Opinion

Society

Tetsuya Chikushi who Loved Waseda University

Professor Yasuhiro Tase:
Faculty of the Okuma School of Public Management, Waseda University

On January 4, 2006 I had a call from Mr. Tetsuya Chikushi to my cell-phone. I remember the date clearly, as it was the day when I visited the hospital to see my first grandson. He said over the phone, "Don' t say you' re not going to accept my request." He wanted me to assume the teaching position he had been doing at Waseda. I have teaching experiences as a part-time lecturer at Waseda University and Tokyo University. I learned from the experiences that teaching is not at all for me.

Mr. Chikushi, giving a lecture to students (2003)

I was quite surprised when such a busy person like Chikushi accepted working at university. He often mentioned to me, "I graduated from Waseda, but I owe nothing to Waseda. To tell you the truth, I didn' t attend most of the classes. I have never thought Waseda is my alma mater." Well, I myself often mention the same thing, and many of Waseda graduates do say so. Nevertheless, I accepted the position he had offered me, as he told me not to decline his request. When I got to know his students, I was quite surprised.

I thought Chikushi didn't like Waseda, but I learned from his students that he really loved Waseda. From his students I felt his passion of passing on the meaning of "living intellectually" to the next generation. He tried hard to tell them not to fight a war, so hard that it would be integrated into their genes. Without changing the class title, I took over his class and now it is the third year. I learned the essence of Educator Chikushi, tracking his footprints. A reporter form the city desk of the Asahi Shimbun called me for media coverage on the day of his death, asking for a comment from me who am tracking a similar path as his.
I remember mentioning a little contradictory comment: Asahi should have valued him more; however, if it did, there should have been no Chikushi as such. I thought the reporter would not use this part of my comment, and he didn' t.

A lecture scene with Mr. Chikushi surrounded by students

Chikushi continued to fight against the Asahi Shimbun as a media business entity. That' s my thought. His actions, including TV coverage and writing books without permission from Asahi, triggered criticism in-house as inappropriate for Asahi. As a business entity, Asahi has a set of rules in place for its employees to comply with. An employee who complies with the company rules will be highly evaluated in-house, but his or her activities will be restricted to a great extent. Among others, journalists hate their activities to be restricted. They like to act as their curiosity tells them. Chikushi' s positions as editor of the Asahi Journal and member of the New York editorial board are not such a main stream of a newspaper company as people think - rather run out of runaway.

Visit to Sumida-ku as part of his class. Mr. Chikushi studied local communities with students. (December 2003)

Whenever I saw him, I strongly felt he was a graduate from Waseda. Although people tend to think he took advice from others as he looked gentle, he was a totally uncompromising man. I am sure the idea never occurred to him - how to become a big man in-house. Or I should say what he tried was the other way round. He didn' t join the in-house race to be a president of the company, which formed Journalist Tetsuya Chikushi. He didn' t comply with the in-house rules, which enabled him to create a new way of TV broadcasting. If I were to use one word to describe Journalist Chikushi, I would say "liberal". I' m sure there are many types of journalists, but those journalists born before World War II and with lingering effects of the war are basically liberal, I could say. Among journalists born before the war, no one has the idea that Japan should be heavily-armored or eye the possibility of nuclear armaments. I would say there is a great degree of difference on liberalism between Chikushi born in 1935 and me born in 1944; however, it is not too large to be conflicting.

Although he served as a news anchor for more than 20 years, I think he was really a print media oriented man. The title of his TV program, "TAJI-SORON" is originally from an idiom coined by Yukichi Fukuzawa, meaning "better to argue as many issues as possible". Only a print media oriented man can think of such a TV program. A print media oriented man sticks to terminology. I am an anchor of a TV news program titled Shukan News Shinsho - Weekly News New Titles (TV Tokyo, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays), and at the end of the program (Kyo no Atogaki - Postscript Today) I introduce various words for audience to think about them. There are still many students who want to be journalists and work in the forefront of the media broadcasting field. Waseda is one of the universities with many of them; however, if I am allowed to give them candid advice, I must say that so many of them lack in curiosity. They don' t read many books. I don' t mean books on how-to and job hunting. They don' t have intellectual strength. Students want to be news anchors because the job seems interesting or they want to be well-known. A news anchor is not that easy a profession.

Students often have asked me questions such as: "How can I be promoted to be able to write articles with a byline as quickly as possible after employment?" "How can I be promoted to be seen on TV and be able to mention my comments?" I want to know the answer myself. Chikushi would have said the same thing as I did. To be a journalist is like continuously walking on a long dessert road under the scorching sun desperately towards the goal - needs patience and relentless efforts.

Photos by the Waseda Weekly

Yasuhiro Tase

Profile Born in 1944 in Heilongjian, China and raised in Shirataka-machi, Yamagata Prefecture. Graduated from the School of Political Science and Economics and after graduation joined Nikkei Inc. During 39 years of his life as journalist in Nikkei, he served as political journalist for 36 years and interviewed twenty prime ministers from Sato Eisaku to Yasuo Fukuda. After serving as Chief Correspondent in Washington D.C., member of the editorial committee, Chief Editorial Writer and Columnist, he left Nikkei in March 2006. In April 2006 he assumed the position of Professor of the Okuma School of Public Management, Waseda University and visiting columnist of Nikkei Inc. Also he served as a Japanese member of the Japan-Russia Wise Men's Council, senior research fellow at Harvard University Center for International Affairs and part-time lecturer at Tokyo University and Waseda University. In 1996 he won the Japan National Press Club award. He wrote many books including "Crime and Punishment of Political Journalism" and "About Leadership". In April 2008, he became the main news anchor of "Shukan News Shinsho" on TV Tokyo (one-hour program starting 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays).