Waseda University, also known as Sōdai (早大), is a private university located in the heart of Tokyo. Consistently ranked among the highly outstanding Japanese universities, Waseda has been under MEXT’s ‘Top Global University Project’ set to boost Japan’s educational competitiveness. As one of the top English-based program providers in Japan, Waseda is a respected pioneer for bringing a global community on local campuses. It is one of the first universities in Japan to accept international students and to offer more than 2,400 English-based courses as well as over 50 graduate and undergraduate degree programs taught entirely in English. The University’s commitment to embracing a more international environment combined with its numerous breakthroughs in research has reinforced its stand as a leading university nationwide. In this sense, Waseda University had been home to many notable alumni who have made great contributions in bringing prestige to the institution’s name.

Waseda University had been ranked second in Japan for the number of alumni holding executive positions in Japanese companies and for the largest group of alumni present in the Japanese parliament. In this article, we would be looking at some of the renowned graduates of Waseda who have been prime ministers, public figures of Japanese literature, CEOs, and famous athletes.

Prime Ministers of Japan

  1. Ishibashi (1956–1957)
  2. Noboru Takeshita (1987–1989)
  3. Toshiki Kaifu (1989–1991)
  4. Keizo Obuchi(1998–2000)
  5. Yoshiro Mori (2000–2001)
  6. Yasuo Fukuda (2007–2008)
  7. Yoshihiko Noda (2011–2012)

World-renowned novelist Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949. He grew up in Kobe but later moved to Tokyo to complete his higher education at Waseda University. He is known for his bestseller works in Japan and in all corners of the world; many of which were translated into fifty languages and were sold for millions of copies. His first novel, ‘Hear the Wind Sing,’ won the Gunzou Literature Prize for budding writers in 1979. His two critically successful sequels that followed, ‘Pinball, 1973’ and ‘A Wild Sheep Chase,’ formed another novel of his called “The Trilogy of the Rat.”


Waseda University now has Haruka Murakami’s collection stored, including his manuscripts, source documents, and books, and is accessible by scholars at the institution.

CEO – President – Chairman

Former CEO of Sony, Nobuyuki Idei

Noboyuki Idei was born in Tokyo on November 22, 1937. He graduated at Waseda University with a bachelor of arts degree. After graduating in March 1960, he got a job interview at Sony. Noboyuki Idei had been a chairman and chief executive officer of Sony Corporation until March 2005. He also became the director of Nestlé, General Motors, Baidu, and Yoshimoto.

Founder, CEO of Fast Retailing and the richest man in Japan, Tadashi Yanai

Tadashi Yanai, the founder and CEO of UNIQLO Group, graduated from Waseda University with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science. According to Forbes (June 2019), Tadashi Yanai was ranked as the thirty-first richest person in the world and is currently the richest man in Japan with $24.9 B at the age of seventy-one. Tadashi Yanai owns several other brands in addition to Fast Retailing’s primary subsidiary Uniqlo, including J Brand, Comptoir des Cotonniers, GU, Princesse Tam-Tam, and Theory.

Former CEO and President of Honda, Takeo Fukui

Takeo Fukui graduated from Waseda University with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Chemistry. He began working at Honda in April 1969 as an engineer and officially became the CEO of Honda corporation in 2003.

Other CEO – President – Chairman:

  1. Former President of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi
  2. Current President of Nintendo, Shuntaro Furukawa
  3. Former CEO of Toshiba, Norio Sasaki
  4. Chairman of Samsung Group, Lee Kun-hee
  5. Chairman of Mitsubishi, Mikio Sasaki

Other Public Figures:

  1. Figure skate, 2014, 2018 Winter Olympics gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu
  2. Athletics, Japan’s first Olympic gold medalist, Mikio Oda
  3. Judo World Champion in 1984, AnnMaria De Mars
  4. Accomplished Major League Baseball player Nori Aoki

Consistently placing as one of Japan’s top universities, Waseda University has nurtured many young minds and has successively provided a highly academic environment for countless students that have passed through its halls. With a myriad of successful alumni now known as Japan’s outstanding writers, athletes, artists, and business leaders, Waseda University is truly an excellent institution for students to thrive.

Thinking about studying at Waseda University? Here are some insights on its program and scholarship opportunities: https://schoolynk.com/media/tags/021b421e-ab79-44c9-97f3-56bdd0977a30

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