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WASEDA University Newsletter from WOL No.2 (2009-09-10)

Opinion Weekly Opinion

COOLBIZ - Why 28°C?

Professor Shin-ichi Tanabe
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University

The hot summer has come again! It's almost like a tropical island here due to the urban heat island effect. As part of the government initiatives to fight global warming, the COOLBIZ campaign was launched in 2005. An old friend of mine, who has visited Japan often over many years, says attitudes of Japanese people towards clothing have changed significantly, as many people dress casually these days in summer. He has a lasting impression of a Japan full of very polite and well-dressed people, where even in hot summer men wear suits with ties wherever they go. In fact, as short sleeve shirts are very informal, even today those who are very careful about dress codes only wear dress shirts with long sleeves, in spite of the summer heat. Some regard dress shirts as underwear, so they never take off their jackets (more power to them!)

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Michael Jackson

James M. Vardaman
Professor, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Waseda University

Following the death of Michael Joseph Jackson on June 25, media flocked to report the widely varied responses of fans and detractors of the "King of Pop," speculating on the circumstances of his death and reflecting on his professional and personal life. While there is no doubt that Jackson's personal issues were serious and disturbing, there is also no doubt that his music had an enormous positive impact on pop culture and the popular imagination. His distinctive musical sound and vocal style influenced hip hop, pop and contemporary rhythm and blues across several generations, and his videos are often seen as making a major contribution to the success of MTV.

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Research Knowledge Co-Creation - Profiles of researchers

Leading the World in the Total Synthesis of Biologically Active Natural Products

Professor Kuniaki Tatsuta
Waseda University Faculty of Science and Engineering

The 1960s were in the middle of Japan' s rapid economic growth. The character Astro Boy drove people dreams toward the future of scientific technology, and that expectation and excitement reached a peak at the Osaka Exposition in 1970. This period was the background in which Japan started full-scale robot research, and that research has continued to lead the world until today.

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Culture

Holding Exhibitions at the Library

Mr. Hideyuki Fujiwara
Manager, Special Collections (Waseda University Library)

This spring, an exhibition entitled "The National Treasure Ashura and Masterpieces from Kohfukuji" was held at the Tokyo National Museum. This exhibition attracted over 940 thousand visitors, the highest attendance in history for Japanese art at the Tokyo National Museum. Furthermore, starting from this summer, this will transfer to the Kyushu National Museum, where it will most likely again attract a large number of visitors. I recently visited the National Treasure Museum of Kohfukuji Temple, located in the city of Nara. The Ashura statue is normally displayed in this museum. Of course, the Ashura statue was not on display when I visited, and the case which normally holds the Tenryu Hachibushu (8 guardian deities of Buddhism) and the Judai Deshi (10 disciples of Buddha) was half-filled with the wood-carved Junishin Shoryuzo (statues of 12 gods). A sign proclaiming that the "Ashura statue is on loan to another collection" was posted at the entrance of the museum, and inside the museum was quiet without visitors such as school children on field trips.

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