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Doing What I Want to do!
The Young Comedian Maruko is Giving it her all at Waseda

Ms. Manami Kawazu

“Do you know who was the first person to use the Japanese character for the letter 'v’?” asked Ms. Kawazu, referring to the character used in Japan when writing words including “violin” and “heavyweight.” “It really started to bug me, so I did some research. It turns out that Mr. Yukichi Fukuzawa was the first one to use it!” She went on to say that Mr. Fukuzawa invented the Japanese character in order to produce a “v” sound when he was translating from the German language. Full of curiosity, Ms. Kawazu’s big, round eyes don’t allow things that intrigue her, like the character for the letter “v” - things that may seem like nothing more than a tiny part of ordinary life - to get away unobserved. This is the driving force behind the comedian “Maruko.”

During her third year as a junior high school student, Ms. Kawazu decided to become a comedian after watching the winter M-1 Grand Prix. She actively participated in a number of live performances for young comedians such as those at Base Yoshimoto, mainly in Osaka. “When I was in my third year of senior high school, I was so preoccupied with my comic activities that my grades were not so much flying at a low altitude as they were on the verge of crashing.” Her grades at the time were represented by a deviation value of 32. Her college entrance examinations all ended in failure, and she was forced to wait until the following year to take the exams again. “I just reaped what I had sown, but it still didn’t feel very good. I figured that with things the way they were, I had little choice but to gun for Tokyo University.” She began studying hard with fierce concentration, and her deviation scores began to noticeably improve. She even rose to 73, her own personal record. During the time before her second round of examinations, she visited Tokyo in order to tour the Tokyo University campus. She also visited Waseda University and Keio University - schools whose names were well-know even in the Kansai region. When she arrived at each of these campuses, there was one question that she was sure to ask the students: “Is this place fun?” At Tokyo University she received dubious looks, and at Keio University she was told “Yeah, it can be fun!” and “Studying here will help you with your job search afterwards!” However, Ms. Kawazu said that a reply she received at Waseda startled her. “The first person I asked looked at me and answered, 'Well, I just got back from traveling around the world...’”

It was at that point that Ms. Kawazu realized Waseda wasn’t your run of the mill school, and decided to try her hand at the entrance exam. For her second run at the Tokyo University exam, she accidentally forgot to take an exam on a compulsorily subject and was rejected by default. “I screwed that up...” she said, laughing, “But I felt that all I had left was Waseda, and that actually provided me with the will to fight on.” She showed that she could accomplish what she put her mind to and was accepted by five of Waseda’s undergraduate departments. Out of those five undergraduate departments, what stood out was a catch phrase in the application guidelines of the School of Culture, Media and Society: “Do what you want to do. Become what you want to be.” “I felt that this catch phrase described what I wanted to do, and in that instant I decided that this department was the one I wanted to study at.”

At Waseda, Ms. Kawazu plays two parts - that of a student, and that of a comedian. She’s occasionally been asked “which one are you serious about?” “I don’t want to be thought of as wishy-washy, and so I need to produce results better than those of the people around me. That’s why I’m giving my all to both my comedy and my studies.” To Ms. Kawazu, both her comedic career and her academic life at Waseda are invaluable. “This feeling of wanting to take everything in with one fell swoop might just be something that only Waseda can offer.”

Ms. Kawazu stated that she wants to live a life in which every moment is her most enjoyable moment. “My dream is to become a person about whom other people think 'I’d sure like to meet that person one more time,’” she said, with a huge smile and eyes that sparkled as they sought after her dream.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Ms. Manami Kawazu

Born in 1988 in Osaka Prefecture. Graduated from Sagano Senior High School and is currently a third year student of the School of Culture, Media and Society. She decided to become a comedian after watching the M-1 Grand Prix during her third year as a junior high school student. At the start of her career, she performed mainly in the Osaka area. She continues to be active in comedy, and is currently living a challenging lifestyle while performing as “Maruko,” under Shochiku Geino Co., Ltd. She came under the limelight for the first time on June 15 as an upcoming young comedian when she appeared on the TBS program “N-Star.” Her talents are the abacus (level 1 certification), kendo (first-dan), and jigsaw puzzles (level 1). She also has particular confidence in her competitive eating abilities. Her track record (on separate occasions) includes ramen (thirteen bowls), mapo doufu (4L), and one kilogram of Hamburg steak along with one kilogram of rice in 11 minutes. She placed 5th in the Kanto division of the “Ganso! Oogui Ou Ketteisen” (King of the Gluttons Competition). Her favorite food is rice - as one might expect. She is also skilled at making Thai basil chicken and, of course, mapo doufu.

“I’m Maruko, and I can do anything if I try!”
The blog of Maruko, a young comedian from Shochiku Geino