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Concept and plans for compiling the 150 Year Annals of Waseda University

Lee Sungsi
Chairperson, the Annals of Waseda Editorial Board

At Waseda University, we are currently editing the 150 Year Annals of Waseda University to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the University’s establishment in 2032. Perhaps many people are not yet familiar with the annals, so I would like to introduce its concept and plans.

The purpose for compiling Waseda University's history: What is our goal?

Waseda University has so far compiled its history for the 20th, 25th, 30th, 50th, 70th, 80th and 100th anniversaries since its founding, marking five to twenty years between each update. Since then, however, no documentation has been recorded to this day. The 150 Year Annals of Waseda University (or The 150 Year Annals for short), which we started to compile after this unusual gap, has the role of filling an unprecedented blank of 50 years. Since the 100th anniversary, after the Deregulation of University Act in particular, Waseda has undergone one reform after another, going through complex organizational changes such as expansion and restructuring. Unless we begin collecting and organizing information about these events now and prepare keeping record of the University’s history, both the facts and their significance will become ambiguous or unknown; therefore, there is a great sense of urgency to act before it is too late.

Moreover, many details regarding Waseda’s 100 year history only came to light after publishing the 100 Year Annals. Especially, the 100 Year Annals does not adequately deal with the period after the education system was revised, and inconsistencies have been pointed out even by those who were actually involved in compiling the annals. There is also a need to discuss aspects somewhat overlooked in the 100 Year Annals, such as the student life and the international activities of people associated with Waseda. Writing the 150 Year Annals requires more than merely adding 50 years onto the 100 Year Annals.

The 100 Year Annals , which was compiled at the Editorial Department of the University History (now known as the Waseda University Archives) established in 1969, took almost 30 years to complete. The 16 years we have to compile the 150 Year Annals is by no means ample time, and we have to push ahead with the task rapidly.

Documents from the Waseda University Office (from 1889, back in the Tokyo College days)

Since its founding in 1882, Waseda University has sent many alumni into all areas of society and has established its place in Japan’s modern and contemporary history. For this reason, the history of Waseda University can be said to be a common asset not just to those connected to the University but to society. Currently, the 150 Year Annals is listed under the “Fostering Pride as Waseda People in the World: Promoting the Waseda Culture” core strategy in the Waseda Vision 150, a strategic plan formulated in 2011. Precisely archiving its own history and proactively disseminating the historical information are part of the important social responsibilities that universities must fulfill. Such efforts will nurture the Waseda identity and pride that the 150 Year Annals will hopefully come to embody.

Distinctive features of the 150 Year Annals: What to create?

100 Year Annals of Waseda University

So, what content will the 150 Year Annals include?

The plan is to compile a three-volume book and a resource collection to be published online.

Volume 1 will cover the period from the founding of Tokyo College in 1882 to the start of Waseda University under the new education system in 1949. Volume 2 will deal with the period up to the early 1990s, around the time when a string of reforms initiated due to changes such as the Deregulation of University Act. Finally, Volume 3 will describe Waseda’s history up to its 150th anniversary. Despite its title, the 150 Year Annals of Waseda University, the plan is not to withhold all publication until the 150th anniversary, and Volume 1 is scheduled to be published in the academic year 2020.

In terms of the online resource collection, the Waseda Biographical Database, has already been made available on the Waseda University Cultural Resources Information Portal, which I invite interested readers to browse. Going forward, we will create new databases and keep updating the information; we will also actively utilize new technology to build our databases and strive to maximize the resource’s usability, for example, by improving search functions.

Furthermore, there are also plans to release related materials, including an abridged version of the annals with a focus on readability, a photo book, and a video footage collection. Although only the main book will bear the title of the 150 Year Annals of Waseda University, our aim is not to limit ourselves to printed publications but to offer a variety of media according to its purpose and need. By 2032, the media environment will likely have changed completely from what it is today, so we must ensure somehow that our method compiling the annals can accommodate such changes. The totality of the information released through the different media will, in a wider sense, constitute the 150 Year Annals.

There is a reason for choosing this format. Waseda University has already published the 100 Year Annals, which was completed in 1997. It is a monumental work consisting of eight volumes—five volumes, two supplementary volumes, and the general index and chronological tables combined—roughly 9,000 pages in total.

However, the 100 Year Annals had its shortcomings, namely that the related materials were embedded in the main text; the book is not divided into a general history section and a resource section. Although this is one style of editing, it is undeniably cumbersome for both people wishing to learn about the general historical development and those looking for the bibliography. Separating the book into the main section, which deals with Waseda’s general history, and the resource material section will resolve this inconvenience. What’s more, the use of the resources will increase considerably if they are published online, and it will make it easier to revise or add to the information.

Waseda University Archives handles the administrative work involved in editing the 150 Year Annals. One important role of the Archives is to manage references related to the University’s history. The increasing number of references every year is evidence of the rising interest in Waseda’s history. The Archives receive various inquiries daily from those associated with Waseda, both inside and outside the University, and their descendants, Waseda alumni, newspapers, television stations, publishing companies, and overseas. The best reference tool we have on such occasion is the 100 Year Annals. This means that the Waseda University Archives, now working on the basic compilation process for the 150 Year Annals, will also come to use of it regularly upon its completion. On a daily basis, the Archives receive inquires that the 100 Years Annals cannot answer or new ideas arise for making the resources easily accessible. Such experiences will have contributed to shaping the concept behind the 150 Year Annals.

Structure for advancing the project: How to create it?

Waseda University Archives Storage (Higashifushimi Campus)

The 150 Year Annals of Waseda University officially launched in 2010. To start with, the Editorial Board was established consisting of Executive Directors nominated by the President, Director of the Waseda University Archives, Dean of the Cultural Affairs Division, Director of the Office of Information and Public Relations, Director of the Waseda University Library, selected faculty and staff members. The Editorial Board deliberates on the annals’ overall policy concerning its structure, content, aggregation and organization of resources, implementation system, schedule, budget and more. The Editorial Board currently meets twice a year.

In addition, there is the Specialist Editorial Committee set up by the Editorial Board. Its purpose is to discuss more specific matters such as editorial policy, structure, content, and aggregation/organization of resources, thereby advancing the compilation process. The Specialist Editorial Committee currently meets four times a year.

I have mentioned above that the 150 Year Annals has recently become part of the 13 core strategies of the Waseda Vision 150.

Policies the Editorial Board decide on are put into action by the Waseda University Archives, which is responsible for the administrative work and has been collecting relevant information as well as drafting rough plans for the compilation process for the past six years. The Waseda University Archives is currently located at the Higashifushimi Campus. In the academic year 2016, a branch office (the 150 Year Annals Office) will open at the Waseda Campus to create a conducive structure for the investigation and compilation work.

These are the arrangements in which the 150 Year Annals is being advanced. It is a large-scale operation but necessary for completing the annals.

Currently, we are putting much effort into creating the 150 Year Annals that is deserving of celebrating the University its 150th anniversary and that looks beyond into the future. We would appreciate your kind cooperation in the process.

Lee Sungsi
Chairperson, the Annals of Waseda Editorial Board

Chairperson of the 150 Year Annals of Waseda University Compilation Committee. Executive Director of Waseda University, and Professor at the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Doctor of Literature. Graduated from the doctoral program at Waseda University in 1982, majoring in East Asian history. Lee has written publications including The Formation of East Asian Cultural Sphere (Yamakawa Shuppansha World History Libretto, 2000), Races and Countries of Ancient East Asia (Iwanami Shoten, 1998), Sovereignty and Trade in East Asia (Aoki Shoten, 1997). He has co-edited and co-authored works such as Iwanami Lectures on Japanese History (22 volumes, 2014 to 2016), Waseda for International Students (Waseda University Press, 2015), Reconsidering Korean and Japanese History from the Viewpoint of Colonial Modernity (Iwanami Shoten, 2004), Colonialism and History (Tosui Shobo, 2004), and others.