On November 5, 1903, the Waseda Baseball Club sent a challenge letter to the Keio University baseball team, its forerunner. It is believed that this challenge was originally proposed by Shin Hashido, the second captain of the Waseda baseball club.
Thus, the first ever Waseda-Keio Game took place on the Keio’s athletic grounds in Mitatsunamachi, on November 21 at one thirty in the afternoon. The game ended with an 11 to 9 victory for Keio, but Waseda played well nevertheless. This is how the tradition of the “So-Kei” (short for Waseda and Keio) games started. Following this tradition, various So-Kei matches unfolded in sports and other fields.
In 1905, the Waseda baseball team travelled to the United States to learn the latest skills in the sport’s country of origin. Upon their return, the team played in the scheduled So-Kei game again. In 1906, however, the supporter groups on both sides became over-enthusiastic to the extreme, so much so that President Kamada of Keio University paid a visit to Count S. Okuma and Mr. Abe, the Waseda baseball club general manager, to discuss and call off the So-Kei game altogether in order to avoid clashes between the supporter groups.
Subsequently, Waseda played against the teams of other universities, such as Meiji, Hosei, and Rikkyo, but never again with Keio. Later, the Imperial University (the present-day University of Tokyo) joined the league and formed what is today known as the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League.
Nineteen years later, the So-Kei games were revived on October 19, 1925. The game took place at the Waseda University Totsuka Baseball Grounds. Then-captain Abe stood on second base on the Totsuka grounds, and declared the return of the So-Kei games. He addressed the spectators, saying that supporters on both sides were to display exemplary behavior, which was greeted with applause. The game that followed was also excellent. The game ended with an 11 to 0 victory for Waseda. The team continued to win the league that followed, and went on to champion the 1925 Autumn League.
Today, 37 out of 44 clubs enjoy a rivalry with their Keio University counterparts, engaging in their So-Kei games. These clubs include tennis, rowing, kendo, rugby football, soccer, basketball, and more.
The Waseda University Athletic Center and Keio University Athletics Association websites are mutually linked via the “So-Kei games banner” below. On the Athletic Association’s website, the page dedicated to So-Kei games is adorned with the original letter of challenge to Keio University for the Waseda-Keio match*, written by Waseda’s second captain, Shin Hashido.
*Archived at the Fukuzawa Memorial Center for Modern Japanese Studies, Keio University.
The Keio and Waseda University baseball clubs (Baseball club general manager Isoo Abe, captain Shin Hashido, and club members from both Waseda and Keio Universities) 1904.
Photo taken at Totsuka Baseball Grounds. Spectators can be seen in the background.
Memorial photograph to celebrate the first US trip (General Manager Abe and Waseda baseball club members. The party took three WU flags with them.) 1905.
Have you heard of “the Last So-Kei Game”? It refers to the baseball game between Waseda and Keio that took place on October 16, 1943 at Waseda University’s Totsuka Baseball Grounds. Click here to find out more.
Have you heard of “the Last Waseda-Keio Game”? It refers to the baseball game between Waseda and Keio that took place on October 16, 1943 at Waseda University’s Totsuka Baseball Grounds. Click here to find out more.