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Campus Now

Autumn Issue (Nov. 2013)


Waseda Literature

From the founding of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences by Shoyo Tsubouchi, the start of the literary magazine “Waseda Bungaku” to the production of countless literary award-winners, editors and researchers, Waseda has placed its mark on the world’s “literature.”
This article examines the tradition of “Waseda literature” which has been created by such cultural intellectuals.
Join us as we investigate the appeal of “Waseda literature” which is the pride of everyone associated with our university.

History of “Waseda literature”

1882 to 1944

Shoyo Tsubouchi is 2nd from left.

Tokyo Senmon Gakko founded
School of Humanities and Social Sciences founded by Dr. Shoyo Tsubouchi
1st issue of “Waseda Bungaku” published (Shoyo Tsubouchi)
2nd issue of “Waseda Bungaku” published (Hogetsu Shimamura)
School song “Northwest of City” established (lyrics by Gyofu Souma)
Waseda University Library opened
Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum opened
Publishing started for the series “Jinsei Gekijo,” written by Shiro Ozaki (School of Political Science and Economics) and set at Waseda. Song “Jinsei Gekijo” written based on the series, adopted as the second school song, and sung by many Waseda students
2nd Naoki Prize won by Uko Washio (graduate from the Department of English) for his work “Yoshino Dynasty Epic
1st Akutagawa Prize won by Tatsuzo Ishikawa (graduate from the Department of English) for his work “Sobo

1945 to 1999

Construction completed for Toyama Campus buildings of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences
23rd Yomiuri Prize for Literature (Essay/Travelogue Category) won by Masuji Ibuse (Department of French) for his work “Waseda-no-Mori
Noriko Minobe (graduate from the Department of Literature) published her graduation work “No More Sitting with Chin in Hand,” sparking a writing boom among female university students
Waseda Literary Prize for New Writers started (Waseda Bungaku Association)
Waseda Bungaku” 100th Anniversary Event held
Toyama Library opened

2000 and later

Started publishing of “WB,” a free newsletter of “Waseda Bungaku.” Actively published young writers such as Mieko Kawakami
“Waseda University Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize” established
Event held to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences
148th Akutagawa Prize won by Natsuko Kuroda (graduate from the Department of Japanese, School of Education,) for her work “A-B-Sango” (28th Waseda graduate to win the prize)
148th Naoki Prize won by Ryo Asai (graduate from the Department of Literature, School of Culture, Media and Society) for his work “Nani-Mono” (34th Waseda graduate to win the prize)
Waseda University Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize

To commemorate the 125th anniversary of our university in 2007, this prize was established in memory of the outstanding record of work left by Dr. Shoyo Tsubouchi, the founder of modern Japanese literature and culture. In the hope that the spirit of Tsubouchi will lead to new creation of literary culture in the future, the prize is awarded to individuals and groups that have made outstanding contributions to literature and cultural and artistic activities. Waseda University has produced countless professionals in a variety of cultural fields including literature, theatre and art. Drawing upon this tradition, our university seeks to fulfill a core role as a place for the creation and conveyance of new culture. Every other year, First Prize and Incentive Prize are awarded for outstanding achievement in literature, culture or artistic activities.

Scene from 2011 awards ceremony

1st Prize (2007)
First Prize: Haruki Murakami (graduate from Studies in Theatre and Films Arts)
Incentive Prize: Mieko Kawakami
2nd Prize (2009)
First Prize: Yoko Tawada (graduate from the Department of Russian)
Incentive Prize: Nobori Kiuchi
3rd Prize (2011)
First Prize: Hideki Noda
Incentive Prize: Toh Enjo
4th Prize (2013)
First Prize: Yoko Ogawa (graduate from the Department of Literature)
Incentive Prize: Masatsugu Ono, Wataru Yamada