Take Pride In Waseda

President Katsuhiko Shirai

President Katsuhiko Shirai

Congratulations on entering Waseda University! It is indeed a pleasure to welcome so many new students brimming with unlimited talent, energy and potential.

Now that you're members of the Waseda community, let me ask you a simple question: Why did you choose this university? Some of you may have picked Waseda because you already had specific goals mapped out. There again, some of you may have chosen Waseda because of its reputation, or because it's where you've always wanted to study. Whatever your motive, Waseda University offers you an exciting and completely different educational environment. In many ways Waseda is a microcosm of today's global society, a cosmopolitan melting-pot of people from different nations and different backgrounds. This stimulating and exciting environment will help you to refine your sensibilities to their fullest extent, to find and make your own that which stirs your innermost being-to learn more about yourself, about other people, and about your own goals in life. This is what Waseda has been doing for over a century. It's the great tradition of Waseda University.

Let me give you an example. In 1905 the Waseda University Baseball Club made its first visit to the United States. This was at the height of the Russo-Japanese War. When Shigenobu Okuma, the founder of Waseda, was asked what he thought of the planned visit, he replied, “It's a great idea! If you have any problems with the authorities, let me know and I'll see what I can do. The same goes for expenses.” Shigenobu Okuma's spirit as a leader and an educator lives on today, and is reflected in almost every aspect of university life.

This Baseball Club anecdote reminds me of one of Waseda's most notable alumni, Dr. Ryusaku Tsunoda. He was a great fan of the game and founded the baseball club at Fukushima Middle School (now Fukushima Prefectural High School). In 1893 he graduated from the Literature Department of the Tokyo Technical School (now the Waseda University School of Letters, Arts and Sciences) and in 1917 went to the United States. In 1928 he established the Columbia University Center for Japanese Studies (now the Columbia University East Asia Library) and became the Director of the Japanese Collection in 1931. In 1962 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Columbia University. He was called the Father of Japanese Studies in the United States and at Columbia University he was referred to as simply “Sensei”. He was also the mentor of Dr. Donald Keene, an honorary doctor of Waseda University and one of America's foremost authorities on Japanese culture. According to Dr. Tsunoda, three great “Ls” are essential in life.

The first ‘L’ is ‘Love’. Dr. Tsunoda's idea of ‘Love’ is deeply related to the Buddhist concept of compassion but for us it means developing loving relationships with our families and friends, our classmates, and everyone and everything around us.

The second ‘L’ is ‘Law’. Every society or group is founded on law and order. The same is true of university life. Not only should we abide by the school rules - that goes without saying - but over and above this we should also conduct ourselves with pride and responsibility and regulate our individual actions. We must always be the strictest judges of ourselves. As Waseda students, always remember that the eyes of the public are upon everything you do.

The third ‘L’ is ‘Labor’. Please do your best as Waseda students. Work hard, study hard, and strive hard for self-improvement over the next four years at university. And always keep Dr. Tsunoda's three Ls in mind.

Today, you have become a part of Waseda University. Take to heart and make your own the great mission, the great guiding principles of this university. Experience them as part of your life. Think beyond only profit and loss. Take pride in being part of Waseda, and do your utmost to contribute to the building of a new twenty-first century society of which you yourselves will be leaders. I wish you all the best.


Copyright (C) 2006 Student Affairs Division, WASEDA University. All rights reserved.
First drafted 2006 April 13.