inline image

It is with great sadness that I announce a great loss to Japanese psychiatry with the news that Professor Haruo Akimoto has died on 25 April 2007.

When Professor Akimoto was the President of the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology (JSPN), he invited the journal Folia Psychiatrica et Neurologica Japonica, now known as Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, to become the organ journal of the JSPN. In order to economically support its publication, Professor Akimoto founded the Folia Publishing Society in 1964. Many noted psychiatrists became members of the Folia Society. The office of JSPN and the Folia Society was located in the Department of Neuropsychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo at that time.

Professor Akimoto asked me to help the publication. Since then I have been involved in the management of the Folia Society for almost 50 years.

The use of Folia Psychiatrica et Neurologica Japonica as the organ journal of JSPN continued until 1975. Afterwards Folia Publishing Society published the journal independently. This journal will again become the organ Journal of the JSPN in the near future.

Professor Akimoto lived for 102 years, a record of longevity in the history of Japanese psychiatry. He suffered from vertebral fracture and gastrointestinal troubles. In both cases he underwent surgical operations after the age of 80 years successfully. He was admired as a magnificent man with eternal life.

He was born in Matsumoto in 1906. After graduation from the University of Tokyo School of Medicine he became a lecturer at Hokkaido University, then at Tokyo University. He then became professor of psychiatry at Kanazawa Universiy.

In 1958 he was appointed as professor of psychiatry at University of Tokyo. He was very active both in teaching and joining various activities of the Department of Neuropsychiatry.

He served as a master of ceremonies at more than 30 marriages of psychiatrists in the Department of Neuropsychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, including myself.

Professor Akimoto was a frank, passionate person. He fought against prejudice toward mentally ill patients, and stood against injustice with a strong sense of righteousness.

After his retirement from Tokyo University in 1966, a severe campus dispute started in the psychiatric department that spread across the whole university campus. Professor Akimoto wrote many comments and letters to the members of psychiatry and professors of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, to stop the occupation of the psychiatric ward and blocking of access of the psychiatric teaching staff to the ward.

Professor Akimoto became a superintendent of the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry. After successful reconstruction of the Center, he became the superintendent of Tokyo Metropolitan Matsuzawa Hospital, a large mental hospital in Tokyo run by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

He made great efforts to assist rehabilitation programs for mentally ill patients in Japan. He was once the president of the Japanese Society of Mental Health. He also founded the Japanese Society for the Policies of Mental Health and Welfare to improve the policies of the government to the mentally ill.

Professor Akimoto learned how to use the personal computer when he was 88 years old, and wrote many books on the word processor. He also mastered email and communicated with young psychiatrists. Three months before his death, Professor Akimoto wrote to me that there is no age limit in scientific investigation, a precious awareness to myself.

He wrote papers and made speeches in public even after he was over 100 years of age.

We pray sincerely that Professor Haruo Akimoto will rest in peace and watch us with warm eyes of encouragement.