Department of Neuropsychiatry Kyushu University

Department of Neuropsychiatry Graduate School of Medical Sciences Kyushu University 


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更新日 2018-07-03 | 作成日 2008-03-25

Department of Neuropsychiatry at Kyushu University
Its 100-year history

The Department of Neuropsychiatry at Kyushu University opened as a department for psychosis on April 23, 1906, three years following the establishment of the Kyoto Imperial University Fukuoka School of Medicine (precursor of Kyushu Imperial University). Yasusaburo Sakaki, who had been an associate professor at Tokyo Imperial University, was introduced as the first professor. In 2006, the Department commemorated its 100th anniversary, a century to the day after its opening. The membership register of the Department of Psychiatry at Kyushu University, which began with Sakaki, now lists approximately 800 members in chronological order.
Because the University did not initially have its own hospital, Tokyo Sugamo Hospital (then director, Dr. Shuzo Kure), the precursor of Tokyo Metropolitan Matsuzawa Hospital, was used for field training. A magnificent campus, consisting of a wooden two-story main building and wards, was subsequently built. This elegant structure was later featured by Kyusaku Yumeno as the setting for Dogra Magra, and still exudes the atmosphere of its early days. The Department of Psychiatry, which was surrounded by a brick wall and occupied a large area that included tennis courts and a baseball field, became a world of its own.
Sakaki was the youngest brother of Hajime Sakaki, who was the first professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Tokyo. Yasusaburo Sakaki was a brilliant scholar who gave highly challenging lectures and whose talents extended beyond the realm of psychiatry and into music. He is known for his longstanding friendship with Albert Einstein, who he met at a music store in Berlin while studying abroad in Germany, and for founding the Kyushu University Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1925, Mitsuzo Shimoda, who had been a professor at Keio University, became the second professor. Shimoda’s arrival marked the beginning of a golden era that lasted for over 20 years. During this era, Shimoda and his study group made several major achievements, such as the discovery of “immodithymie” and research on the neuropathology of schizophrenia in addition to continuous sleep treatment and electric convulsive therapy. This academic culture became known as the Southwest Japanese School.
Among those conducting empirical research on immodithymie under Shimoda’s guidance was Shuzo Naka (a lecturer at Kyushu University at the time), who would later become the third professor. Naka became a psychiatry professor at Taihoku Imperial University after studying abroad in Europe and the United States, and formed the basis of psychiatry in Taiwan. Although he later returned to Kyushu University, neurochemistry was still in its early stages in Japan at the time, and spirited psychiatrists such as Naka thus collaborated with brain scientists to conduct brain research in search of the causes of psychiatric disorders.
Shortly after the discovery of chlorpromazine, Tsunao Sakurai, a professor at the University of Tokushima, took over the position. Sakurai immediately began research on psychopharmacology, and personally amassed achievements related to neurosis, particularly war neurosis. As a well-balanced and prominent clinician with outstanding interview skills, he was placed alongside Nishimaru as leaders in the field psychiatry in Western and Eastern Japan, respectively. Southwest Japan School has since become a base for psychotherapy and psychopathology.
During the next quarter of a century, Hiroyuki Nakao and Nobutada Tashiro served as professors and made notable advancements in a diverse range of fields in psychiatry. Despite taking office amidst the chaos of the student movement, Hiroyuki Nakao led research in brain physiology and made remarkable findings, including evidence that the hypothalamus played a central role in emotions. Nobutada Tashiro advanced research on connections between the mind and body in the field of emotion research. In addition, he significantly developed Morita therapy, the importance of which had been recognized by Shimoda, to the extent that it is now commonly associated with Jikei University as well as Kyushu University.
The 100-year course of the Department of Neuropsychiatry at Kyushu University has been summarized as above with introductions of past professors. Over the course of its history, the Department of Psychiatry at Kyushu University has produced numerous graduates with unique talents and characters, and established itself as the pioneer of psychiatry and psychiatric medicine in Japan. The achievements of our graduates over the past century have been firmly etched in the contents of today’s psychiatry and psychiatric medicine. It would be impossible to note every activity in our history, and the above summary only contains a limited selection of events involving a limited number of individuals. We hope that the countless gaps can be covered by the memories of members in the field of psychiatry. Finally, let us ask ourselves again what achievements we can leave behind for future generations, and point our compass toward another 100-year course in our history.