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Campus Now

Autumn Issue (Nov.)

SPECIAL REPORT

Waseda and Sports-Cooperation with society through sports

In addition to training athletes, Waseda University has conducted sports research and other activities to pursue the possibility of sports as part of university education.
Many people affiliated with Waseda University were part of the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. Furthermore, many faculty members participated as officials of the JOC headquarters. In this article, we will consider sports from an academic perspective and will explore the connection of universities and society through sports.

Interview

Constructing a new model of universities and sports

We discussed how Waseda University has contributed to sports in Japan, as well as what kind of growth should be expected in the future.

Waseda sports have led modern sports in Japan

Executive Director (in charge of sports promotion and competitive sports)
Professor
Takanori Miyauchi,
Faculty of Sport Sciences

――Would you please discuss Waseda University's history of contributing to sports in Japan?

Waseda has fulfilled a major rule in Japanese sports. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the history of modern sports in Japan coincides with the history of sports at Waseda. Our university was founded in 1882. The following year, Shigenobu Okuma held the first sports festival with the aim of promoting health among students. The Waseda baseball team was established in 1901. In 1905, during the Russo-Japanese War, the baseball team became the first Japanese sports team to take an overseas trip. The team returned to Japan with baseball techniques and practice methods which had been learned in America. Afterwards, the team made great contributions to the development of baseball in Japan.

Within our university, there are several facilities named after graduates who have contributed to sports in Japan. Takaishi Memorial Pool on the Toyama Campus was built to commemorate the performance of Katsuo Takaishi, the first Japanese swimmer to be a top-place finisher in an Olympic competitive swimming event. The Oda Mikio Memorial Track & Field Stadium on the Tokorozawa Campus was named to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mikio Oda, the first Japanese athlete to win an Olympic gold medal. Incidentally, the height of the main pole at the National Olympic Stadium (Tokyo) is 15.21 meters, which is the same as Oda's winning record in the triple jump. The pole is nicknamed "Oda pole." Also, although is no longer exists today, Abe Stadium used to be on the current site of the Waseda University Library. This stadium was named after Iso Abe, the first coach of the Waseda Baseball Team and a man who contributed to the growth of baseball in Japan. Currently, there is a bust and stone memorial donated to Abe. In this way the names of Waseda athletes and officials have been of epoch-making events in Japanese sports.

Waseda has also been a leader in sports education and research. The School of Sport Sciences (founded as the Department of Sport Sciences in the School of Human Sciences) was the Japan's first academic department to be named after sports. The department focused on sports instead of on physical education, expanding its scope from sports research as a teaching material for physical education to sports research as an integrated science. The School of Sport Sciences allows students to conduct interdisciplinary study including medical science, social science, psychology and management. In addition to athletes, the school has produced numerous professionals who are active in coaching, sports business and other fields which provide support for athletes.

3 roles of university sports

――What is the role of sports at a university?

Sports at universities can be divided into the 3 categories of sports as educations, sports as social contribution and sports as a management resource.

In terms of sports as education, the Open Education Center has established classes for maintaining the health of students and fulfilling their desire to exercise. Additionally, about 2,400 students belong to sports clubs which are extracurricular activities. Sports as social contribution involves returning the university's wisdom to local society. In 2000, the integrated regional sports club Waseda Club 2000 was established in Tokorozawa. Currently, the club has grown to encompass 1,300 members and 15 types of clubs. Waseda Club (refer to p.16) activities in Kami-Igusa are conducted based on school classes. All of this activities are a place for participants to exert leadership and also enable the receipt of feedback as a research theme. Sports as a management resource refers to using sports to improve the university's image. Sports are an important element for forming a university identity among students and alumni.

――What actions are taken at Waseda University to support the learning and careers of sports athletes?

The School of Sport Sciences supports the learning of athletes by implementing a tutor system conducted by graduate students. Regarding career support, the current recession has caused a decreasing trend for corporate support of sports. Within such conditions, it is an important issue to match students who wish to continue sports with corporations that offer support. Within our university, sports business faculty members are working to construct a system which will address such issues.

――Please discuss your vision for the future.

In the future, our university must put even more effort into sports from a multifaceted perspective. This is necessary because sports are an important element for forming the image of Waseda University. Additionally, such effort is necessary to show a model case for university sports. Currently, activities for sports as education, sports as social contribution and sports as a management resource are being performed by separate organization. I would like to integrate these activities in order to produce a synergistic effect.

In the future, I hope that our university will continue to meet the expectations of everyone who supports Waseda sports. At the same time, we must contribute to the growth of sports by broadly utilizing the experience and wisdom which our university has obtained through a long history of sports.

Recent prosperity of Waseda sports (photograph provided by the Waseda Sports Newspaper Association)

Professor Takanori Miyauchi, Faculty of Sport Sciences

Professor at the Faculty of Sport Sciences. Appointed as Full-Time Instructor at the School of Education in 1978, and then as Assistant Professor in 1982. Appointed as Assistant Professor at the School of Human Sciences in 1987, and then as Professor in 1991. Appointed as Professor at the School of Sports Science in 2003. Has held positions including Director of the Athletic Center.