No causal relationship between the winning school and the number of applicants in the Hakone Ekiden | FRIDAY DIGITAL

No causal relationship between the winning school and the number of applicants in the Hakone Ekiden

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
Aoyama Gakuin won the Hakone Ekiden this year. Will it lead to an increase in the number of applicants? (Image: Kyodo News)

Rugby, Hakone Ekiden: ……. If you win in a major student sport, the number of applicants for the most recent entrance exam will increase significantly!  There is a common belief among university officials that this is not true. Is it true? An expert thoroughly verified it.

To put it bluntly, there is almost no causal relationship between sports championships and an increase or decrease in applicants.

So says Tetsuo Kobayashi, an educational journalist. First, let’s look at the following figures. The figures below are a comparison of the number of applicants for the current year and the previous year for the universities that won the rugby and Hakone Ekiden championships for the first time (based on data from “Hotarubetsu Jidai” (The Firefly Era) published by Obunsha, Daigaku Tsushin, Recruit and other sources).

First-time rugby champions (increase/decrease from previous year’s applicants in parentheses)

Daito Bunka University (1988): 31,796 (up 24,957)

Daito Bunka University (1988): 31,796 (up 24,957) Teikyo University (2010): 37,720 (up 35,848)

Tenri University (2009) 475 (down 730)

Hakone Ekiden

Daito Bunka University (1975): 15,598 (down 11,049)

Daito Bunka University (1975): 15,598 (down 11,049) Yamanashi Gakuin University (1992): 15,353 (up 9,655)

Kanagawa University (1997) 28,417 (down 32,698)

Kanagawa University (1997) 28,417 (down 32,698) ・Asian University (2006) 16,668 (up 9,255)

Toyo University (2009) 69,157 (up 59,638)

Aoyama Gakuin University (2003) 59,738 (up 55,893)

Although the number of students varies from university to university and year to year, Daito Bunka University, which won the rugby championship in 1988, is the only university that can be said to have experienced a “dramatic increase. Mr. Kobayashi, who is mentioned above, explains.

The reason why the number of applicants to Daito Bunka University increased in 1988 is not because of the rugby championship, but because the bubble economy was at its peak and students were able to apply to many schools. In January, when the rugby and the Hakone Ekiden (relay race) are held, most students have already decided which school they want to enter. No matter which university wins, it doesn’t have a big impact on the increase or decrease of applicants.

So why do universities put so much effort into sports? There are three points. The first is to increase name recognition by winning a nationally televised sports championship; the second is to revamp their image; and the third is to increase the loyalty of current students and alumni. Even students and graduates who entered universities that were not their first choice will naturally feel better if their alma mater wins the championship.

Dramatic increase in the number of universities thanks to Hiroko Yakushimaru

According to Mr. Kobayashi, the only people who think about applying to a university that has won the championship are the members of the sports clubs who are involved in that sport and want to be the best in Japan. For ordinary students, he said, factors closer to home will influence their application.

The first is the scandal of the dangerous tackle in football by Nihon University in May 2006, which led to a decrease of 15,000 applicants the following year. The second is the increase or decrease in the number of subjects taken and the relocation of the campus to a more commutable location.

The third is the admission of celebrities. Tamagawa University saw an increase in applicants in 1983 when actress Hiroko Yakushimaru entered the school. The percentage of applicants to the Department of English and American Literature in the Faculty of Letters, where she took the exam, was 7.6 times, up from 4.7 times the previous year. For the university as a whole, the ratio increased from 5.1 to 6.7. This is because Mr. Yakushimaru’s entrance examination to Tamagawa University was known early on, so it is safe to assume that there is a slight causal relationship.

However, these factors also apply to relatively less difficult universities and emerging schools. Even if a scandal occurs at a difficult university such as Waseda or Keio, the number of applicants does not decrease much; the “Superfree Incident” at Waseda University in 2003 and the “Obscenity Incident of the Advertising Research Association” at Keio University in 2004 did not have a significant impact on the number of applicants the following year. Also, Sayuri Yoshinaga entered Waseda University in 1965 and Ryoko Hirosue in 1998, but neither of these resulted in a significant increase in applicants.

So why are only rugby and the Hakone Ekiden attracting attention as student sports? Mr. Kobayashi continues.

Both of these sports are not very active professionally, and students can play a leading role in them. In major sports such as baseball and soccer, the popularity of professionals is high, so the activities of university students are not in the limelight.

For high school students, the popular sports change depending on the times. If the manga “Slam Dunk” becomes popular, it will be basketball, “Captain Tsubasa” will be soccer, and the drama “School Wars” will be rugby and ……. However, there are few manga or TV dramas featuring college students. It is the sports of college students that are not easily influenced by current trends. Rugby and the Hakone Ekiden will continue to be the mainstay of ‘student sports’ in the future.

Even if it does not increase the number of applicants, winning the rugby and Hakone Ekiden is the best advertisement. Even if it does not increase the number of applicants, winning the rugby and Hakone Ekiden is the best advertisement.

  • Photo Kyodo News

Photo Gallery1 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles