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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.

Transmitting new literature
The venerable literary magazine Waseda Bungaku

Makoto Ichikawa Associate Professor, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences, 10th Senior Editor of Waseda Bungaku

Waseda Bungaku” was first published in 1891 by Shoyo Tsubouchi, the founder of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The magazine has the longest tradition of any literary magazine in Japan. “Waseda Bungaku” was started as a transcript listing the lecture content from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. After undergoing repeated suspensions and reissues, the magazine still continues today. Starting from the 2nd issue of “Waseda Bungaku” published by Hogetsu Shimamura, the magazine became similar to its current form of publishing written works. The magazine has received high acclaim for constantly trying new things. For example, modern poetry was introduced in the 1970s and foreign literature in the 1980s. In the 2000s, “Waseda Bungaku” started issuing a digital edition and free newsletter. The magazine’s activities are based on Shoyo’s belief that “human nature is the basis for novels” and the Waseda spirit of “embracing new things from outside the university.” These concepts were embodied in the following famous statement by Masaaki Tachihara, the 7th Senior Editor: “If you are choosing between a Waseda graduate and a Keio graduate with the same ability, choose the Keio graduate.” (Of course, it would be even better if the Waseda graduate had superior ability!) Regardless, every person involved with “Waseda Bungaku,” both editors and authors, is infatuated with “literature.” They all have special feelings for “Waseda Bungaku,” a magazine that gives birth to new literature. Author Kiyoshi Shigematsu once even said, “Instead of paying me a lot of money for my manuscript, I want you to cultivate young writers!” “Passion,” not “money,” is required to create literature. The “passionate” support from alumni and fans of our magazine is great encouragement.

2nd issue of “Waseda Bungaku

Waseda Bungaku,” Issue No. 6 (published September 2013)
*Available for purchase from “Waseda Bungaku” website

WB,” a free newsletter first published in 2005

Some authors who originated from “Waseda Bungaku:”

Wahei Tatematsu
Author. While at university, won the Waseda Literary Prize for New Writers for his work “Bicycle.” Awards won include the 1980 Noma Literary Prize for New Writers for his work “Distant Thunder” and the 1997 Mainichi Publishing Culture Award for his work “Poison—Rumors・Shozo Tanaka.

Mieko Kawakami
Author, poet, and musician. In 2007, nominated for the 137th Akutagawa Prize for her work “The World According to Tooth.” Afterwards, won the Incentive Prize for the 1st Waseda University Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize

Aoko Matsuda
Author. Her first book “Stackable” was published in “Waseda Bungaku” and was a great hit for a new writer.

Become a fan of “Waseda Bungaku:” through our membership system

We have started the “Waseda Bungaku Club,” an organization which supports Waseda literature and the magazine “Waseda Bungaku.” In addition to delivery of the magazine and bulletin, members receive benefits such as entry in lotteries for invitation to special events and awards ceremonies. Alumni and their family members can join at a special price. For further details, please request information from the contact listed below. Details will also be made available in the near future on the “Waseda Bungaku” website.

Request information by contacting the Waseda Bungaku Editorial Department:
Tel/Fax: 03-3200-7960
E-mail: wbinfo●bungaku.net (*Change the “●” to an @ mark)