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Celebrating 100 years – Aiming to enliven Japan with the power of advertising for another 100 years!

Waseda Advertising Society
Taiga Shimada (left)
Kentaro Funayama (right)

The Waseda Advertising Society celebrated its 100th anniversary in January 2013. This circle first began its activities in 1913, a time without radio or television when ad balloons were making their first appearance in Japan. For a century now the society has produced several thousand alumni and continued to actively engage in a variety of activities, including exhibiting at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, one of the three largest advertising festivals in the world. Taiga Shimada served as the all-important 100th secretary-general of this historic organization. Shimada oversaw a variety of commemorative activities and successfully executed this important and responsibility-filled role.

At the Waseda Advertising Society’s commemorative ceremony, alumni from the society even in their 70’s took part, talking animatedly about their recent exploits and memories of the circle.

“We published the “Waseda Advertising Society: 100th Anniversary Commemorative Magazine” as a compilation of our commemorative activities. We spent approximately five years editing it, and it is a powerful account detailing across over 100 pages our journey from our foundation to the present day. We also held a celebration in February of this year which gathered over 500 attendees in the Okuma Auditorium. It was a heavy responsibility unlike anything I had undertaken before, but I believe I was able to accomplish it thanks to comrades who helped support me no matter what.”

The Waseda Advertising Society has been active continuously for 100 years and is one of the biggest circles at Waseda, with over 400 members at present. First and second year students are divided between the advertising strategy team, the graphic advertising team, and the video advertising team, with the practical study of advertising creation being the main activity of the circle. Cooperating with the advertising departments of actual companies, members receive comprehensive feedback on each of their ideas. Once members reach their third year of university, they form their own teams and obtain clients on their own. Utilizing their unique perspective as students as a strength, the members propose ideas and aim to have them used in actual advertisements in order to fulfill the challenges given to them.

Guiding such an organization, a university circle with a large number of members which also holds significant connections to society at large, cannot be easy. Inheriting its leadership from the previous secretary-general, Shimada, is the 101st secretary-general, Kentaro Funayama. Until now, a new activity theme has been chose with each new secretary-general, but Funayama has established a long-term vision for the next 100 years of the organization as an experiment. “It might sound hackneyed, but our new vision will enliven Japan with the power of advertisements. When creating advertisements, you inevitably tend to focus on the advertiser, but I hope to engage in activities which will also involve the people who will actually be looking at them.”

Nodding strongly in agreement with the current secretary-general’s vision for the future, former secretary-general Shimada also had the following to say about the outlook for advertising. “I believe that great advertisements not only get people to buy things but also make all the people involved in the product or service happy. Although the industry is pretty severe right now considering the current economy, I think the future of advertising is bright and I strongly believe it has the power to enliven Japan.”

In a university circle destined to see its members change in quick succession, Funayama and other current members are cultivating a “constant” which will serve as a standard for the long-term operation of the organization. The Waseda Advertising Society is taking the first concrete steps towards the next 100 years.

Participating in the Waseda Festival wearing matching T-shirts.

. Page 1 of the commemorative magazine. The pictures on the lower right are covers from Waseda Kokoku, a collection of the year’s advertising activities. From left to right: No. 21 (66th and 67th secretaries-general), No. 24 (70th secretary-general), and No. 25 (71st secretary-general)

Making a presentation in front of clients.


Taiga Shimada (left)
Fourth Year, School of Sport Sciences

The Waseda Advertising Society’s 100th secretary-general, Taiga Shimada is originally from Ibaraki and graduated from Tsuchiura No. 1 Senior High School. In his second year he was responsible for supervising the Waseda Festival as part of his circle. He enjoys watching sports and his dream is to go watch a sporting event overseas.

Kentaro Funayama (right)
Third Year, School of Law

The Waseda Advertising Society’s 101st secretary-general, Kentaro Funayama is originally from Kanagawa and graduated from Waseda University Senior High School. In his second year he was the leader of the graphic advertising team. He enjoys watching movies and borrows too many DVDs.