Waseda University
Latin: Universitas Waseda
Motto in English
Independence of Scholarship, Practical Application of Scholarship, Fostering of Good Citizens
TypePrivate; research university
Established21 October 1882; 141 years ago (21 October 1882)
FounderŌkuma Shigenobu
PresidentAiji Tanaka
Academic staff
2,218 full-time[1]
3,243 part-time[1]
Administrative staff
1,257 full-time[1]
119 part-time[1]
Athletics43 varsity teams
ColorsMaroon, white, and gold       [2][3]
Universitas 21
MascotWaseda Bear
Japanese name

Waseda University (早稲田大学), abbreviated as Waseda (早稲田) or Sōdai (早大), is a private research university in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Founded in 1882 as the Tōkyō Professional School by Ōkuma Shigenobu, the fifth Prime Minister of Japan, the school was formally renamed Waseda University in 1902.[4]

Waseda is organized into 36 departments: 13 undergraduate schools and 23 graduate schools. As of 2023, there are 38,776 undergraduate students and 8,490 graduate students. In addition to a central campus in Shinjuku (Waseda Campus and Nishiwaseda Campus), the university operates campuses in Chūō, Nishitōkyō, Tokorozawa, Honjō, and Kitakyūshū. Waseda also operates 21 research institutes at its main Shinjuku campus.[5]

The university is selected as one of the Top Type (Type A) universities under MEXT's Top Global University Project.[6] Waseda University has the highest entrance examination difficulty level among private universities in Japan.[7]

Its alumni include eight prime ministers of Japan;[8] three prime ministers of Korea;[9][10][11] a number of important figures of Japanese literature, including Haruki Murakami; founders of leading Japanese and Korean companies such as Samsung, Sony, Ito En, Lotte, POSCO; and many CEOs, including Japan's richest person, [12] Tadashi Yanai.[13]


Marquess Okuma Shigenobu (1838–1922), 5th Prime Minister of Japan and founder of the university in 1882

Waseda was founded as Tōkyō Professional School (東京専門学校, Tōkyō Senmon Gakkō) on 21 October 1882 by samurai scholar and Meiji-era politician and former prime minister Ōkuma Shigenobu. Before the name 'Waseda' was selected, it was known variously as Waseda Gakkō (早稲田学校) or Totsuka Gakkō (戸塚学校) after the location of the founder's villa in Waseda Village and the school's location in Totsuka Village, respectively. It was renamed Waseda University (早稲田大学, Waseda-daigaku) on 2 September 1902, upon acquiring university status. It started as a college with three departments under the old Japanese system of higher education.

In 1882, the university had the department of political science and economics, law, and physical science. Along with these departments, an English language course was established, where the students of all the departments could learn English.[14] Three years later, the department of physical science was closed because it had too few applicants.[15]

The department of literature was established in 1890,[16] the department of education in 1903, the department of commerce in 1904,[17] and the department of science and engineering in 1908.[18]

Although Waseda formally adopted the term university in its title in 1902[4] it was not until 1920 that, along with other Japanese schools and colleges, it received formal government recognition as a university under the terms of the University Establishment Ordinance.[19] Thus Waseda became, with Keio University, the first private university in Japan.

Waseda University students in 1916

Much of the campus was destroyed in the fire bombings of Tokyo during World War II, but the university was rebuilt and reopened by 1949. It has grown to become a comprehensive university with two senior high schools and school of art and architecture.[citation needed]

On 12 June 1950, sixty police raided Waseda University and seized copies of a Communist-inspired open letter to General MacArthur. The open letter to MacArthur was once read at a Communist-sponsored rally a week earlier. The letter demanded a peace treaty for Japan that would include Russia and Communist China, withdrawal of occupation forces, and the release of eight Japanese sent to prison for assaulting five U.S. soldiers at a Communist rally. A police official said most Waseda meetings would be banned in the future because "political elements" might try to utilize them. Yuichi Eshima, Vice-chairman of the Students Autonomy Society, said the police action "stupefied" students and professors, and that "This is worse than the prewar peace preservation measures."[20]

In 1993, President of the United States Bill Clinton visited Waseda University and mentioned that the university is a center of academic excellence and a training ground for Japan's distinguished leaders.[21]

Academic cap

Ōkuma had long desired to create an academic cap so distinctive that someone wearing the cap would immediately be identified as a Waseda student.[22] The chief tailor of Takashimaya, Yashichiro, was called upon to design a cap in three days. Each square cap was stamped on the inside with the student's name, his department, the school seal and the legend, "This certifies that the owner is a student of Waseda". Thus, the cap served as a form of identification, and effectively a status symbol. The cap, with its gold-braided badge, is registered as a trademark.


Waseda University

On 21 October 2007, Waseda University celebrated its 125th anniversary. Ōkuma often talked about the "125 years of life" theory: "The lifespan of a human being can be as long as 125 years. He will be able to live out his natural lifespan as long as he takes proper care of his health", because "physiologists say that every animal has the ability to live five times as long as its growth period. Since a man is said to require about 25 years to become fully mature, it follows that he can live up to 125 years of age." This theory propounded by Ōkuma was very popular and often referred to in the media of the time.

In commemorative events relating to Waseda University and Ōkuma, the number 125 is accorded special significance, as it marks an important epoch. The tower of Ōkuma Auditorium, completed on the university's 45th anniversary, is 125 shaku, or about 38 m high. In 1963, there were also events to mark the 125th anniversary of Ōkuma Shigenobu's birth.

Ōkuma, who twice served as prime minister of Japan, organized his second cabinet when he was 77 and died when he was 83. He said, "I wish I had understood this '125 years of life' theory 30 years earlier". He did, however, lead a regular life, and lived fairly long compared to other Japanese at the time.


Waseda University's main campus is located in the Nishi-Waseda district of Shinjuku. The nearest station is Waseda, although Waseda is generally associated with Takadanobaba on the Yamanote Line.

Apart from the main campus in Shinjuku, there are other campuses around the country:


Undergraduate programs

Graduate programs

Research institutes


Ōkuma Auditorium

Main article: Ōkuma Auditorium

Ōkuma Auditorium, a contemporary building by architect Satō Kōichi
Ōkuma Auditorium, Waseda University campus

The Ōkuma Auditorium is three-story main auditorium that seats 1,435, while the secondary auditorium, located underground, can accommodate 382 people. A seven-story high clock tower stands to the left of the auditorium. Important events and lectures hosted by Waseda University are often held in the Ōkuma Auditorium. Club-sponsored plays, lectures and events are held in the auditorium on days when it is not in use by the university. Many of Waseda University's undergraduate and graduate schools hold their entrance and graduation ceremonies at the Okuma Auditorium.

The auditorium opened on 20 October 1927, about five years behind schedule, after the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake. A Memorial Hall, constructed in 1957, was used as the fencing venue for the 1964 Summer Olympics.[23]

In April 1999, the auditorium along with the old library building were officially designated the first and second historical buildings under the newly passed Tokyo Metropolitan Landscape Regulations, which aim to preserve buildings representative of Tokyo's history and culture. The auditorium was designated as one of the Important Cultural Properties of Japan by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in 2007.[24]

Ōkuma Garden

Ōkuma Garden

Ōkuma Garden is located near Ōkuma Auditorium. It is a half-Japanese, half-Western garden of Edo period feudal lord Matsudaira Sanuki's former mansion, redesigned by Shigenobu Ōkuma. After his death, the garden was donated to Waseda University. Now it is a recreation place for students.

Libraries and museums

The Waseda University Library is collectively one of Japan's largest libraries and currently hold some 4.5 million volumes and 46,000 serials. The Waseda University Library, designed by Tachu Naitō, Kenji Imai and Kin'ichi Kiriyama, was completed in 1925. This five-story building, with a total area of 1,195-tsubo (3,950 m2) (), was used initially as the University Library. The reading room was housed in a separate two-story building, with a seating capacity of 500. One of the prominent libraries established at the end of the Taishō period, it has been a symbol of Waseda University to this day, along with the Okuma Auditorium and the Theatre Museum. The Old Library and the administration building were expanded in 1934 and 1955, respectively. After the New Central Library, the Old Library stopped serving as a main library, located where the Abe Stadium used to be, was completed in 1990. It now houses Takata Sanae Memorial Research Library, the University Archives, and Aizu Yaichi Museum. Takata Sanae Memorial Research Library opened in 1994. It is named after former university president Takata Sanae. Historical and cultural materials on Waseda University are exhibited in the University Archives, and the materials related with Ōkuma Shigenobu are exhibited in the Ōkuma Memorial Room at the Archives. Aizu Yaichi Memorial Museum opened in 1998.[26]

In the front hall, visitors are greeted by the masterpiece "Meian", which dates back to 1927. It is painted on the world's largest hand-made washi (Japanese paper), which is 4.45 meters in diameter and weighs about 12 kilograms. It was manufactured by Iwano Heisaburō, the founder of the Echizen paper works in Imadachi-cho, Fukui prefecture. The masterpiece was painted free of charge by Yokoyama Taikan and Shimomura Kanzan, two artists who represented the modern Japanese style of painting. President Takata Sanae asked them to paint a picture for the Library. The library possesses a unique collection which survived the Bombing of Tokyo in World War II unlike many of its counterparts. The collection is an important resource for the study of pre-war Japanese history and literature.

Other museums and libraries on Waseda campuses include:


American football

Main article: Waseda Big Bears football


The Waseda University Cheerleading Club is the cheerleading club of Waseda University.


Two Waseda University baseball players from 1921

Waseda's baseball team is known for their long history of success in Tokyo Big6 Baseball League. As of the end of the 2012 season, Waseda had won 43 championships along with the highest winning percentage.

They are also known for their rivalry with Keiō University, highlighted by the Sōkeisen series. The series is held twice a year in the spring and autumn at Meiji-Jingu Stadium, considered one of the most important matches of the year for students from both schools.


Waseda University football team won the Emperor's Cup, in 1964 and 1967.

Rugby union

See also: All-Japan University Rugby Championship

Waseda University Rugby Football Club has reached the final of the All-Japan University Rugby Championship 31 times, and winning fifteen times, most recently in 2008. Its two traditional rivals are Keio University and Meiji University.


The Waseda University karate club is one of the oldest in Japan, formed in 1931 under the direction of Gichin Funakoshi.[27][28] Graduates of the karate club include Shigeru Egami, leader of the Shotokai school, Kazumi Tabata, founder of the North American Karate-do Federation and Tsutomu Ohshima, founder of Shotokan Karate of America, and Sadaharu Honda, founder fo Mumon Karate.


Waseda's fencing club was established in 1946. In recent years it has achieved impressive intercollegiate and national results. In 2021, Waseda won the men's Épée team division. In 2022, Waseda further strengthened their achievements, claiming victory in all weapon types (Foil, Sabre, Épée) for both men and women's division.[29]


In 2016, the first university bandy team in Japan was founded.[30] With no field of regular size, they play rink bandy.


University rankings
THE National[31] General 14
WE [ja] National[32] Employment 11
NBP Greater Tokyo[33][34] Reputation 1
Shimano National[35] Selectivity SA
QS Asia
(Asia version)[36]
General 43
THE Asia
(Asia version)[37]
General 201–250
THE World[38] General 801–1000
QS World[39] General 181=
ARWU World[40] Research 701–800
ENSMP World[41] Alumni 8


The university ranked 2nd in 2015–2016 in Toyo Keizai's Truly Strong Universities (本当に強い大学) ranking.[42] In another ranking, Japanese prep school Kawaijuku ranked Waseda as the 13th best university in Japan.[43]

In 2023, Waseda University ranked 199th overall, 118th in academic reputation, and 24th in employer reputation in the QS World University Rankings.[44]

By subject, Waseda University ranked 25th in Classics and Ancient History, 42nd in Modern Languages, 70th in Law and Legal Studies, 54th in Arts and Humanities, 50th in Politics, 77th in Social Science and Management, 40th in Sports Sciences, 51-100th in Business and Management, 128th in Economics and Econometrics, 101-150th in Engineering, 101-150th in Computer Science, and 115th in Mathematics in the QS World University Rankings by Subject.[45]

Research performance

Generally speaking, national universities in Japan have better research standards; however, Waseda is one of the few private universities which compete with top national universities. According to Weekly Diamond, Waseda has the 12th highest research standard in Japan in terms of research fundings per researchers in COE Program, and it is one of only two private universities within the top 15.[46]

On 16 February 2004, Nikkei Shimbun ran a survey about research standards in engineering studies based on Thomson Reuters, Grants in Aid for Scientific Research and questionnaires to heads of 93 leading Japanese Research Centers. Waseda ranked 5th overall, 7th in research planning, and 1st in business-academia collaboration.[47] Waseda was the only private university ranked in the top 5.

Asahi Shimbun summarized the number of academic papers in Japanese major legal journals by university, and Waseda was ranked 3rd during 2005–2009.[48]


According to the Asia Top MBA Business Schools Ranking by Asiaweek, Waseda Business School is ranked 2nd in Japan.[49] Eduniversal also ranked Japanese business schools and Waseda is 2nd in Japan (93rd in the world).[50] In this ranking, Waseda is one of only 3 Japanese business schools categorized in "Universal Business schools with major international influence". Waseda University is one of the few universities in Japan to receive accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) of the United States of America.[51][52]

Waseda Law School is considered one of the top Japanese law schools, as Waseda's successful candidates for bar examination was 5th in 2009 and 2010 in Japan.[53]


According to the Weekly Diamond on 18 February 2006, Waseda got the highest score from the directors of human resource departments in Greater Tokyo in its Useful University Rankings (役に立つ大学ランキング).[54] Waseda was ranked 1st in Social Science and 2nd in Natural Science and Engineering among all Japanese universities.[55] According to the Weekly Economist's 2010 rankings and the PRESIDENT's article on 16 October 2006, graduates from Waseda have the 11th best employment rate in 400 major companies, and the alumni average salary is the 7th best in Japan.[56][57]

Mines ParisTech: Professional Ranking World Universities ranked Waseda University as 4th in the world in 2010 (8th in 2011) in terms of the number of alumni listed among CEOs in the 500 largest worldwide companies.[41] The university is also ranked 2nd in Japan for the number of alumni holding the position of executive in the listed companies of Japan.[58]

The number of lawyers who graduated Waseda has been ranked 3rd in Japan since 1949.[59] Furthermore, Waseda alumni have been the 2nd largest group in the Japanese Parliament.[60][61]


Waseda is one of the most selective and sought after universities in Japan. The number of applicants per place was 20.5 (115515/5630) in the 2011 undergraduate admissions.[62] This number of applicants was 2nd largest in Japan.[63] its entrance difficulty is usually considered top with Keio among 730 private universities.[64][65][66]

Nikkei BP has been publishing a ranking system called the "Brand rankings of Japanese universities" every year, composed of various indicators relating to the power of brand, with Waseda achieving top place in 2010 and 3rd place in 2009 in the Greater Tokyo Area.[33] As of 2020, Waseda University is securely ranked in 2nd place, directly behind the University of Tokyo.[67]


According to 2006 Survey[68] by Weekly Diamond 〈ja〉 on the ranking of the universities which produced the high ratio of the graduates who hold the position of "president and chief executive officer of listed company" to all the graduates of each university, Waseda is ranked 10th[68] out of all the 744[69] Japanese universities which existed as of 2006.

According to 2010 Survey[70] by Weekly Economist 〈ja〉 on the ranking of universities according to the ratio of the number of the officers & managers produced by each university to the number of graduates, Waseda is ranked 35th[70]out of all the 778[71] Japanese universities which existed as of 2010.

According to 2020 Nikkei Survey[72] to all listed (3,714[73]) and leading unlisted (1,100), totally 4,814 companies,[72] Waseda is ranked 12th[74] out of 781[75] Japanese universities as of 2020.

International relations

Its alumni include influential Chinese government figures such as Zhou Enlai and Li Dazhao.[76][77] Kim Seong-su,[78][79] former Vice President of South Korea, established Korea University, one of the Korean peninsula's leading institutions. This connection led to a professional academic collaboration between Waseda and Korea University starting in 1973, culminating in a dual degree program at the bachelor's and master's levels.[80][81]

In 1982, Waseda University initiated an academic exchange agreement with Peking University. Since 2005, this partnership has offered double degree programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral (Ph.D.) levels, illustrating the university's dedication to international academic collaboration.[82][83][84]


Main article: List of Waseda University people


There are currently more than 600,000 alumni members.[85] According to Japanese media, there are over 3,100 famous individuals known nationwide in Japan who are alumni of Waseda University. Among the notable alumni of Waseda University have become leading politicians, businessmen, writers, architects, athletes, actors, musicians, scientists, and those that have gained both national and international fame. To develop alumni connections, the Waseda network consists of over 50 alumni groups, or "Tomonkai," on six continents. Among notable alumni are Masaru Ibuka, co-founder of Sony; Shuntaro Furukawa, president of Nintendo;[86] world-renowned novelist Haruki Murakami; Prime Ministers of Japan Tanzan Ishibashi, Noboru Takeshita, Toshiki Kaifu, Keizō Obuchi, Yoshirō Mori, Yasuo Fukuda, Yoshihiko Noda and Fumio Kishida; pioneering video artist and experimental filmmaker Kohei Ando; As mentioned above, notable global alumni of Waseda University include Lee Byung-chul and Lee Kun-hee, Chairmen of Samsung; Kim Seong-su, former Vice President of South Korea and founder of Korea University; Shin Kyuk-ho, founder of Lotte Group and builder of one of the world's top five skyscrapers, Lotte World Tower. Kim Young-sam, former President of South Korea who also served as an honorary doctorate and professor; and Park Tae-joon, former Chairman of POSCO and Prime Minister of South Korea.[87]

Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu, Zhou Enlai co-founder of the Chinese Communist Party; Palme d'Or winning director Shohei Imamura; Tadashi Yanai, founder and CEO of Fast Retailing and the richest man in Japan; Chiune Sugihara, Japanese diplomat who rescued 5,558 Jews during the Holocaust; Shizuka Arakawa, 2006 Olympic Champion figure skater; famed tanka poet Hakushū Kitahara; Doppo Kunikida, Meiji-era novelist and poet noted as one of the inventors of Japanese naturalism; former mayor of Osaka city Tōru Hashimoto; accomplished Major League Baseball player Nori Aoki; and 2014, 2018 two-time Olympic Champion figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu.[88]


Professors who are also Waseda alumni are listed in italics.


Principals, de facto presidents from 1907 to 1923

De facto presidents (1907–1923)




Waseda University has had numerous benefactors, including:

See also


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  97. ^ Masaru Ibuka Auditorium (Hall) is in the International Conference Center.


Further reading

35°42′33″N 139°43′10″E / 35.709203°N 139.719333°E / 35.709203; 139.719333