Through Waseda Sports, deepen the bond between Waseda Students.
IRHAM, Mohammad (The ICC student staff)
First year student at the Graduate School of Law
On April 22, the ICC (Intercultural Communication Center) held an event called “ICC x Waseda Sumo Club Collaboration Event. Let’s Watch Waseda Cup and Eat Chanko Nabe!”to promote networking between international students and Japanese students. I was in charge for the event.
The Waseda Cup is an annual Sumo tournament organized from 2011 by the Sumo Club of Waseda University to promote sumo to Waseda students. The wrestlers in the tournament were neither professional wrestlers nor members of the Sumo Club, but Waseda students who overwhelmingly wanted to experience the thrill of Sumo. Being a student tournament, it certainly has its own charm. At the day of the tournament, more than what I have imagined, all of the wrestlers competed passionately and showed the audience plenty of actions. For someone who came from Indonesia, it was an amazing experience!
It was a warm and clear Sunday. The ICC staff and the participants gathered at the Higashi-Fushimi Station at around 9AM. Then, we moved to the tournament location, made some greetings to the Sumo club who were already very busy dealing with the details of the tournament, and sat in the audience area around the ring. After that, the ICC student staffs, including myself, gave a brief “sumo lecture” about the professional sumo, Waseda’s sumo, and Waseda Cup in both English and Japanese to the participants. The lecture was made to give the participants, who mainly were international students, an idea of what is going on, the rules of sumo, etc. It was our hope that by knowing about the background of the tournament and Sumo, the participants could enjoy the tournament even more. After the lecture, the participants were able to see the practice of the wrestlers. It was cool to see them practicing.
（Right）We sang Waseda University’s Alma Mater.
10AM, at the same time when the wrestlers made their final preparations, our senior and special contributor of alumni organization of the Waseda Sumo Club (Tokakukai), Demon Kakka and Mr. Mitsuru Yaku entered the building and made their greetings. After that, “the 8th Waseda Cup” began. The participants, especially the international students, cannot help but to be impressed with Demon Kakka’s appearance. After some speeches from the guests, the wrestlers took vows, and everyone, including the audience stood up and sang Waseda University’s Alma Mater. I think singing the Alma Mater, pumping our fists to the song, were precious experience for us international students.
Then the tournament began. As expected the wrestlers pushed, pulled, and threw each other to win. As the tournament became more intense, all of the international students started to look uncomfortable halfway through the tournament. Did they forget their breakfast? Did they want to go to the bathroom? No, their feet became numb from “seiza” sitting. It makes sense. Many of them are not used to sitting on the floor. Maybe for some of them that was their first time sitting on a “Dohyo”. It is amazing that even from this one aspect of the event, we can see cultural diversity. The participants became so immersed in cheering on the wrestlers that they soon forgot about their own numbing legs and backs, continuing to cheer until the champion emerged from among them. At the end, the pains and fatigue seemed to have been washed away by the Chanko Nabe prepared by the Sumo Club. It looked simple, but tasted amazing. The Sumo Club prepared so much Chanko Nabe that the participants did not have to worry about whether they could have another serving, but rather whether they should go for small, medium or large portions for their second, third, fourth or fifth servings. The Chanko Nabe surely helped the participants to interact with each other, with the wrestlers and with the members of the Sumo Club. I personally think it was a well-spent Sunday.
（Left）Managers made Chanko with a big pot.
（Right）International students became smile with Chanko.
Looking back at the event now, I realized how important the event truly was. Certainly, it is important to introduce a traditional Japanese culture or sport to Waseda Students, introduce the Sumo Club to Waseda Students, and to help students interact with each other regardless of their cultural backgrounds. But, more importantly, this event enabled us to make connection with many Waseda University’s sports clubs. Hopefully, the bond between Waseda students with various backgrounds, especially between international students and the sports clubs, can become closer in the future.
The Sumo Club, through Director, Mr. Murofushi, and Manager, Ms. Oda, have been very helpful throughout the process even if they themselves were very busy organizing the Waseda Cup. Again, we would like to say thank you very much for the opportunity and we are looking forward to work with the Sumo Club again in the future. Maybe a Sumo experience event for international students?
（Photo by ISHIGAKI, Seiji）