「反骨」立校、「在野」風範——早稻田大學

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1992 / 3月

文‧李光真 圖‧黃麗梨


日本四大名校之一——早稻田大學——的名稱,不僅源於當時校舍所在是一片稻田,同時也象徵著來自鄉土、植根民間。只是百年後的今天,隨著都市發展,早稻田已被東京鬧區環伺圍繞。由於強調草根的傳統精神已日漸淡薄,早稻田大學正努力走出自己的新路。


秋末冬初,寒風料峭,位於東京的早稻田大學卻處在狂熱亢奮的高潮中。十一月初,一年一度的校慶活動——「早稻田祭」開鑼。短短三、四天內,早大校園湧入了十多萬人潮,擠得水洩不通。為了「以價制量」,不管是在校生還是校外人士,進入校園一律收費四百日圓(合台幣八十元)。除了園遊會及各種「官式」活動外,早大的近千個學生社團,此時也使出渾身解數,展現精心籌劃了一年的成果——雷射音樂會、交響樂演奏、能劇、話劇、劍道、攝影等等,為早稻田祭掀起一波波的高潮。

緊接著十二月初,已有六十八年歷史的早明戰(早稻田和明治大學的橄欖球賽)開打,這和每年六月舉行的早慶戰(早稻田和慶應大學的棒球賽),同是象徵日本大學傳統的校際交誼精神。在售票前一天,哪怕寒風刺骨、大雪紛飛,也擋不住熱情的學生攜帳篷、帶泡麵,漏夜排隊等候。一張一千日圓的學生票,到了賽前,往往已轉手上了萬圓。比賽當天,六萬多名觀眾把球場擠得水洩不通;而早明戰的歷史回顧、球員介紹等專書,在校內書局更隨處可見。

在野叛逆、性格鮮明

這一次冬季,早大的亢奮又較以往更見激烈、也持續更久。由於有軍國主義復蘇嫌疑而在日本引起軒然大波的「聯合國維持和平活動法案」(日本自衛隊海外派兵法案),在早大也成為幾個學生社團激烈抗爭的目標。走進校園,手持麥克風的學生正大聲呼籲同學們挺身而出,表達意見;「反對國際新秩序」的標語大幅張貼,成為此次早稻田祭的主題之一;離正門不遠處,參與接力絕食抗議的學生則靜靜地躺在冷硬的帳篷內。

去年十月底,日本眾議院強行表決了該法案,早大學生第一回合的抗議並未奏效,但絕食仍將持續,而早大學生的「壯舉」也透過媒體,傳送到世界各地。這不僅是為抗爭「惡法」、也是早大傳統精神的再度顯現。

談到「傳統精神」,所有早大人都能明確而驕傲地點出重點:「在野精神」、「反骨精神」、「叛逆精神」、及「草根精神」。的確,單此一點,就能凸顯早大在日本四大名校中獨樹一格的風骨——東京和京都大學是公立「官校」,嚴謹保守;和早大同為私立大學的慶應,則是紈褲驕矜、不知民間疾苦的貴族學校。相較之下,惟有傳統上標榜「來自全日本的鄉下窮孩子」念的早稻田,才能撫著民間的脈動,傳達民間的心聲。

畢業於早大、目前擔任政經學部教授及外國留學生會會長的伊東克己,回憶起四十六年前初進早大的情形不覺莞薾:「那時的早大,多的是穿著破爛、舉止土氣的鄉下孩子。還記得當時我們早大同學流行抽Golden Bat牌香煙,一包不過七錢;這種煙拿到慶應可就要被大大嘲笑一番——他們抽的可是一包十八錢的高級Cherry煙呢!」

儘管當年伊東教授的高中同學多人上了慶應,但伊東並不羨慕。對當時的許多年輕人來說,別的學校不肯去、卻立志上早大,正是因為嚮往那種「草根」、「在野」性格,這也是年輕人反抗社會僵化價值、凸顯自己個性的一種表徵。

追美趕歐、師法英國

早大的傳統精神,和早大創校人——大隈重信——有著密不可分的關係。

有「近代日本設計者」尊號的大隈重信,出身於偏遠九州的佐賀藩,從年輕時代就特立獨行,曾因鼓動同學反抗老式的宋明儒學教育而被學校開除。一心仰慕歐美民主法治的他,不久便在長崎開辦英語學校,也因此以英語及外交長才進入政府機構服務。一八七○年,大隈重信升任明治天皇手下的大藏大臣,以他的世界觀及師法歐美的雄心,為日本日後的經濟現代化及資本主義奠定良好基礎,這段時間,日本歷史上稱為「大隈財政」。

一八八一年,正在權力顛峰的大隈重信,卻因力主盡速在日本成立英國式的議會政治而被罷黜下台。第二年,大隈重信成立了立憲改進黨、並創設東京專門學校(即早大前身)。因為大隈重信的抗爭性格相當鮮明,東京專門學校也一度被視為「反叛者養成所」,並且遭到許多來自政府的監視及壓力。現在所謂的早稻田傳統精神——在野、抗爭——就是奠基於此。

由於大隈重信對歐美先進制度的憧憬,東京專門學校也標榜為日本第一所「英式教育」學府,追求學問的獨立與校園民主,並強調「東西文明的調和」。初創校時只有四個系——政治、法律、物理及英文;四年後物理系取消,反倒增設英國政治系及英國法律系,更可以窺見大隈重信心儀歐美的程度。

「早稻田的學術研究還有一個特色,就是重實用」,伊東教授點出另一個同樣因「追美趕歐、富國強兵」信念而奠基的早大特色:「例如早稻田的商學部,首屈一指的是會計學;理工學部以建築科最著稱;社會科學中則是應用心理學最有成果……」。

草根精神今何在?

早大憑藉大隈重信的個人魅力,甫創立就與眾不同,備受矚目。而大隈本人雖遭冷凍,但既是才幹卓著,亟思勵精圖治的明治天皇終究又重用他。一八九六年,大隈復出,擔任日本外相;一八九八年(明治卅一年),大隈組成日本歷史上第一個政黨內閣,但歷時極短;一九一四年(大正三年),又組成第二次大隈內閣。時值第一次世界大戰爆發,代表日本向德國宣戰的正是大隈重信。

大隈重信個人的政治生涯雖又再起,但並無損於「在野精神」及「抗爭精神」在早大校園的延續傳承。最著名的是一九六○年間,代表日美協防的「日米(美)安保條約」締約,日本眾議院強行表決通過,引起各方聲討不斷,早大的三百廿八位教員還在當時的總長(校長)大濱信泉率領下,共同發表聲明,要求內閣總辭、國會解散。

時隔卅年,「日米安保條約抗爭」和此次的「聯合國維持和平活動法案抗爭」有著多項雷同之處;但相較之下,許多早大老校友都不禁發出喟嘆:「早大的反骨精神是式微了!」當年是師生同心、全校沸騰,而今少數絕食的學生待在淒冷的帳篷堙A往來穿梭的同學多半視而不見,甚或投以冷漠及「這又能改變什麼?!」的嘲諷眼光。

「別看擴音器放得那麼響,每次遊行,從來沒有超過五十個人!」說這話的美國留學生詹姆士曾在韓國讀過四年書,目前是政經學部學生。由於沒有早大人的歷史包袱,他以旁觀者清的眼光評論道。

「稻門會」稱霸議壇

「在野精神」的式微,或許還是和學生成份的改變有關。

「早大四十多年來最大的改變,就是學生的經濟條件變好了」,伊東教授指出。如今的早大,學費一年要五十萬日圓、理工科更高達七、八十萬,和貴族化的慶應大學差不多,一般中下階層的子弟根本念不起。

因此「草根性」、「來自全日本鄉下窮孩子念的學校」儘管還是眾人朗朗上口的早大精神,但事實上,以一九九一年度為例,每三個早大學生中就有兩個出身東京周遭的「關東區」。在都市疏離氣氛下成長的中產階級子弟,又能期望他們有什麼抗爭精神呢?

話說回來,大隈重信以一介政治家創立早大,使得早大在百年後的今天,仍以法律及政經最負盛名。相較於東京大學多出政府官員、慶應大學多出大企業老闆,早大則稱霸議會。目前政壇上,超過半數的國會議員出身早大,包括竹下登及海部俊樹在內,早大也出過四位首相;「稻門會」彼此援引,勢力龐大。

此外,早大校友在傳播媒體界也已形成獨霸局面。朝日新聞、每日新聞、讀賣新聞及國營電視台NHK中,早大人都身居要津。對早大來說,媒體是行政、立法、司法以外的「第四權」,也算監控政府的在野勢力。近年來,日本媒體關於環境問題、司法問題、少數民族問題等的討論,多是出自早大校友之手,是早大在野精神的另一種體現。

金字招牌、屢獲殊榮

早稻田另一個至今不墜的招牌是文學。早大文學之盛,可以從日本文學兩項大賞——直木賞與芥川賞——看出。在總數一百多回的芥川賞中,早大出了廿二位得主、直木賞則是一百多回中佔了廿三位,兩項紀錄都是別校難以企及的。

早大文學盛、戲劇更盛。校園內為紀念日本戲劇大師坪內逍遙博士,以英國伊利莎白式建築獨樹一格的「演劇博物館」,是全日本大學中首屈一指的。坪內逍遙曾以日文翻譯全套莎士比亞作品,並大力引介歐洲劇作家如易卜生、高爾基等人的作品在日本演出。這些廿世紀初期的劇作,都有濃厚的突破社會禁忌、打破封建藩籬的寓意,引入當時還甚為保守的日本,自然是震撼人心、蔚為風潮。

坪內逍遙在早大任教多年,影響所及,目前早大還有廿多個學生劇團,戲劇風氣極盛。每到黃昏,在學校正門對面的大隈講堂前,常可看到有人或是振臂演講、或是手舞足蹈,原來是在做劇團演員的「功課」呢。

法政與文學之外,理工學部的建築也算是早大的明星科系之一。樓高十八層,落成於一九六七年的理工大樓,在當年是超過日本建築法規定的超高建築,卻因是由早大建築系校友設計施工,而獲得特准,成為當時的「日本第一高」。一九二三年的關東大地震及隨後引發的大火,曾是早大早期的慘重浩劫,但現在,早大人都會自負地說:「目前早大校園內的建築都是『自己人』蓋的,絕對沒問題!」

在早大理工學部,最新的資訊設備隨處可見。校舍雖陳舊,但走廊上懸掛著數個電腦終端機,這個星期哪位老師休講、哪堂課要改地點……,都可從螢幕上一目了然。此外,學生們想知道有無就業機會或是宿舍出租等,也都可以自己按鍵查詢。注重資訊流通是日本工業快速進展的秘訣之一,在早稻田,這種訓練已成為學生生活的一部分。

新典範——人間科學部

由於缺了醫學、藝術等學門,目前只有文、法、政經、商學、理工、教育、社會科學及人間科學等學部的早大,還不算是全科大學。近年來,早大鑒於入不敷出,每年都有幾十億日圓的鉅額赤字,因此正在絞盡腦汁,另尋財路。早大本有意要買下日本大學的醫學部(因醫學院學費高昂,是能「賺錢」的學院之一),據聞已被婉拒。也有人建議早大將目前位於東京鬧區、已經擁擠不堪、難以擴展的校園賣掉,另在郊區重起爐灶。目前早大雖還不知何去何從,但已提供校園旁邊的一塊土地,和一家大企業合蓋高級大飯店,年租相當可觀,可以略略彌補虧損。

雖然財政並不寬裕,但早大最近的大手筆——位於郊區所澤(地名),離校本部約一個小時車程的人間科學部——卻極富雄心,被早大自詡為「迎接廿一世紀」的校園新典範。

一九八七年才設立,算是早大百周年慶的展示項目之一的人間科學部,目前有三個學科——人間基礎科學,人間健康科學、及體育科學。乍看之下,這些名稱和傳統科系出入頗大,而它的內容也的確打破傳統系別的界定,統合了生態、環境保健、社會人類、心理、醫學、以及文化、考古等等。它不再以某種學問為研究重心,而是真正把「人」當做研究主題,做全角度、整體性的探討,這也是早大企圖走出自己的路的一種嘗試。

新的學術理念之外,人間科學部的校園建築也結合了最新的科技和藝術:依山勢蜿蜒而上的建築,寬敞雅致。可容納數百人的大教室中,總有五、六個和講桌連線的電視螢幕。全套的視聽教學設備、一百多台開放式電腦,還有宛如觀光飯店般的舒適大廳可供學生休憩及收看各種文字放送資訊。建築外則是東京鬧區中無緣看到的一片蓊綠。由於體育科學是此地的重心之一,設備一流的球場及游泳池也隨時開放,供此處的二千三百多位學生使用。

一流學生進了大學……

初次來早大人間科學部參觀的人,總不免對它新穎、體貼,且絕對稱得上「豪華」的設計大加讚賞。可惜從星期六下午,偌大的電腦室空空蕩蕩、無人使用的情形來看,早大向來流傳的「學生一流、設備二流、教授三流」的說法,在此可能需要稍做調整。

早大學生一流,本是無庸置疑的。每年二月下旬,日本各大學的新生入學考試開始,此時,早大所在的東京高田馬場車站總要全體動員,迎接從各方湧入的近十六萬人次考生。這些考生中,六成以上是「浪人」(重考生),其中「一浪」(重考一年的人)不稀奇,二浪、三浪也所在多有。十六萬人次中錄取一萬四千多名(真正入學的約七千六百多名),說起來每個人都是「以一擋十」的好漢,早大學生自然有自負的條件。

「早大嘛,說穿了也沒什麼特出之處,總之是學生比老師優秀」,這是一位早大第一文學部女生的驚人之語;但話鋒一轉,她又表示:「可是放眼全日本,也沒什麼學校會比早大好!」

其實,早大和其他的日本著名大學一樣,儘管擠進來的是通過層層試煉的天之驕子,但他們的努力往往也就到此為止了。雖然有許多特例,但普遍說來,日本大學生是有名的貪玩不用功。一方面在升學主義下已彈性疲乏的學生,上了大學後對追求學問毫無熱情;一方面也是日本的社會環境使然。

大學不玩,更待何時?!

首先,日本人都希望進入大企業就職,因此大企業的用人標準便會有決定性的影響:「日本大企業通常只看你是哪個大學出身的,至於你在學校媥リ偵礡B成績如何,他們一點也不重視」,來自台灣,就讀教育學部四年級的張家豪以旁觀者的角度觀察:「反正他們寧願要一張白紙,等進了公司再好好加以訓練。」

以早大這樣各方爭取的名校來說,進入早大就表示職業有了保障,通常學生在大三就已經選定將來任職的公司,大四一畢業就報到上班,此後便是永無喘息的工作生涯。而在一切講求中規中矩的日本社會,進入企業後要再離職、跳槽都是離經叛道的事。因此想想,前半生為升學苦、後半生為工作苦,只有大學四年可以放鬆一下、享受人生,此時不盡情地玩,又待何時呢?

此外日本企業不重視大學院(研究所)文憑,使得日本大學的碩士、博士班往往呈現外國人多、本國人少的局面,連帶使大學部的學術根基難以紮下。教育系三年級,曾自費一年去美國讀書的日本女孩中台順子便表示,花三、五年念個碩士、博士,到了重視年資的大企業堶掄椄O得從新人做起,誰會甘願?因此許多人退而求其次,在大學期間抽一年到歐美去遊學一番,算是了了自己多看看世界、多讀點書的心願。再說女孩子要想念研究所,那畢業後「不但工作難找,恐怕連丈夫也找不到呢!」她笑著說。

學生不愛讀書、不重追求學術,加上大班制及老師講、學生聽的僵化上課方式,往往使得空有滿腹經綸的日本教授講起課來也興趣缺缺。尤其日本教師待遇並不高,年輕的教授往往要在好幾個學校到處兼課才能賺夠錢,談不上什麼師生交流;等到年紀稍長、學術地位穩固、可以安心待在一個學校講學做研究時,卻又和學生有了「代溝」。

「很多人要等上了研究所才驚覺系上老師其實滿有學問的」,來自美國的詹姆士如是說:「可惜,有心念研究所的日本學生畢竟太少了。」

追美趕歐、為時尚遠

在日本,即使像早大這樣的一流大學,學生蹺課也是稀鬆平常,而且愈是外務多、「休講」多的老師愈多人去選課。這些課不都是得花大筆鈔票去買的嗎?一位日本學生答得妙:「可是不上課就可以去打工,不也就賺回來了嗎?」

「這多少和日本大學的求學環境惡劣有關」,主管留學生事務的早大國際交流中心學生交流課課長伊藤孝分析,日本的大學是先進國家中少數沒有宿舍的,學生在租金高昂的東京生活,一間小小六疊(六個榻榻米)的房間動輒月租四、五萬日圓,加上吃的、用的,以及「大家都去、自己也不好意思不去」的海外旅遊、社團活動等等,使得早已滿腦子功利思想的日本大學生們,把大部分精力花在打工賺錢和盡情遊玩上,學校的課業也就只求過關了。

明知高等教育有種種缺陷,但卻卡在整個日本社會的大架構上難以動彈,因此伊藤孝認為,儘管日本前首相中曾根康弘曾提出要在西元兩千年達成「十萬留學生」的目標,並使日本的大學真正躋身世界舞台,但「日本大學各方面都太僵化、一元化,要達到像歐美大學那樣可以適合各種學術水準、各種年齡、各種性向的多元化大學,恐怕還有一大段路要走」,伊藤孝說。

「追美趕歐」是早大創辦人大隈重信的理念之一,日本如今已是經濟上的超強,但在百年樹人、需要涓滴培養的教育及學術方面卻尚待努力。剛過完一百零九週年紀念的早稻田,在世界名校中還算「年輕」,它的未來,還是很值得期待。

〔圖片說明〕

P.111

早大建築少有特殊之處,倒是路旁散發著濃厚怪味的銀杏樹頗引人注目。

P.110

(左)通過層層升學窄門的早大學生,個個都是天之驕子。

P.112

早大的學生餐廳價廉物美、氣氛雅緻,是學生們常去的社交場所。

P.113

日本女權意識雖已抬頭,但在像早大這樣的一流學府中,男女學生比例依然懸殊,約為四比一。

P.113

(下)象徵著優秀與悠久傳統的早大校徽,在日本備受敬重。

P.114

為反對日本自衛隊海外派兵法案而舉行的絕食、抗議活動,正是早大「在野精神」的再度表現。

P.115

(上)早大的社團活動極盛,從傳統的劍道、能劇到最現代的重金屬搖滾,都有許多愛好者。

P.115

聖誕節前夕,三五好友,就著簡單的手風琴,當街練起聖歌。

P.116

新落成的圖書館,藏有一百五十多萬冊書籍以及最新穎舒適的視聽設備。

P.117

早大附近的「早稻田街」,兩旁盡是古意盎然的舊書攤。

P.117

(下)來自台灣的施博仁幸運地獲選住進大企業為學生提供的「寮」(宿舍),連吃帶住,費用約為其他同學的十分之一。

P.118

雕像矗立在早大新成立的人間科學部校園前,象徵著「迎向未來」。

P.119

六疊大的房間中擺不下椅子,要開會也只有席地而坐了。

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EN

Waseda University: Model of Defiant Opposition

Laura Li /photos courtesy of Huang Lili /tr. by Peter Eberly

Waseda--one of Japan's four top universities--means "morning rice paddy" in Japanese. The name derives from the fields the school was built in as well as symbolizing its ties to the countryside and its roots in the common people. Today, following a century of urban development, Waseda has found itself right in the midst of downtown Tokyo. And as its traditional "grassroots" spirit diminishes, Waseda University has been striving to blaze a new trail for itself.


In late fall and early winter Tokyo is swept by chilly winds, but Waseda University is caught up in a welter of heated activities. It all starts off with the Waseda Festival, the anniversary of the school's founding, in early November. During a short three or four days, the campus is packed with over 100,000 people. In order to cut back on the crowds, the price of admission is a flat 400 yen (NT$80 or US$3.20) to students and outsiders alike. In addition to campus festivities and official events, the university's student clubs, of which there are nearly 1,000, pull out all the stops in putting on programs that have been a year in planning--laser music shows, symphony concerts, Noh drama, stage plays, kendo sword demonstrations, photography exhibitions and so on and so forth--adding further color and excitement to the festivities.

Shortly afterwards, in early December, comes the Wa-Mei Battle (the rugby game between Waseda and Meiji University), which has a history of 68 years and which, along with the Wa-Kei Battle in June (the baseball game between Waseda and Keio University), symbolizes a traditional friendly rivalry. The day before tickets go on sale, enthusiastic students line up overnight, bringing along tents and packs of instant noodles to brave the wind and snow. Student tickets cost 1,000 yen each, but by game time they may have passed through several hands and climbed in price to ten times that. More than 60,000 spectators squeeze into the stadium to watch the game, and programs and memorabilia are on sale at every bookstore on campus.

Defiance and Integrity: The excitement and agitation have been more intense and protracted than ever this year. The Law on Peace-Keeping Operations of the United Nations (the law about the Japanese Self-Defense Forces being dispatched overseas), which has stirred considerable controversy because of concerns about the revival of militarism, has become a target of heated protest by several student organizations. Just inside campus, a student is shouting into a microphone for his fellow students to stand up and be counted, and the slogan "Oppose the New World Order," which appears all over campus, became one of the themes of the Waseda Festival this year. Not far from the main entrance, students lie in tents on the cold, hard ground, taking part in a relay fast. When the law was forced through the lower house of the Japanese Diet in late October, the students' protests proved ineffective, but the fasting will continue and their valiant efforts were broadcast around the world. In fact, their protest against a "wicked law" is a renewed embodiment of the traditional Waseda spirit.

That spirit, people at Waseda clearly and proudly point out, is one of opposition, defiance, rebelliousness and keeping close to the grassroots. Indeed, this point alone highlights its unique position among the country's four major universities: Tokyo and Kyoto are state-owned "schools for officials," rigidly conservative, while Keio, which is private like Waseda, is a place for the pampered elite, out of touch with the general public. Only Waseda, which prides itself on being "a school for the rural poor from around the country," can grasp the pulse of the people and speak with their voice.

Katsumi Ito, a professor in the school of economics and political science who graduated from Waseda and is president of the Foreign Students Association, recalls what it was like when he entered the school 46 years ago: "There were a lot of kids from the country who were dressed poorly and acted like real hicks. I remember it was popular to smoke Golden Bat cigarettes, which were just seven sen a pack, but if you smoked those at Keio, you'd be laughed at. They smoked high-class Cherry cigarettes, which were 18 sen a pack!"

Even though most of his high school classmates went to Keio, Professor Ito didn't envy them. Like many other young people back then he was set on going to Waseda because he admired its opposition, grassroots character. It was a symbol for them of individuality and the rejection of ossified values.

Catching Up to the West: Waseda's traditional spirit is inseparably bound up with its founder--Shigenobu Okuma.

Okuma, who is hailed as the architect of modern Japan, came from a remote area himself, Saga Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, and went his own way ever since he was a youth, being expelled from school for encouraging his fellow students to oppose the antiquated neo-Confucian education of the time. A worshiper of Western democracy, he opened an English-language school in Nagasaki and then parlayed his linguistic and diplomatic skills into a career in the government. Promoted by the Meiji Emperor to minister of finance in 1870, he put his world view with its admiration of the West into practice, laying the foundation for the country's capitalist economy and modernization during a time known to Japanese historians as the Okuma administration.

He was forced to step down in 1881, when he was at the peak of his power, for advocating the immediate adoption of the British parliamentary style of government. The next year, he set up the Kaishinto, or Constitutional Reform Party, and founded Waseda University, which was then called Tokyo Semmon Gakko. Because of his defiant personality, the school was suspected of being a "hotbed of radicals" and met with considerable surveillance and pressure from the government. The traditional spirit of opposition and resistance that Waseda is known for originates from that time.

Given Okuma's fervor for the West, it is hardly surprising that the Tokyo Semmon Gakko was noted as being the first academic institution in Japan offering an English-style education, striving for academic freedom and campus democracy, emphasizing "a mixture of Eastern and Western civilizations." It had four departments to begin with--political science, law, English and physical science. Four years later, the physics department was dropped and departments were added in English political science and English law, indicating something of the reverence in which Okuma held the West.

"Academic research at Waseda has a special feature, too--it's practical," Professor Ito says, pointing to another belief on which the school was founded in order to "enrich the nation, strengthen the military and catch up to the West." "The best department in the school of commerce is accounting; the school of science and engineering is famous for its department of architecture; and the most productive department in the school of social sciences is applied psychology. . . . "

Out of Touch with the Grassroots? Owing largely to Okuma's personal charisma, Waseda was unusual and received a great deal of attention when it was founded. Even though he was out of favor for a time, his talents were so extraordinary that the Meiji Emperor, a vigorous and effective ruler, eventually called him back into government service, appointing him minister of foreign affairs in 1896. In 1898 (the 31st year of the Meiji era), he formed the first party government in the history of Japan. It was short lived, but he formed a second cabinet in 1914 (the third year of the Taisho era). When the First World War broke out, it was his government that declared war on Germany in the name of Japan.

The revival of Okuma's political fortunes did nothing to diminish the school's heritage of opposition and resistance. The most famous instance involved the 1960 U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, which was forced through the Japanese Diet, giving rise to condemnations from all quarters. Three hundred twenty-eight Waseda professors, led by the university's president at the time, issued a joint declaration demanding the resignation of the cabinet and the dissolution of the Diet.

That struggle and the protest over the law on U.N. peace-keeping operations thirty years later show many points of similarity. Comparing the two, however, many older alumni can't help sighing that "the Waseda spirit of defiance is fading away!" Back then faculty and students were united in spirit and the whole university was in turmoil, while today only a few students fast in cold, lonely tents. Most of the other students walk by without really seeing them or cast an apathetic glance implying, "What's the use?"

"The megaphones may be cranked up loud, but there are never more than 50 people at the demonstrations!" says an American political science student who studied in South Korea for four years, speaking with the clear vision of an outsider, free of the historical baggage of a true Wasedan.

The Waseda Old School Tie: The fading away of the "spirit of defiance" may be related to changes in the composition of the student body.

"The biggest change in Waseda over the past 40 years is the improvement in the students' financial status," Professor Ito points out. The tuition is 500,000 yen a year now--up to 700,000 or 800,000 yen for science and engineering students--which is even higher than that of elitist Keio University, and most lower and middle income families simply can't afford it.

As a result, even though "belonging to the grassroots" and being "a school for the rural poor from around the country" are still touted as the Waseda school spirit, in actual fact, two out of every three students last year came from the Kanto region around Tokyo. And what sort of grassroots spirit can be expected of upper middle class children brought up in the rootless atmosphere of the city?

Having been founded by an outstanding statesman, Waseda is still, over a century later, most noted for its schools of law, political science and economics. Tokyo University may produce many top government officials and Keio many corporate executives, but Waseda dominates the political scene. More than half the members of the current Diet are Waseda alumni, and the school has turned out four prime ministers, including Noboru Takeshita and Toshiki Kaifu. The Waseda "old school tie" network helps its own and wields tremendous clout.

Besides featuring new academic concepts, the research center combines the latest art and technology in its architecture--spacious, attractive buildings nestled in the hills. The big lecture halls, which can seat hundreds, are equipped with five or six television screens hooked up to the podium. Besides complete audio-visual equipment and more than a hundred computers for student use, there is a comfortable lobby like that of a luxury hotel for students to relax in and watch information terminals. Outside the buildings are rolling green lawns, something not to be seen in downtown Tokyo. Sports sciences being one of the main departments, the 2,300 or so students can enjoy the use of an excellent athletic field and a swimming pool open round the clock.

First-Rate Students: First-time visitors to the Advanced Research Center for Human Sciences are inevitably awed by its well-planned, state-of-the-art and downright luxurious design. Unfortunately, judging by how deserted the large computer room is on Saturday afternoons, the popular saying on campus that "the students are first rate, the equipment is second rate and the professors are third rate" may need to be slightly revised.

There's no question that Waseda students are first rate to begin with. In late February, when entrance exams are held at universities in Japan, the Takadanobaba train station near Waseda goes into full mobilization to handle the nearly 16O,000 candidates who swarm in from around the country. More than 60 percent of them are ronin (students retaking the exam), mostly yichi-ro (students retaking the exam for the first time) but quite a few ni-ro and san-ro (students retaking the exam for the second or third time) as well. Of the 160,000 candidates only 14,000 are accepted (around 7,600 actually enter), which means each of them has "bested ten"--they have their reasons for pride. "When you get right down to it, there's nothing particularly special about Waseda. Actually, the students are more exceptional than the teachers." That is the startling comment of a student in the School of Literature I, who turns her remark in another direction, "But you can look all over the country and not find a school any better."

The same as at other major Japanese universities, Waseda is full of talented whiz kids who have passed all sorts of exams, but that's often as far as they go. There are many notable exceptions, but Japanese university students, generally speaking, are notorious for preferring to play around rather than hit the books. One reason is that the pressure to get into college is so great they lose all enthusiasm for the pursuit of knowledge once they get in. Another caused by the Japanese social environment.

If Not Now, When? First, since almost all of them hope to work in a large corporation, employment criteria in the corporate world have a decisive effect. "Japanese corporations usually just look at which university you're from, and they don't care a nickel about what you majored in or how good your grades were," says Chang Chia-hao, a fourth-year education major from Taiwan, who provides the perspective of an outsider. "Actually, they prefer a blank piece of paper to work on, and they'll give you all the training you need after you join the company." Since acceptance to a famous, highly competitive university like Waseda means guaranteed employment on graduation, many students have already lined up a company by their third year and report for work as soon as they graduate, setting out at once on arduous careers. In Japan, where everything has to be done just so, switching jobs and moving to another company is considered a grave transgression. Think about it: You've had to toil away the first part of your life to get into a good college and you're going to toil away the rest of it at your career. If you don't lay back and have a little fun during your four years in college, when can you?

In addition, Japanese corporations place little value on graduate degrees, so master's and doctoral programs contain more foreign students than Japanese, making it difficult to build a solid academic foundation for the undergraduate program. Junko Nakadai, a third-year education major who studied for a year in the United States, says no one wants to spend four or five years studying for a master's or a Ph.D. and then wind up starting out at the bottom in a corporation that emphasizes experience. As a result, many people do the next best thing and spend a year abroad to fulfill their dreams of studying a little more and seeing the world. What's more, if women go on to graduate school, "it's not only hard to find a job, it's sometimes hard to find a husband as well!" she says with a smile.

The students' aversion to studying, large classes and the rigid lecture method of instruction make many Japanese professors, whose learning goes unappreciated, lose interest in teaching. Instructors are poorly paid in Japan and young professors can't earn enough to get by unless they teach at several different places, limiting professor-student interaction to practically nil. By the time they're older, nore secure in their position and able to concentrate on teaching and research at a single school, they're separated from the students by a generation gap.

Waseda alumni also monopolize the media, occupying important positions al the Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun and the government-owned broadcasting network NHK. As the fourth estate, outside the administrative, legislative and judicial branches of the government, the media serve as a watchdog for the opposition. Most of the discussion in the Japanese media in recent years about environmental, legal and minority right issues has come from the hands of Waseda alumni, another manifestation of the school's opposition spirit.

Sterling Honors: Another field that Waseda remains strong in is literature. Its strength can be judged from Japan's top two literary awards--the Naoki Prize and the Akutagawa Prize. Waseda alumni have captured 22 out of 106 Naoki prizes and 23 out of a hundred or more Akutagawa prizes, a record that other universities can scarcely match.

If Waseda is strong in literature, it is even stronger in drama. The Elizabethan-style Tsubouchi Memorial Theater Museum, built in commemoration of the dramatist Shoyo Tsubouchi, is one of a kind in the entire country. Dr. Tsubouchi translated the complete works of Shakespeare into Japanese and introduced audiences to the works of Ibsen, Gorky and other European playwrights. Japan was very conservative at the time, and staging these early 20th century pieces, which were defiant of social taboos and convention, was daring and sensational.

Dr. Tsubouchi taught at Waseda for many years, and due to his influence drama remains very popular on campus, with more than 20 student dramatic clubs. Every evening in front of the Okuma Lecture Hall, across from the main entrance, you can see people declaiming and waving their arms about -- they're just doing their "acting homework."

Another star department, outside the humanities, is architecture, in the school of science and engineering. The 18-story-high Science and Engineering Building, completed in 1967, was designed and constructed by architects from Waseda under a special exemption from the building code, becoming the tallest building in Japan at the time. The great Kanto earthquake of 1923 and the ensuing fire were terrible catastrophes, but people at Waseda boast that "the buildings on campus are all built by 'our folks' now, so there won't be any problem."

The school of science and engineering is filled with the latest computers and information equipment. Even though the university's buildings are old, the corridors are lined with computerized information screens (called moji-hoso in Japanese), showing at a glance which classes have been cancelled in the days to come, which will be held in a different location and so forth. And if the students want to find out about job opportunities or rooms for rent, they can get the information at the touch of a button. A free flow of information has been one of the keys to the rapid development of Japanese industry, and at Waseda this sort of training is a part of student life.

Research Center for Human Sciences: Waseda has schools in literature, law, political science, economics, commerce, science and engineering, education, sociology and human sciences, but it lacks art and medicine, so it can't strictly be considered an all-round university. In recent years, its annual deficit has climbed to several billion yen, leading the administration to rack their brains looking for other sources of revenue. Word has it they tried to buy the medical school at Nihon University (med school is one of the few cash cows for a university, since the tuition is so high) but were turned down. Some have suggested the university sell off its campus in downtown Tokyo, which is terribly crowded, and move to the suburbs. The authorities still haven't decided which way to go, but they have provided a parcel of land to a major corporation to build a luxury hotel, and the sizeable rent has gone some way to offsetting losses.

Despite being pinched for funds, Waseda was ambitious enough to lay out a big sum of money recently to set up the Advanced Research Center for Human Sciences, which it proudly describes as a model for the 21st century, in Tokorozawa, about an hour's drive from the main campus.

Opened in 1987 as one of the showcase items for the school's centennial, the Advanced Research Center currently has three departments, in basic human sciences, human health sciences and sports sciences. As you can see at a glance, the names are far from conventional, and the departments do indeed break through the confines of traditional disciplines, integrating ecology, environmental protection, social anthropology, psychology, medicine, culture, archeology and other fields. Rather than focusing on a certain academic discipline, it adopts a well-rounded, integrated approach to explore the topic of Man as a whole, another attempt by Waseda to go its own road.

"It's not until graduate school that many students realize their professors are actually quite learned," an American student says. "Unfortunately, all too few of them want to go there."

Still a Long Way to Go: Even at a leading university like Waseda, students frequently skip classes and the more often teachers cancel class because of outside commitments, the more eager students are to take their courses. You have to spend a lot of money to buy your way into them, don't you? A Japanese student blithely chirps. "But if you don't have to go to class, you can make the money back with a part-time job, can't you?"

"That's more or less related to the poor conditions for studying at a Japanese university," observes Takashi Ito, who is in charge of overseas student affairs at the Waseda International Exchange Center. Japan is one of the few advanced countries in the world without university dormitories, and rents in Tokyo are sky high--a 972 sq. ft. room can go for 40,000 or 50,000 yen a month. Add in expenses for food, clothing, transportation, overseas trips ("if everyone else is going, you'd be embarrassed not to go along"), club activities and so forth and so on, and it's little wonder that Japanese students, who are money-oriented to begin with, spend most of their energy trying to earn money and have a good time and are content to muddle through their classes.

Aware that Japanese higher education has many drawbacks but has little room to maneuver in the structure of society as a whole, Takashi Ito believes that, despite the goal once set by former prime minster Nakasone of Japanese universities attracting 100,000 foreign students by the year 2000 and truly joining the ranks of the world's best, "Japanese universities are too ossified and homogeneous. I'm afraid there's still a long way to go for them to reach the level of the best universities in Europe and North America."

Catching up with the West was one of the guiding ideals of Shigenobu Okuma, Waseda's founder. Japan is now an economic superpower, but in terms of academics and education, which require generations to cultivate, it still needs to work harder. Waseda University, which recently celebrated its 109th anniversary, is still a youngster among world universities and its future lies all before it.

[Picture Caption]

There isn't much special about the architecture at Waseda, but the gingko trees that line the streets and give off a rich, strange scent are rather noteworthy.

(Left) Waseda students, having passed through hurdle after hurdle of competitive exams, are all haven't favored children.

The student cafeteria, refined and inexpensive, is a popular place for socializing.

Even though awareness of women's rights is on the rise in Japan, there is still a large discrepancy in the proportion of male to female students at Waseda, as at other firstrate universities--about four to one.

(Below) Waseda's school badge, symbolizing its long tradition of excellence, is much respected in Japan.

The demonstrations and fast held in protest of the UN Peace-Keeping Operations law are a renewed embodiment of Waseda's spirit of opposition.

(Above) Clubs are active, with fans in areas from traditional kendo and Noh drama to the latest heavy metal.

Three or four friends get together outside and practice Christmas carols in preparation for Christmas Eve.

The new library contains more than 1.5 million volumes and the latest in audiovisual equipment.

Waseda St. is flanked by quaint little used bookstores.

(Below) Shih Po-jen, of Taiwan, was fortunate enough to win a spot in a dormitory furnished by a large corporation. Room and board is about a tenth of what it costs on the outside.

The statue in front of the new Advanced Research Center for Human Sciences represents "heading toward the future."

A 72-sq.-ft. room is hardly big enough to hold chairs, so if you want to hold a meeting you've got to sit on the floor.

 

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