Guest Writer: Melstfox#0001

There is believed to be about 800 universities in Japan, and students not only study but are also devoting themselves to cultural activities and sports. Out of these 800, there are six universities that are considered to be particularly well-known and resounding symbols of university sports. These universities are called the “Tokyo Big6”.

The Tokyo Big6 gained recognition when the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League was established and it has the longest history among the existing university baseball leagues. Since its establishment in 1925, it has developed into an organization that promotes not only university sports, but all sports across Japan.

The Institutions

The Tokyo Big6 are Waseda University, Keio University, Meiji University, Hosei University, Rikkyo University, and the University of Tokyo. Each one is very popular and very difficult to enter because many students aspire to join these schools and take their exams each year. I think they’re comparable to the Ivy League Universities in the United States.

Institution Location Established Motto in English School Color
Waseda University Nishi-Waseda
Shinjuku, Tokyo
1882 Independence of scholarship. Maroon
Keio University Mita
Minato, Tokyo
1858 The pen is mightier than the sword. Blue and red
Meiji University Kanda-Surugadai
Chiyoda, Tokyo
1881 Rights, Liberty, Independence and Self-governance. Bluish purple
Hosei University Fujimi
Chiyoda, Tokyo
1880 Free academic atmosphere and a pioneering spirit. Orange and blue
Rikkyo University Nishi-Ikebukuro
Toshima, Tokyo
1874 For God and Country. Purple
University of Tokyo Hongo
Bunkyo, Tokyo
1877 Discover excellence. Light blue


The History behind the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League

Tokyo Big6 Baseball League in 1929

The Tokyo Big6 Baseball League originated from a match between Waseda University and Keio University known as the Waseda-Keio game in 1903. It was suspended in 1906 due to the overheated cheering, but in 1914, three universities decided to start a league. These universities were Waseda, Keio, and Meiji. In 1917, Hosei University joined their ranks, amounting to a total of four universities taking part in the League. In 1921, Rikkyo University also joined the league and began to host baseball games. In 1925, Tokyo Imperial University (currently the University of Tokyo) was added, bringing us to our total of six universities established in the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League.

Waseda-Keio baseball game

The existence of the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League has popularized baseball games as mass entertainment to the point where it has become ingrained in our culture with the passage of time. It also served as a leader in baseball games and leagues across Japan until professional baseball leagues became more popular after World War II. Newspapers at the time also say that there was a time when “Speaking of baseball, there are six universities, and speaking of six universities, there is baseball.” The recognition of the Tokyo Big6 increased at an accelerating pace, creating a new value that went beyond the six universities of the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League.

The Influence of the Tokyo Big6

Meiji Festival

As a result, Tokyo Big6 gradually went beyond the boundaries of university baseball leagues and started to become an indispensable keyword for interactions between affiliated universities, especially at the student level. In other sports events, such as tennis, dancing, american football and swimming competitions, the competition between universities has expanded, and in fields other than sports events, such as cheering groups and chorus concerts, mah-jongg league games and school festivals, various human relationships and exchanges have been created in the name of the Tokyo Big6, from active students to graduates.

Since the origin of the name is derived from the organization of university baseball teams, there is a strong tendency to correlate those universities with the developing exchange between students and sports rather than just the academic aspect of university life.

Waseda-Keio American football game


Final Words

Final Words
Hongō campus, University of Tokyo

It is said that the number of students in Japan is decreasing every year due to the declining birth rate. Therefore, it is becoming difficult for universities to attract students. With a significant number of universities out of the current 800 expected to disappear in the future, the Tokyo Big6 will not yield to such trends and will rather increase their presence. Needless to say, the history and traditions that have been built up over a long period of time give us strong and unwavering values.

Further Reading

   Tokyo Big6 Baseball League Official Website

   Tokyo Big6 Baseball Leak Wikipedia

  Tokyo Six Universities (Japanese link)

   Rokudaigakuyakyuu History


  Jingu Stadium

  Waseda University Wikipedia (Japanese link)

  Keio University Wikipedia (Japanese link)

  Meiji University Wikipedia (Japanese link)

  Hosei University Wikipedia (Japanese link)

  Rikkyo University Wikipedia (Japanese link)

  University of Tokyo Wikipedia (Japanese link)

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