Waseda University

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Waseda University
Waseda University Logo.svg
Former names
Tōkyō Senmon Gakkō
Motto Japanese: 学問の独立
Motto in English
Independence of scholarship
Type Private
Established21 October 1882
President Aiji Tanaka
Academic staff
2,218 full-time [1]
3,243 part-time [1]
Administrative staff
1,257 full-time [1]
119 part-time [1]
Students47,959 [1]
Undergraduates 39,382 [1]
Postgraduates 8,577 [1]
Location, ,
Campus Urban
Athletics43 varsity teams
Colors Maroon   [2]
Affiliations Universitas 21
MascotWaseda Bear
Website www.waseda.jp
Waseda University Official Logo.svg
Japanese name
Kanji 早稲田大学
Hiragana わせだだいがく
Katakana ワセダダイガク

Waseda University (早稲田大学, Waseda Daigaku), abbreviated as Sōdai (早大), is the most prestigious Japanese private research university in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Founded in 1882 as the Tōkyō Senmon Gakkō by Ōkuma Shigenobu, the school was formally renamed Waseda University in 1902. [3]


Waseda is organized into thirty-six departments: thirteen undergraduate schools and twenty-three graduate schools. As of May 2016, there were 42,860 undergraduate students and 8,269 graduate students. In addition to a central campus in Shinjuku, the university operates campuses in Chūō, Nishitōkyō, Tokorozawa, Honjō, and Kitakyūshū. Waseda also operates twenty-one research institutes at its main Shinjuku campus. The Waseda University Library is collectively one of Japan's largest libraries and currently hold some 4.5 million volumes and 46,000 serials.

Waseda consistently ranks among the most academically selective and prestigious universities in Japanese university rankings. It is often ranked alongside Keio University, its rival, as the best private university in Japan. In 2020–2021, Waseda ranked 189th in the QS World University Rankings . Waseda is among the top type of the select Japanese universities assigned additional funding under the MEXT's Top Global University Project to enhance Japan's global educational competitiveness. [4]

Waseda has graduated many notable alumni, including seven Prime Ministers of Japan, numerous important figures of Japanese literature, including Haruki Murakami, and many CEOs, including Tadashi Yanai, the CEO of UNIQLO, Nobuyuki Idei, the former CEO of Sony, Takeo Fukui, the former president and CEO of Honda, Norio Sasaki, the former CEO of Toshiba, Lee Kun-hee, the Chairman of Samsung Group, Mikio Sasaki, the former Chairman of Mitsubishi, and Hiroshi Yamauchi and Shuntaro Furukawa, former and current Presidents of Nintendo respectively.


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

Waseda was founded as Tōkyō Senmon Gakkō (東京専門学校) 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. [5] Three years later, the department of physical science was closed because it had too few applicants. [6]

The department of literature was established in 1890, [7] the department of education in 1903, the department of commerce in 1904, [8] and the department of science and engineering in 1908. [9]

Although Waseda formally adopted the term university in its title in 1902 [3] it was not until 1920 that, in common with other Japanese schools and colleges, it received formal government recognition as a university under the terms of the University Establishment Ordinance. [10] Thus Waseda became, with Keio University, the first private university in Japan.

Waseda University students in 1916 Waseda University students in 1916 (cropped).jpg
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." [11]

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. [12] 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.

125th anniversary

Waseda University Waseda University.jpg
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.


City locator 14.svg Campus Station-logo.png Station

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

Waseda's undergraduate schools have a total entrance capacity of 8,800 students. Individual entrance capacities are denoted below.

  • School of Political Science and Economics – 900
  • School of Law – 740
  • School of Culture, Media and Society – 860
  • School of Humanities and Social Sciences – 660
  • School of Education – 960
  • School of Commerce – 900
  • School of Fundamental Science and Engineering – 535
  • School of Creative Science and Engineering – 595
  • School of Advanced Science and Engineering – 540
  • School of Social Sciences – 630
  • School of Human Sciences – 560
  • School of Sports Sciences – 400
  • School of International Liberal Studies – 600

Graduate programs

  • Graduate School of Political Science
  • Graduate School of Economics
  • Graduate School of Law
  • Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences
  • Graduate School of Commerce
  • Graduate School of Fundamental Science and Engineering
  • Graduate School of Creative Science and Engineering
  • Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering
  • Graduate School of Education
  • Graduate School of Human Sciences
  • Graduate School of Social Sciences
  • Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies
  • Graduate School of Global Information and Telecommunication Studies
  • Graduate School of Japanese Applied Linguistics
  • Graduate School of Information, Production and Systems
  • Graduate School of Sports Sciences
  • Business School
  • The Okuma School of Public Management
  • Law School
  • Graduate School of Finance, Accounting and Law
  • Graduate School of Accountancy
  • Graduate School of Environment and Energy Engineering
  • Graduate School of Journalism

Research institutes

  • Kagami Memorial Laboratory for Materials Science and Technology
  • Institute for Comparative Law
  • The Institute for Research in Business Administration
  • Institute for Research in Contemporary Political and Economic Affairs
  • Advanced Research Center for Human Sciences
  • Advanced Research Institute for Science and Engineering
  • Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies
  • Global Information and Telecommunication Institute
  • Institute for Advanced Studies in Education
  • Center for Japanese Language
  • Media Network Center
  • Environmental Research Institute
  • Environmental Safety Center
  • Center for Finance Research
  • Human Service Center
  • Comprehensive Research Organization (Project Research Institute)
  • Institute for Nanoscience & Nanotechnology
  • Consolidated Research Institute for Advanced Science and Medical Care
  • Information Technology Research Organization
  • Organization for Asian Studies
  • Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS)


Ōkuma Auditorium

Okuma Auditorium, a contemporary building by architect Sato Koichi WASEDA-DAIGAKU.jpg
Ōkuma Auditorium, a contemporary building by architect Satō Kōichi
Okuma Auditorium, Waseda University campus Waseda University Campus.jpg
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. [13]

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. [14]

Ōkuma Garden

Okuma Garden Okuma1.jpg
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, 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.

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


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


Two Waseda University baseball players from 1921 Waseda University baseball players.jpg
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 as 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

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. [15] [16] 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.


In 2016, the first university bandy team in Japan was founded. [17] With no field of regular size, they play rink bandy.

Academic rankings

University rankings
Toyo Keizai National [18] General 2
Kawaijuku  [ ja ] National [19] General 13
WE  [ ja ] National [20] Employment 11
NBP Greater Tokyo [21] [22] Reputation 1
Shimano National [23] Selectivity SA
QS Asia
(Asian Ranking version) [24]
General 42
ARWU Asia [25] Research 44–68
QS World [26] General 189
ARWU World [25] Research 401–500
ENSMP World [27] Alumni 8
Program rankings
Social Sciences & Humanities


Asahi National [28] Research3
BE Success National [29] Qualification5
BE Pass rate National [30] Qualification12


Eduni MBA National [31] General2
Eduni MBA World [32] General93
CPA Success National [33] Qualification2
Natural Sciences & Technology


QS World [34] General116


ARE Success  [ ja ] National [35] Qualification3

Waseda University is considered one of the most prestigious universities in Japan, consistently ranking amongst the top universities in Japanese university rankings. The university seeks to promote student and faculty exchange as well as collaborative research through memorandums of agreement signed with 432 partnership institutions in 79 countries.

General rankings

The university ranked 2nd in 2015–2016 in Toyo Keizai's Truly Strong Universities (本当に強い大学) ranking. [36] In another ranking, Japanese prep school Kawaijuku ranked Waseda as the 13th best university in Japan. [19]

According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016–2017, Waseda ranked 601–800th worldwide and 121-130th in Asia. [37]

In addition, according to the QS World university rankings in 2016–2017, Waseda University was ranked 201st in the world and 41st in Asia. [38] Waseda Business School and Waseda Graduate School of Economics obtained the highest rank – five PALMS – in a Universal Business Ranking in 2013. [39]

In 2014, The Center for World University Rankings ranked Waseda University 40th (world). [40] Waseda University was also ranked 20th in the world in the Times Higher Education Alma Mater Index: Global Executives 2013 top 100. [41]

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. [42]

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. [43] 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. [28]

Graduate school rankings

According to the Asia Top MBA Business Schools Ranking by Asiaweek, Waseda Business School is ranked 2nd in Japan. [44] Eduniversal also ranked Japanese business schools and Waseda is 2nd in Japan (93rd in the world). [45] In this ranking, Waseda is one of only 3 Japanese business schools categorized in "Universal Business schools with major international influence".

Waseda Law School is considered as one of the top Japanese law schools, as Waseda's successful candidates for bar examination was 5th in 2009 and 2010 in Japan. [46]

Alumni rankings

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). [47] Waseda was ranked 1st in Social Science and 2nd in Natural Science and Engineering among all Japanese universities. [48] 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. [49] [50]

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. [27] The university is also ranked 2nd in Japan for the number of alumni holding the position of executive in the listed companies of Japan. [51]

The number of lawyers who graduated Waseda has been ranked 3rd in Japan since 1949. [52] Furthermore, Waseda alumni have been the 2nd largest group in the Japanese Parliament. [53] [54]

Popularity and selectivity

Waseda is a popular university in Japan. The number of applicants per place was 20.5 (115515/5630) in the 2011 undergraduate admissions. [55] This number of applicants was 2nd largest in Japan. [56] its entrance difficulty is usually considered as top with Keio among 730 private universities. [57] [58] [59]

Nikkei BP has been publishing a ranking system called "Brand rankings of Japanese universities" every year, composed by the various indications related to the power of brand, and Waseda was top in 2010 and 3rd in 2009 in Greater Tokyo Area. [21]

Evaluation from Business World

The university ranking of the ratio of "president and chief executive officer of listed company" in Japan
all universities in Japan 10th [60]  out of all the 744 [61] universities which existed as of 2006
Source2006 Survey [60] 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
The university ranking according to the ratio of the number of the officers & managers produced by each university to the number of graduates
all universities in Japan 35th [62]  out of all the 778 [63] universities which existed as of 2010
Source2010 Survey [64] 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
The university ranking according to the order of the evaluation by Personnel Departments of Leading Companies in Japan
Japan 12th [65] (out of 781 [66]  universities in Japan as of 2020)
Source2020 Nikkei Survey [67] to all listed (3,714 [68] ) and leading unlisted (1,100), totally 4,814 companies [67]


There are currently more than 600,000 alumni members. [69] 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; [70] world-renowned novelist Haruki Murakami; Prime Ministers of Japan Tanzan Ishibashi, Noboru Takeshita, Toshiki Kaifu, Keizō Obuchi, Yoshirō Mori, Yasuo Fukuda, and Yoshihiko Noda; Li Dazhao, co-founder of the Communist Party of China; 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.

Faculty and presidents


Professors who are also Waseda alumni are listed in italics.

Principals, de facto presidents (1907–1923), and presidents


De facto presidents (1907–1923)

  • Sanae Takata, 1907–1915
  • Tameyuki Amano, 1915–1917
  • Yoshiro Hiranuma, 1918–1921
  • Masasada Shiozawa, 1921–1923


  • Shigenobu Ōkuma, [71] 1907–1922
  • Masasada Shiozawa, 1923
  • Sanae Takata, 1923–1931
  • Hozumi Tanaka (public finance scholar, Doctor of Laws, 1876–1944), 1931–1944
  • Tomio Nakano, 1944–1946
  • Koichi Shimada, 1946–1954
  • Nobumoto Ōhama, 1954–1966
  • Kenichi Abe, 1966–1968
  • Tsunesaburo Tokikoyama, 1968–1970
  • Sukenaga Murai, 1970–1978
  • Tsukasa Shimizu, 1978–1982
  • Haruo Nishihara, 1982–1990
  • Chūmaru Koyama, 1990–1994
  • Takayasu Okushima, 1994–2002
  • Katsuhiko Shirai, 2002–2010
  • Kaoru Kamata, 2010–2018
  • Aiji Tanaka, 2018–present



Waseda University has had numerous benefactors, including:

See also


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  6. Kimura, pp. 74, 122
  7. Okushima and Nakamura (eds.), p.25
  8. Okushima and Nakamura (eds.), p.37
  9. Okushima and Nakamura (eds.), p.42
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  56. "代々木ゼミナール(予備校) - ご案内" (PDF). www.yozemi.ac.jp. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2011.
  57. National and Public universities apply different kind of exams. so it is only comparable between universities in a same category.
  58. e.g. 代々木ゼミナール [Yoyogi seminar]. Hensachi. Archived from the original on 22 April 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011. (the indication showing the entrance difficulties by prep schools rankings)
  59. Japanese journalist Kiyoshi Shimano ranks its entrance difficulty as SA (most selective/out of 11 scales) in Japan. 危ない大学・消える大学 2012年版 (in Japanese). YELL books. 2011. ASIN   4753930181.
  60. 1 2 Weekly Diamond 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 (in Japanese)
  61. The number of universities and students|National Universities Association (in Japanese)
  62. Is it a story of the past that graduates from famous universities can easily move up the career ladder? / RECRUIT AGENT (in Japanese)
  63. University reform reference materials / Cabinet Secretariat (in Japanese)
  64. Is it a story of the past that graduates from famous universities can easily move up the career ladder? / RECRUIT AGENT (in Japanese)
  65. Survey on the image seen from human resources personnel:Ranking of the ability to get jobs|Nikkei HR 2020.06.03 release
  66. The number of universities in Japan is 781 as of April 1, 2020. About 80% are private universities.|Ōbun Sha
  67. 1 2 Image held by human resources personnel of companies of Japan / Yokohama National University ranked 1st in Kantō & Kōshin'etsu region / Valuation from the ex-students already employed / The Nikkei・Nikkei HR Survey 2020-06-04 17:27
  68. Number of listed companies & listed shares of stock|JPX
  69. "Waseda Alumni" . Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  70. Nakamura, Yuji; Furukawa, Yuki. "Nintendo Puts Switch Into Hands of Famicom-Generation President". Bloomberg. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  71. as an honorary post
  72. Okushima and Nakamura (eds.), p.53
  73. Okushima and Nakamura (eds.), p.51
  74. Okushima and Nakamura (eds.), p.63
  75. Okushima and Nakamura (eds.), p.65
  76. Okushima and Nakamura (eds.), p.68
  77. Masaru Ibuka Auditorium (Hall) is in the International Conference Center.

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Further reading

Coordinates: 35°42′33″N139°43′10″E / 35.709203°N 139.719333°E / 35.709203; 139.719333