In Japanese university’s life, school festival is one of the biggest events. These festivals are held once a year usually at each university. Wasedsa sai (Waseda festival) is one of the hugest and the most famous festivals among Japanese university festivals. Let’s take a look at the details.
<About Waseda sai>
Waseda sai is a school festival held once a year on Waseda campus. The date is the first week of November, Sat and Sun.
There are a lot of food stands on the campus and performances are done at classrooms or some places on campus. The special main stage is built for this festival in front of Okuma kodo like this.
These stalls and performances are done mostly by Waseda students.
<So How big is it?>
About 18,000 people come to Waseda festival every year and it has 460 events. This festival is organized by 600 Waseda students.
This is how it looks .
Around the Okuma bronze statue(Okuma is the founder of Waseda)
This is the biggest stage that many groups including clubs, organizations perform.
But this is just a part of the campus. If you are Waseda student, or visited here before, you can imagine how these number of people would be fit in this campus.
Although Waseda sai is made by Waseda students and carried out on Waseda campus, Waseda festival is open to every people. This comes from Waseda university’s concept that “Waseda is open to everybody”. So, If you come to Waseda sai, you will see this huge number of people but also feel full of energy of Japanese students.
<Why is it that famous?>
Now I think you understand how huge this festival is compared to the other university’s festivals in Japan. However, why is it that famous in the first place? There should be something more than its size. Let me explain some facts that attracts many people to Waseda sai.
Of course, Waseda university itself is one of the most famous universities in Japan, so people know at least what Waseda is. However, this festival itself is the reason that people want to visit for 3 reasons.
First, people can find for sure some events in there that match their interests out of 460 events. If this is in other school festivals, there is not diversity like this. This number is something that only Waseda sai has. Again, just to get in is free, so looking around and walking around in the campus is worth a try.
Second, besides these events that match your interests, the
re are some other events that blow your mind. For example, there was an event in the past that you can grab bunch of condoms as much as you can do. This event was held by a club in Waseda that tries to let people notice how important it is to put condoms to prevent from AIDS. In the world, this kind of event may be common. However, it is quite innovative to do this event in Japan which is pretty conservative. This is something that only Waseda could be done because Waseda is a really liberal university.
Third, in Waseda sai, every year some famous and popular people come perform such as music band, idol, or comedian. Although Waseda sai is held only by students, the quality of organizing these performances is as high as the other live event. For example, in the past, AKB 48(Japanese idol group), Kyary Pamyu Pamyu(Japanese singer), Sekai No Owari(Japanese music band), Nogizaka46(Japanese idol group), May. J(Japanese singer) came to perform at Waseda sai. Ticket is needed to buy but usually it is cheaper than the normal price.
<2 must-see Performances in Waseda sai >
Out of 460 events, I will introduce you 2 must-see performances at the main stage.
１．早稲田王決定戦 (Waseda king tournament)
This is the most famous performance in Waseda sai. In this tournament, one Waseda student will be picked as Waseda king out of all 50000 students. Usually in other universities, the standard is how handsome or cute they are. But not for Waseda king. The standard here is how manly they are. What they do is too complicated to explain, so I would recommend you just to go.
This is also the tournament that international students sing their favorite song and the champion is picked. Music is something that all the people who have any background can share, so it would be better for you to try this competition if you are interested in it.
Waseda festival is held on all Waseda campuses which are located at 1 Chome-104 Totsukamachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo 169-8050, near Waseda station of Tozai line. Weather you are Waseda student or not, this festival should be worth a try.