A visit to the Waseda Sports MuseumTue, Jan 7, 2020
Waseda University invests much in sports, which is evident in the accomplishments by its sports teams and professional athletes, including Olympians and Paralympians. Behind the successes is a community of those who are passionate about and committed to sports, as well as supporters who enrich the university’s athletic spirit. To learn more about sports and athletics at Waseda, the Waseda Sports Museum is a must-see.
The sports museum was opened in March 2019. It is situated on the third floor of the Waseda Arena on Toyama Campus, located in front of the Waseda Sports Center. The exhibit consists of one room and a hallway covered in the school colors—maroon and white. The displays reveal Waseda’s athletic history through previous athletic wear (gears), images and interviews to demonstrate the importance of sports at the university. The museum commemorates the achievements of the university’s scholar-athletes and the people involved in its sports community.
The first athletics at Waseda belonged to a baseball team that dates back to 1901. The team was led by Professor Isoo Abe with support from the university’s founder, Shigenobu Okuma. As described in the museum, both Abe and Okuma valued the balance of academics and sports. Today, the university has 44 official sports clubs and supports approximately 2,500 scholar-athletes. It has also produced many Olympians and Paralympians over the last century, such as figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu and swimmer Daiya Seto.
The museum is all-encompassing. It is divided into sections, in which each reveals a dimension of Waseda athletics. One of them “A Selection of Sports Club” section—introduces some of the major sports that Waseda has competed in. Each sport come with a brief introduction and are accompanied with valuables, such as uniforms, gears, and pictures that are available only at the museum. The selection of sports on display changes regularly. Currently, rugby, table tennis, and rowing are being exhibited.
Behind the athletic achievements is a strong support system for scholar-athletes. Since 2014, the Waseda Athletic Program (WAP) has provided academic and athletic assistance. WAP brings together academic advisors and athletic clubs to help scholar-athletes maintain their grades. The program also prepares them for their futures through career events, community service, and international exchange. Waseda University also has a medical sports clinic. Five departments — including the mental health and nutrition departments—are established to mentor the scholar-athletes’ health and well-being. These resources are valuable because they bring out the best of the scholar-athletes’ academic and athletic potentials.
The museum reflects the importance of athletics at Waseda University. It demonstrates the university’s dedication to nurturing scholar-athletes and fostering an environment in which they can thrive. Whether a student at Waseda or tourist, the exhibit is worth a visit. The museum allows us to immerse in the history, spirit, and community of the university’s athletics.
*This article was written and contributed by the following student.
Emu Yoshimura (1st Year Student)
School of International Liberal Studies