To engage in something seriously is to face yourself.
Takashi Kishibe, Firefighter
Born in 1988, Takashi Kishibe graduated from the School of Sport Sciences at Waseda University in 2011. That same year, he joined the Yokohama City Fire Bureau. Currently, he is stationed at the Nakata Branch of the Izumi Fire Station. As a member of the Special Rescue Team, specialists who possess outstanding stamina, skills, and knowledge and who have undergone rigorous training and testing, even among firefighters, Kishibe works on the front lines, searching for survivors during fires and engaging in rescue activities as at the scenes of car accidents.
Takashi Kishibe works as a member of the Special Rescue Team as part of the Yokohama City Fire Bureau. Standing on the “frontlines of life” at the scenes of fires, accidents, and natural disasters, while Kishibe is on the job, danger is always at his side. Looking to find what led Kishibe to this way of life and sense of mission, we arrived at his experiences in the Waseda University Handball Club.
Kishibe learned the importance of making good on one’s promise and seriousness during his time as club captain
Since junior high school, Kishibe has loved handball. Naturally, handball was also the clincher in his decision of which university to attend.
“In high school I had many opportunities to watch Waseda games, and the sense of unity between the members appearing in a game and those on the bench, as well as the overall atmosphere, was always amazing. As soon as I realized I wanted to play handball there, too, there was no hesitation in where I wanted to go,” says Kishibe.
Kishibe continued to pour himself into handball after entering Waseda, as well, and in his final year he became club captain. The role, however, was much more difficult than he had expected.
“Unlike the handball club stuff I did up through high school, at Waseda, everything is student-led and you have to take the initiative, up to and including everyday practice. Although we constantly discussed things, in the heat of practice, I’d get too fired up and start arguing, occasionally even get belligerent. At times like that, it was really difficult bringing everyone together to keep the team from falling apart.”
In the spring and fall league matches of that year, the team was not able to maintain coherence and failed to bring home victory. How to make such highly individualistic members aim for the same thing? While pondering this question, Kishibe came to realize two things as club captain. One, the importance of “making good on one’s promise” by turning words into actions. And two, the importance of seriousness and facing each club member with earnestness.
“By showing others I was serious, the person I was facing would also be serious with me. And in order to give force to my words, I began taking the initiative to work hard and improve my abilities. That last year taught me the importance of these things.”
Then Kishibe and the club participated in the All Japan University Handball Championship, the last regular competition of Kishibe’s university career. Now finally united as one, Waseda University placed an impressive third.
“At the very end, finally, everyone’s vector was oriented in the same direction. We beat the university that defeated us the previous year to take third, which made me very happy.”
Because the work is so dangerous, one must be prepared and be serious
Kishibe chose to become a firefighter after graduation. “I wanted to use my experience working hard to become the best at handball in Japan to save lives,” says Kishibe, stating that following through making good on one’s promise and seriousness are also essential in his current line of work.
“Firefighting and rescue are almost entirely done with teamwork, not individual plays. They also often demand snap judgements be made, and this requires you to be able to state your opinion clearly and to take responsibility for that opinion. Sometimes you they also have to enter a dangerous area, and to do that you have to be prepared and above all to be serious.”
What Kishibe would like to share with current students is also the importance of such seriousness.
“To me, Waseda University is the place that taught me the importance of engaging in things seriously. It doesn’t matter what; find something you can do seriously and work to achieve that goal. When you engage in something seriously, ultimately you will discover that the person you must face is yourself. And I believe you can really grow as a person as you discover your own weaknesses and character through that process. There are so many people at Waseda with that kind of passion. That’s why I encourage you to engage in something with all your might and without fear or shame.”