Bonds of Friendship Tied Rivals- Waseda and Keio
“The Last Waseda-Keio Baseball Match” seeing off students going to the battlefront
In 1941, baseball was being suppressed as a hostile American sport after the Pacific War had been launched, and the Tokyo Six baseball matches were in fact suspended when the Ministry of Education enforced the order of its dissolution in April 1943.
At last, students were forced to go to the front as the order that exempted majoring in law and letters from conscription was cancelled because of the worsening tide of the war.
“Once we go to war, we may not be able to return alive to stand on the ground of our hometowns and schools again. We would like to have the last match with Waseda University Baseball Club, if possible.” Thanks to the contribution of passionate people in the Keio University Baseball Club and hardworking Waseda University Baseball Club, the last Waseda-Keio Baseball Match took place at Totsuka Stadium despite the ever stronger suppression of the military authorities.
Waseda eventually defeated Keio 10-0 in the match, but players from both teams and audience seemed to enjoy the game without considering who won or lost.
Both exchanged honor yells after the match, as people from Waseda sang Wakaki chi, Keio's supporting song and people from Keio sang Miyako no seihoku, Waseda's school song. Students filling the stadium were too moved to leave and sang supporting songs again and again.
On October 21st, five days after the match, the seeing-off ceremony for students going to the front was held at Meiji Shrine Outer Park Stadium, which is now called National Olympic Stadium, and most university students were sent to the severe battlefield.
“Medal of Friendship”
In the men's pole vault event at the 1936 Berlin Olympic, five athletes reached the final competition. Among them were Earle Meadows of the United States and two Japanese athletes, Shuhei Nishida from Waseda University and Sueo Oe from Keio University.
In the end, Meadows took first place by vaulting 4 meters and 35 centimeters. Nishida and Oe, on the other hand, got in the consolation final and competed fiercely over five hours under night lighting. It was already 9 p.m., and the judges unilaterally concluded the competition, telling the Japanese teams to determine among themselves who would be given second place.
Finally, it was settled that Nishida won the second place by vaulting 4 meters and 25 centimeters in his first try and Oe won the third place by vaulting the same height as Nishida in his second try.
After coming back to Japan, both Nishida and Oe cut their Olympic medals in two, and exchanged one piece with each other so they could stick them with the other pieces they originally had.
Later the medal came to be called “Medal of Friendship” and the two men's story has been handed down to the present.
The medal was donated to Waseda University by kindness and support of Mr. Nishida's bereaved family in June, 2005.
Copyright (C) 2007 Student Affairs Division, WASEDA University. All rights reserved.
First drafted 2007 October 25.