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Autumn Issue (Nov.)


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.

Academic view

Making a science of sports

The following articles were written by 8 Waseda researchers who are active in various fields. Each of the researchers offers academic knowledge for sports when viewed from their field of expertise.

Field: Video journalism
Media Literacy and Sports

Professor Kyoko Takahashi
Faculty of Political Science and Economics

The ability to make your own interpretations and transmit subjective material is necessary for the growth of sports culture

I teach a class in Video Journalism Theory, which examines video of fresh themes from the perspective of media literacy. The Olympics is one such theme. Not even a single person watches all of the Olympic video which is created by the media's selection and composition of information. In my class, we use the 4 elements of language, values, industry and audience (receivers) to analyze what events are selected by the media and whose perspective is used to decide how to compose the information.

Popular athletes are treated as entertainers, with even their lifestyle being portrayed dramatically. However, it is also important to view the Olympics from perspectives which are not conveyed. At the Beijing Paralympics, I acted together with students as citizen media reporters in order to expose and transmit a variety of differences which exist in sports for the disabled, as well as differences between countries with access to high-performance devices and countries without such access.

Currently, information is unevenly distributed and anyone is capable of transmission. For those very reasons, the ability to make your own interpretations and transmit subjective material is necessary. I believe that such ability will contribute to the growth of rich sports culture.

Field: International private law, etc.
Sports and Law

Professor Masato Dogauchi
Faculty of Law

Only legal professionals can contribute to sports by resolving sporting disputes

Even if athletes not selected to represent their countries at the Olympics make a legal appeal, such appeals are dismissed because it is not possible to apply laws and issue a verdict. Therefore, the Japan Sports Arbitration Agency was founded in 1994 to act as a third-party arbitrator which issues a binding verdict after hearing the assertions of both the athlete and the sporting association. I serve as Director of the agency. Recently, the championship of the men's double scull rowing event was cancelled due to the arbitration verdict. The race was held again, with a team including the athlete who made the appeal winning and earning the right to participate in the Olympics.

My specialty is legal problems which exceed national boundaries. As such, I am qualified to regulate sports, a field which is without national boundaries. The Basic Act on Sport which was enacted last year includes regulations intended to ensure transparent operation of sporting associations, as well as prompt and appropriate resolution of sporting disputes. As part of developing an environment in which athletes can concentrate solely on sports, it is important to ensure good governance and guarantee appropriate procedures. I believe that such contributions to sports can only be made by legal professionals.

Field: Art history, visual culture theory, representation culture theory
Sports and Art/Representation Culture

Assistant Professor Eriko Kogo
Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences

The key to forming sports culture is to question each individual's awareness towards sports

At first glance, it may seem odd to combine sports with art or representation culture. However, sports are truly a cultural phenomenon founded on a variety of conditions and history. Examining the element of sports which excites people is an attempt to explore the collective image at work in each society, as well as the related political function. What was happening in each society when a "beautiful body" was tied with a feeling of ethnic superiority and speed was tied with capitalistic rights?

The problem is that sports are understood as and behave as place for struggles related to cultural hegemony. Sports ability impacts the popularity of classes. Furthermore, sports also contain forces which separate and discriminate against people. The prejudice that "all black people are good at basketball" is one such example. However, we often fail to recognize such forces and focus solely on victory or defeat, becoming infatuated with words such as "spectator," "triumph," and "samurai." By doing so, we lose another important aspect of sports which deals with the spirit of fair play and a field which is open to a variety of people of different genders, nationalities and physical conditions. The key to forming sports culture is to question each individual's awareness towards sports.

Field: Urban planning, community planning
Sports and Community

Professor Yoshihide Nakagawa
Faculty of Science and Engineering

Through sports, it is important to create an opportunity for many different people to relax and refresh

Community building considers the fundamental human lifestyle elements of "reside," "work," "relax" and "move." However, it can be said that "relax" is often the focus of community building. Relaxation requires measures which span from material richness to emotional richness.

Sports, art and cultural activities of citizens are directly linked to the invigoration of individuals. However, groups formed through cooperation among citizens make it possible to continually expand such activities to invigoration of the community, thus contributing to the public good. Unfortunately, there is a limited amount of knowledge for community building which focuses on relaxation. In Europe, there are some regions which have made a "sports city declaration" and are working to conduct urban renewal. In Japan, there is a need for comprehensive review intended to realize an opportunity for relaxation.

A city is more than simply a group of inorganic buildings. For nearly 30 years, I have been a member of the Sports Promotion Committee and have exchanged opinions on community building and daily life through continual opportunities for sports. In the future, I believe that it is necessary to take a variety of measures for increasing opportunities for relaxation. These opportunities should be available to everyone in the community, from the healthy to the disabled and from the young to the elderly

Field: Neurophysiology, muscular physiology
Motion Control & Biomechanics

Professor Shuji Suzuki
Faculty of Human Sciences

Using knowledge from neural control and biomechanics to research the mechanism of body motion

Body motion in daily life occurs through cooperation between neural signals from the brain and neural signals from peripheral nerves. Signals from both sources promote action by spinal alpha motor neurons and skeletal muscle, thus leading to movement. In particular, functioning of the central nervous system (functions as a control system by processing information from sensory organs and prompting response in effector organs so that individual mechanisms can respond to the environment) forms the basis for creating movement.

With the aim of improving athletic performance, I am working to clarify the movement involved when people run fast and jump far, such as in the 100-meter dash or long jump. I have learned that the key is to move the nearly 600 skeletal muscles in our bodies with precise timing. By doing so, there is the possibility of beating the world-record time of 9.58 seconds in the men's 100-meter dash set by Usain Bolt in 2009 (see figure)*. Currently, I am researching movement, particularly tai chi, which enables the elderly to remain energetic and healthy.

*Please refer to the following publications for further details.
1)How Fast Can People Run?-Advanced science for the 100-meter dash," milsil: Nature & Science Newsletter 5(4) (National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, 2012)
2)100-Meter Dash-How Fast Can It Be Run? The Secret of Bolt's Speed," (Nihon Keizai Shimbun (electronic version), August 5th, 2012)

Field: Sports education
Sports Education & Sports Logic

Professor Hidenori Tomozoe
Faculty of Sport Sciences

Do sports form human beings?-In the middle of sports education and sports logic

Recently, violence and bullying by children has become a social problem. In response, there is heightened momentum for using sports and physical activity in order to avoid this character crisis in children. Sports are an aggregate of many of the complications experienced in life-loss and gain, competition and cooperation, victory and defeat, coexistence and antagonism, distress and happiness, disgrace and improvement, etc. Furthermore, sports enable group achievements through effort and cooperation, while also providing an opportunity to increase one's image of self-competency.

Until now, Japan has not conducted much logical research to examine the possibility of character-building through sports, nor has there been much educational research which considers teaching strategy through sports. However, in recent years, research has shown that the success or failure of education which seeks to develop morals or social skills through sports is largely dependent on the strategy and competence of the instructor. In other words, an explicit curriculum is necessary in order for sports to be effective at character-building. The responsibility of sports education and sports logic will grow even more within a society with increasing virtualization.

The competency of instructors has a great impact on the character of children

Field: Sports marketing
Sports & Business

Professor Motohiko Harada
Faculty of Sport Sciences

The allure of sports marketing which utilizes the emotional appeal effect of sports

The research theme for normal marketing is the rational behavior of homo economicus (economic humans). Conversely, the research theme for sports marketing is homo ludens (playing humans), which emphasizes the emotional satisfaction and experience value obtained from play. The base for "playing humans" is leisure consumption which is performed in free time with an individual aim. Accordingly, research requires the clarification of irrational behavior which is induced through factors such as "play," "thrill" and excitement, none of which can be assessed using conventional consumer behavior theory.

For example, passionate fans possess extreme brand loyalty which would never occur for normal products or services. Although there are some soccer fans who, after death, want their ashes scattered on the stadium field, no one wants their ashes scattered on the floor of the supermarket at which they shop every day. Although some fans cry when watching sports, there are no consumers who shed tears upon purchasing an expensive 3D liquid-crystal television.

One interesting research theme is how famous sports athletes are used as endorsers in Japan. Sports athletes compose two-thirds of endorsers featured on police posters for eliminating gang crime or preventing juvenile delinquency. This is an example of social contribution activities by sports athletes, as well as marketing of a public service which uses the emotional appeal effect of sports.

Field: Sports nutrition
Sports & Nutrition

Association Professor Motoko Taguchi
Faculty of Sport Sciences

Sports dietary education is the foundation of building healthy lives for children will lead the next generation

I have devoted myself to researching the creation of standards for nutritional intake to support top sports, as well as to developing nutritional sports systems. In addition to participating in project research for formulating nutritional/dietary guidelines for athletes, I have conducted dietary intervention research for nutritional strategies. For example, I have research weight control methods and bulking methods which are appropriate for Japanese athletes. Another major advancement was the establishment of a certification system for accredited sports nutritionists.

Sports nutrition can be applied to other fields other than top sports. Appropriate nutritional intake in relation to the amount of bodily movement is essential to all people, from elementary school students to city runners, the middle-aged and elderly, and the elderly seeking to prevent the need for nursing care. In particular, the application of sports dietary education for junior athletes is the foundation of building healthy lives for children who will lead the next generation. In order to realize a vibrant society with physical and emotional health, I believe that it is my mission to transmit evidence-based sports nutrition from Waseda University.

Nutrition education for junior athletes