe howling school where many students departed for the battlefield and only few people were around.

On the back of the monument, which was unveiled on the anniversary of the university founding in 1990, this poem is inscribed, together with the words by then-President, Haruo Nishihara: “There is no education where there is no student. Peace is the origin of education.”

Since then, every year, on the morning of Homecoming Day, when thousands of alumni gather at Waseda, the university staff, including the President, pay floral tribute to the monument and pray for eternal rest and peace.