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The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

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People

From Waseda, where he wore the "ace number" 11,
to the Saitama Seibu Lions

Mr. Kenta Matsushita

On November 1, Mr. Matsushita played the last Waseda-Keio game of his student career at Jingu Stadium. "When I thought that it was my last time to stand in that place, tears naturally began welling up," he said.

Until he enrolled in Waseda University, Mr. Matsushita was the type of person who "gave my undivided attention to whatever I decided to do." Once he started school, his personal relationships expanded. Through receiving advice and consulting with people, he realized how to create the will to pursue his goals, and came to have a more objective point of view.

After graduating, he had the chance to stand on the mound as part of the Tokyo Big6 Baseball Spring League - a feeling he had never experienced before. The fans in the stands and other viewers seemed to meld into one, shouting "Waseda! Waseda" Their support made his "heart tremble." He felt anew the tradition and dignity of Waseda, which was an "unforgettable and affecting experience." He also said, "I was so happy that I got to play baseball at Waseda."

He was active playing baseball, and also won scholarships through his own efforts, which allowed him to have a fulfilling student life. "Thanks to such support, I was able strive with my full power even during critical moments," he said, nodding.

"Teamwork is important in rugby and ekiden races as well, but I personally feel that baseball is a sport in which teamwork is even more essential." Because effective or poor teamwork brings results, Mr. Matsushita feels that baseball is an interesting and frightening sport. He entered a youth baseball team in his fifth year of elementary school, and has continued to play for over ten years. When asked if he ever thought of quitting, he replied, "no...in fact, I feel like I've been obsessed with it."

Mr. Matsushita is currently busy at work on his graduation thesis. His research theme is his own baseball form captured by high speed cameras, and he is working diligently to turn it in by the mid-December deadline. "Coach Otake of the baseball team and Professor Kasai of the School of Sport Sciences are like my 'fathers' in Tokyo. Or maybe I'm the only one who thinks so..." After leaving the team, he also left his dormitory and is living on his own. "I cook for myself frequently. I didn't know how much miso to put in miso soup, so I've had to call my friends to ask them," he said, laughing. He will officially be an adult member of society this spring. "I'd like to become the type of person that everyone expects of Waseda students. My dream is also to become the sort of alumni that inspires younger students," he said strongly.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Mr. Kenta Matsushita

Born in 1987 in Hiroshima Prefecture. Graduated from Meitoku Gijuku Senior High School, and is currently a fourth year student in the School of Sport Sciences and a member of Mr. Junichi Kasai's seminar. In 2008, he won the Tokyo Big6 Baseball Spring League Best Earned Run Average Pitcher Award and the 56th All Japan University Baseball Championship Most Valuable Pitcher Award. In November 2009, he was nominated by the Saitama Seibu Lions at a draft conference. His favorite movie is "Cool Runnings," which he has seen over one hundred times. He gets his energy from eggplant and shime saba (vinegared mackerel).