of the Japan Neurosurgical Society

Keiji SANO

Before the war, professors of general surgery sporadically performed neurosurgery in Japan as was the case in Western countries. After the war, the time was ripe to establish an academic society of neurosurgery. During the Niigata meeting of the Japan Surgical Society with Mizuho Nakata, professor at Niigata University (1893-1975), as the president in May 1948, professors passionately interested in this field assembled on May 3 to establish the Japan Neurosurgical Study Group and officially held the first general meeting in the auditorium of Niigata University on May 4. Founding members of the study group were Mizuho Nakata (president of the Japan Surgical Society), Makoto Saito from Nagoya University (1889-1950), Chisato Araki from Kyoto University (1901-1976), Kentaro Shimizu from the University of Tokyo (1903-1987), and medical office personnel Shigeo Watanabe, Kiyoaki Furusawa (Nagoya University), and Keiji Sano (Tokyo University). Makoto Saito was selected as the president. Twenty-six subjects were presented at the first meeting.
The Japan Neurosurgical Study Group became the Japan Neurosurgical Society at the 24th meeting in October 1965 after the above law was put into effect.
The Department of Neurosurgery was established for the first time in June 1, 1951 at the University of Tokyo Hospital as a medical department officially approved by the Ministry of Education. Subsequently, in September 1951, the Third Course of Surgical Medicine, which had been vacant since 1893, became a part of this department. Professor Kentaro Shimizu, head of the First Course of Surgical Medicine, concurrently held the post in the Department of Neurosurgery and the Third Course of Surgical Medicine. The Third Course of Surgical Medicine was established with Julius Scriba who was still in office (never an official professor because of foreign nationality) when the course system was introduced in Japan for the first time in 1893 and had long been vacant since then. In December 1962, Keiji Sano became a professor of the Third Course of Surgical Medicine with a limit on the number of students and was simultaneously appointed the head of the Department of Neurosurgery. On April 1, 1963, the Third Course of Surgical Medicine became the Course of Neurosurgery, and both the course and department were officially approved by the Ministry of Education. Eleven years had been passed since the establishment of the Department of Neurosurgery in 1951.
On the other hand, the Second Course of Surgery at Niigata University derived from the First Course of Surgery by Professor Mizuho Nakata in 1953, and Nakata was a professor of the course, which was deemed a neurosurgical course. In reality, however, these two courses used one surgery classroom. In August 1957, Komei Ueki took a post in the Second Course of Surgery. Then, in 1962, the Division of Neurosurgery was established within the Neurosurgical Research Institute, the predecessor to the Brain Research Institute, where Ueki moved from the Second Course of Surgery, and became the Neurosurgical Class both in name and reality. Before long, a neurosurgery course and division were established at Keio University (Professor Tatsuyuki Kudo) in 1963, as well as at Kyoto University (Professor Hajime Handa) and other universities. Since the inclusion of neurosurgery in the medical departments stipulated in Article 70 of the Medical Service Act, departments of neurosurgery were also established in general hospitals. Now, all university and major hospitals have a department of neurosurgery, and the members of the Japan Neurosurgical Society have rapidly increased.
To improve the quality of members, the 25th meeting of the Japan Neurosurgical Society (president: Tatsuyuki Kudo) in 1966 decided on the second day of the meeting (October 14) that a board certification system or certification system for physicians specializing should be inaugurated by the society as with Western societies, and the preparatory committee for the first certification system (president: Keiji Sano) was established by 14 dedicated professors from the departments of neurosurgery at that time (Teruyoshi Hashiba, Komei Ueki, Keiji Sano, Tatsuyuki Kudo, Hajime Handa, Mitsuo Tsuru, Nobuo Moriyasu, Shunshiro Kondo, Tetsuro Miwa, Naoki Kageyama, Katsutoshi Kitamura, Akira Nishimoto, Shinjiro Yamamoto, and Hiroshi Fukai). These 14 professors were certificated as certified physicians first, and draft regulations on the certification system were prepared at the same time. The first review meeting was held on August 31, 1967. A certificate was exceptionally provided to eight certified physicians (Mizuho Nakata, Chisato Araki, Kentaro Shimizu, Shigetsugu Katsura, Yoshio Ozawa, Hiroshi Takebayashi, Yoshito Asano, and Masaru Kuru) who were considered pioneers in neurosurgery in Japan and who had successively been presidents of the Japan Neurosurgical Society. Including those listed above, 22 physicians were certificated. Additionally, 186 certified physicians were selected for certification from those recommended by the Certification Committee members among the councilors of the Japan Neurosurgical Society, heads of training institutions, and those recommended by the heads of training institutions. After a transient period in 1968, all applicants have been obligated to undergo written and oral examinations since 1969.
Subsequently, “certified physician” was changed to “Board certified member.” Since the number of Board certified member totaled several thousands, the Japanese Congress of Neurological Surgeons was established to offer lifelong education for the Board certified members, and the first meeting was held in February 1981.
Meetings of the International Neurological Congress had been held every four years since 1931. As neurosurgery developed in countries after World War II, neurosurgeons wanted their own international society and, thus, assembled in Brussels on September 4 and 5, 1955, to establish the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) and to convene the first meeting of the International Congress of Neurological Surgery (ICNS) with Sir Geoffrey Jefferson from the U.K. as president in July 1957. The Japan Neurosurgical Society also took part as a member society.
The standard of neurosurgery in Japan started being appreciated in the world. Keiji Sano became the fifth president of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (first president, Sir Geoffrey Jefferson; second, Paul C Bucy; third, Eduard Busch; and fourth, AE Walker) from 1969 to 1973. In October 1973, the last year of his four-year term, Sano held the fifth meeting of the International Congress of Neurological Surgery in Tokyo with his secretary, Shozo Ishii. It is true that the frequency of publications of papers written by Japanese neurosurgeons has increased since this meeting. The international academic meeting has had a president for each of the WFNS and the ICNS since the sixth meeting (1973-1977) because the tasks of these two bodies were too many for one president. Edward Laws was appointed the president of the 13th meeting (2001-2005) of the WFNS, and Marrakech (Morocco) was chosen as the venue for the meeting of the ICNS in 2005. The president of the 14th meeting (2005-2009) of the WFNS is Jacques Brotchi from Belgium, and Boston will be the venue for the meeting of the ICNS in 2009.

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