Azusa Ono Memorial Award Medal
Azusa Ono Memorial Award is the most prestigious award that can be conferred to students.
Azusa Ono was one of the most dedicated pioneers who supported Shigenobu Okuma in the establishment of Tokyo Senmon Gakko (College of Tokyo), Waseda University’s predecessor. Together with Okuma, Ono is revered as a co-founder of Waseda University.
After establishing Tokyo Senmon Gakko, Azusa Ono lived for only three years before passing away prematurely at the age of 33, without having been able to witness the school’s subsequent success and prosperity. His principle of independence of learning was included in the Mission Statement proclaimed at the school’s 30th anniversary in 1913, and is still a fundamental philosophy of Waseda University to this day.
The Azusa Ono Memorial Award was inaugurated in 1958 to recognize and remember his accomplished contributions to the school, and to further promote the founding principles. Thus the awards are conferred to exemplary students whose outstanding performance in academic work, the arts, or sports is recognized.
A special award was subsequently added in 1994 to recognize students whose excellent achievements are outside the scope of Azusa Ono Memorial Award but deserve to be acknowledged equally.
Azusa Ono Memorial Award Medal (supplementary prize)
The medal has an embossed portrait of Ono in a Greek style, circumscribed with an inscription in Latin “VASEDA VNIVERSITAS – PALMA IN MEMORIAM AZVSA ONO.” The design was proposed by Professor Emeritus Kenji Imai, and crafted by Keiji Kimura, a judge at the Japan Fine Arts Exhibition, and a professor at Tokyo University of Education. The medal has been awarded to students since 1966. It was revamped on the occasion of the University’s 125-year anniversary in 2007. Today, it is slightly larger and weighs 125 grams. The medal is gold-plated and made of pure silver, measuring 5.5 cm in diameter and 5 mm in thickness.
The Athletic Center presents awards to sporting clubs, coaches, and club members for excellent performance in the previous academic year. Candidacy is based on recommendations by the respective club general managers , and the Selection Committee for Physical Education Honor Award. deliberates on the candidates to decide the award winners. The awards conferred are as follows:
- Group Honor Award
Started in 1948, the Waseda University Physical Education Honor Award is conferred to sporting clubs that have achieved excellent results during the academic year, with an ornamental ribbon to adorn the club flag. Concurrently, the University’s Tomonkai* provides the Tomonkai Award, presented with a certificate and prize money (50,000 yen).
*Alumni groups which are organized and managed voluntarily by alumni of Waseda University are called “Tomonkai”
- Individual Honor Award
This award is presented to individual club members who achieved excellent performance, conferred with a certificate and a medal. The first award was given in 1957.
- Incentive Award
This award is presented to the clubs that were close to receiving the Group Honor Award, with a ribbon to adorn the club flag and prize money of 30,000 yen. The first award was given in 1966.
- Coach Award
This award is presented to the coach of a club that received one of the above awards.
At the 2009 Physical Education Award Ceremony, the Athletic Center presented the Athletic Center Director Award to Mr. Norimasa Hirai in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Japanese swimming, and to honor his exemplary performance to embody the spirit of Waseda Sports. He graduated from the School of Social Sciences in 1986, and was pursuing his one-year Master’s Degree course at the Graduate School of Sport Sciences in 2009.
Successfully completed his degree course in the School of Social Sciences, Mr. Hirai worked at Tokyo Swimming Center. Subsequently, he performed as a head coach for a series of Japanese Olympic swimming teams. Under his coaching was Kosuke Kitajima, who won a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to become a two-year consecutive champion, as well as Reiko Nakamura, a bronze medalist in the same Olympic Games. Hirai’s outstanding abilities in coaching and management have garnered approval from across different sectors. Participating as a current student, he demonstrated his excellent coaching during the Beijing Olympic Games.