ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Obituaries

Doctor who discovered Kawasaki disease dies at 95

Some coronavirus patients have shown symptoms similar to rare syndrome

Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki, seen here in 2006, discovered the syndrome we now know as Kawasaki disease. (Photo by Keimei Arashida)

TOKYO -- Tomisaku Kawasaki, the Japanese pediatrician who discovered the rare inflammatory syndrome now known as Kawasaki disease, died earlier this month at a Tokyo hospital, it was learned on Wednesday.

His death last Friday was attributed to old age. He was 95.

The disease the Tokyo-born doctor discovered has been in the news in recent weeks, after reports of a similar syndrome affecting a small number of coronavirus patients.

Kawasaki graduated from Chiba Medical School in 1948 and went on to work for the pediatrics department at Tokyo's Japanese Red Cross Central Hospital, now the Japan Red Cross Medical Center. In 1961, he noticed an unfamiliar illness in young children, characterized by a fever and rash.

In 1967, he published the seminal paper on the syndrome, summarizing 50 cases. Over time, the illness became internationally known by his name.

The cause of Kawasaki disease remains mysterious. Some contend it is triggered by viruses or bacteria, but there is no definitive evidence. Although it is generally considered treatable, it has been found to cause heart problems in some cases.

Children infected with COVID-19 in Europe and the U.S. have shown similar symptoms, prompting the World Health Organization to investigate. The Japanese Society of Kawasaki Disease, however, has so far confirmed no such cases within Japan.

After retiring from the Japan Red Cross Medical Center in 1990, Kawasaki was appointed director of the Japan Kawasaki Disease Research Center. He served as its chairman and honorary director.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends July 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media