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Kunio Okuda

Born  1921
Died  2003

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Japanese physician, born May 21, 1921; died February 2, 2003.

Biography of Kunio Okuda

A short biography of Kunio Okuda:

Kunio Okuda began his medical training at the age of 17. He received his MD from Manchuria Medical College in 1944. He then took the post of Research Fellow at the Chiba University School of Medicine before becoming Assistant Professor at the Yamaguchi Medical College in 1951. This also marked the beginning of a ten year connection with the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene, firstly as a Fellow in Medicine and Biochemistry and subsequently, in 1958, as Assistant Professor of Biochemistry.

In 1963 Okuda was made Professor of Medicine at Kurume University and held that tenure until he took up the equivalent post at Chiba University in 1971. He later became the Emeritus Professor of Medicine there.

Okuda has served terms as President for both the International Association of for the Study of the Liver, and the Asian-Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver. In 1982 he became Vice President for the Organization Mondiale de Gastro-Enterologie, later becoming an Honorary President in 1988. He has also served as President of the International Congress on Vitamins and Related Biofactors.

He has served on the Editorial Board of Hepatology in the capacity of Associate Editor, and as Editor of the Journal of Hepatology and the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, as well as an Associate Editor for Seminars in Liver Disease.

In 1990 Professor Okuda received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Association for the Study of the Liver, and in 1998 the Bokus Medal from the World Congress of Gastroenterology.

(From the website of zoominfo: http://www.zoominfo.com/Search/PersonDetail.aspx?PersonID=67122858)

One of our contributors, William Charles Caccamise Sr, was a close friend of Kunio Okuda from 1948 until Okuda's death from prostatic cancer in 2003. Dr. Okuda was involved with Dr. Caccamise in the initial report of Takayasu's Disease in the American eye literature (American Journal of Ophthalmology). Okuda and Caccamise introduced the term Takayasu's disease.

Caccamise writes this about his friend Kunio Okuda, MD, PhD:

"Dr. Okuda and I were close friends from 1948, when I was Military Public Health Officer-in-Charge of Chiba Prefecture, until his death in 2003. Among many things, he was an outstanding hepatologist. He was particularly interested in techniques of imaging diagnosis, and among other instruments, he designed the "Chiba needle" - also known as the "Okuda needle" or the " Okuda-Chiba needle" for percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography. Through modesty he preferred that his invention be referred to as the Chiba liver-biopsy needle.

He was the perpetual scholar. While studying an outbreak of tularemia in Chiba Prefecture (Japan) in 1948-1949, he intentionally infected himself to better evaluate blood titers and other aspects of the disease. "

Obituary of Kunio Okuda by Francisco Vilardell:
From William Charles Caccamise Sr we also received this obituary of Kunio Okuda by Francisco Vilardell, Honorary President of OMGE (O.M.G.E. Organisation Mondiale de Gastro-Entérologie).

"I first met Kunio Okuda in 1953, when we were both taking an introductory course on American culture at Columbia University in New York, as part of our Fulbright scholarships. It was the beginning of a long friendship. After the 2-month course, Okuda went to Johns Hopkins University, where he worked for several years doing research on vitamin B12 and was awarded a Ph.D. After publishing several important papers on his thesis topic, he returned to Japan, where he was soon appointed professor at Kurume University, and a few years later at Chiba University, where he remained for the rest of his career. At Chiba University Hospital, he established a center for the study of hepatic disease that earned him wide international recognition. He was a tremendous worker and left an outstanding legacy both in the fields of hepatology and hematology - as shown by his 553 published papers in English and 14 books on a variety of subjects such as idiopathic portal hypertension, hepatocellular carcinoma, intrahepatic lithiasis, and imaging techniques in hepatobiliary disease.

Among his scientific achievements, particular mention should be given to his research on vitamin B12; his original technique for isolating intestinal loops in the rabbit to study intestinal absorption; and his investigations on liver cancer and other hepatic diseases. He was particularly interested in techniques of imaging diagnosis, and among other instruments, he designed the "Chiba needle" for percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography.

An organized man
Kunio Okuda played an important role in the International Association for the Study of the Liver (IASL), of which he was president from 1978 to 1980. He received the IASL's Distinguished Service Award in 1990. He was also very active in the Asian-Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL), of which he was President in 1980-1982. From 1996 to 2002, he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. He also contributed substantially to OMGE, of which he was Vice-President in 1982-1986. In 1998, he was awarded the Bockus Medal by the OMGE's Governing Council, and he gave the Bockus Lecture at the World Congress of Gastroenterology held in Vienna in 1998. He also received honors in his own country; the Emperor of Japan nominated him a Commander of the prestigious Order of the Rising Sun.

Kunio had an excellent command of English, which enabled him to edit several manuals and audio devices on medical English for Japanese physicians. He traveled a great deal, and visited 83 different countries, while himself welcoming many distinguished leaders in the fields of hepatology and gastroenterology to Chiba. He was a man with wide cultural interests, an expert fisherman, an able wildlife photographer, and an accomplished violinist who was capable of giving concerts of Mozart violin sonatas (when we were in New York together, he used to play the violin for me in the evenings).

He leaves an important scientific as well as human legacy. His son Hiroaki and daughter Keiko are both physicians. During the last months of his life, when he was bearing with fortitude the severe pain caused by his terminal condition, he was able to finish his autobiography, which has just been published by his son Hiroaki. He was an example to all of us, and he will not be easily forgotten by his many friends and students.


  • Bacon F. Chow, Jack P. Gilbert, Kunio Okuda, and Charles Rosenblum:
    The Urinary Excretion Test for Absorption of Vitamin B12: I. Reproducibility of results and agewise variation.
    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Bethesda, 1956, 4: 142-146.
  • Bacon F. Chow, William L. Williams, Kunio Okuda, and Ralph Grasbeck:
    The Urinary Excretion Test for Absorption of Vitamin B12: II. Effect of crude and purified intrinsic factor preparation.
    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1956, 4: 147-150.
  • Bacon F. Chow, Andrew Horonick, and Kunio Okuda:
    Effect of an Elixir on the Absorption of Vitamin B12 by Healthy Young and Old Subjects. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1956, 4: 434-439.
  • Kunio Okuda, Andre E. Helliger, and Bacon F. Chow:
    Vitamin B12 Serum Level and Pregnancy.
    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1956, 4: 440-443.
  • Kunio Okuda:
    Vitamin B12 absorption in rats, studied by a ‘loop’ technique.
    American Journal of Physiology, Washington, 1960, 199: 84-90.
  • Victor Tantengco, Kunio Okuda, and Bacon F. Chow:
    Effect of Repeated Urinary Excretion Test of Vitamin B12 and Coenzyme in Rats.
    The Journal of New Drugs, New York, 1961, 1: 256.,
  • Kunio Okuda:
    Starvation and Renal Uptake of Vitamin B12. Nature, July 21, 1962, 195: 292-293.
  • Kunio Okuda1 and Katsumi Sasayama:
    Intestinal distribution of intrinsic factor and vitamin B12 absorption.
    American Journal of Physiology, 1965, 208: 14-17.
  • Kunio Okuda, Isao Takara and Terumi Fujii:
    Absorption of Liver-bound Vitamin B12 in Relation to Intrinsic Factor.
    Blood, 1968, 32: 313-323.
  • Kunio Okuda:
    Accentual systems in the Japanese dialects: A generative approach.
    Bunka Hyoron Publishing, 1975. 304 pages.
  • Kunio Okuda, Kazurs Kotoda, Hiroshi Obata et al:
    Clinical observations during a relatively early stage of hepatocellular carcinoma, with special reference to serum alpha-foetoprotein levels.
    Gastroenterology 1975, 69: 226-234.
  • Kunio Okuda:
    Radiological aspects of the liver and biliary tract: X-ray and radioisotope diagnosis.
    Distributed by Year Book Medical Publishers,. 1st edition 1976. 578 pages.
  • Hideki Ohkubo, Kunio Okuda, Kenichi Takayasu, Hirotaka Musha, Teruhiko Hara and Takeshi Hirashima:
    Cruveilhier-Baumgarten syndrome presenting with precordial murmur and thrill. Report of a case diagnosed by percutaneous transhepatic portography.
    Digestive Diseases and Sciences, May 1978, 23 (5): 65-68.
  • K. Okuda:
    Thin needle percutaneous transhepatic cholagiography – historical review (editorial). Endoscopy, 1980, 12: 2-7.
  • Akira Sano, Yasumasa Kuroda, Fuminori Moriyasu, Ytaka Takahashi, Shunzo Koizumi, Shuji Kimura, Kunio Okuda:
    Porto-pulmonary Venous Anastomosis in Portal Hypertension Demonstrated by Percutaneous Transhepatic Cine-Portography.
    Radiology, August 1982, 144: 479-484.
  • Kunio Okuda, Masao Omata, editors:
    Idiopathic Portal Hypertension : Proceedings of the International Symposium on Idiopathic Portal Hypertension July 15-17 1982 Tokyo Japan.
    Tokyo University Press, 1983.
  • Kunio Okuda:
    Okuda Intrahepatic Calculi. John Wiley & Sons, 1984. 352 pages.
  • Kunio Okuda:
    Idiopathic Portal Hypertension. University of Tokyp Press, 1984. 606 pages.
  • Motohide Takashi, Masahiro Igarashi, Shinichi Hino, Nobuaki Goto and Kunio Okuda:
    Chronic portal-systemic encephalopathy with normal portal vein pressure possibly due to noncirrhotic portal fibrosis.
    Digestive Diseases and Sciences, July 1984, 29 (7): 669-673.
  • Osamu Yokosuka, Masao Omata, Yi-Zhong Zhou, Fumio Imazeki, Kunio Okuda:
    Duck Hepatitis B Virus DNA in Liver and Serum of Chinese Ducks: Integration of Viral DNA in a Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, August 1, 1985, 82 (15): 5180-5184
  • K. Okuda, T. Ohtsuki, H. Obata, M. Tomimatsu, N. Okazaki, H. Hasegawa, Y. Nakajima, K. Ohnishi:
    Natural history of hepatocellular carcinoma and prognosis in relation to treatment. A study of 850 patients. Cancer, August 15, 1985, 56 (4).918-928.
  • Kunio Okuda:
    Neoplasms of the Liver. Springer, 1987. 420 pages.
  • Fumio Nomura, Kurihiko, Kunio Okuda:
    Obesity related non alcoholic fatty liver - CT features and follow up studies after low calorie diet. Radiology 1987, 162: 845-847.
  • Fumio ImazekI, Katsuyuki Yaginuma, Masao Omate, Kunio Okuda, Midori Kobayashi, and Katsuro Koike:
    Integrated Structures of Duck Hepatitis B Virus DNA in Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
    Journal of Virology, March 1988, 62 (3): 861-865.
  • Kunio Okuda, Takayoshi Tobe, and Tomoyuki Kitagawa:
    Early Detection and Treatment of Liver Cancer. (Gann Monograph on Cancer Research). Taylor & Francis 1991. 236 pages.
  • Kunio Okuda and Jean-Pierre Benhamou, editors:
    Portal Hypertension: Clinical and Physiological Aspects.
    Springer-Verlag, 1991. 569 pages.
  • K. Okuda, H. Hayashi, S. Kobayashi, Y. Irie:
    Mode of hepatitis C infection not associated with blood transfusion among chronic hemodialysis patients.
    Journal of Hepatology, Copenhagen, 1995, 23: 28-31.
  • K. Okuda, H. Hayashi, K. Yokozeki, T. Kondo, T.Kashhima, Y. Irie:
    Interferon treatment for chronic hepatitis C in haemoduialysis patients: suggestions based on a small series.
    Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 1995, 10: 616-620.
  • Kunio Okuda and Edward Tabor, editors:
    Liver Cancer. W. B. Saunders Company. Churchill Livingstone, 1997. 552 pages.
  • H. Hayashi, K. Okuda, O. Yokosuka, Kobayashi, K. Yokozeki, Y. Ohtake, Y. Irie:
    Adsorption of hepatitis C virus particles onto the dialyzer membrane.
    Artificial Organs, Malden, Massachusetts, 1997, 21: 1056-1059.
  • K. Okuda, T. Kanda, O. Yokosuka, H. Hayashi, K. Yokozeki, Y. Ohtake Y, Irie:
    GB virus-C infection among chronic haemodialysis patients: clinical implications.
    Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 1997, 12: 766-770.
  • T. Ikeuchi, K. Okuda, O. Yokosuka, T. Kanda, S. Kobayashi S, M. Murata, H. Hayashi, K. Yokozeki, Y. Ohtake, T. Kashima, Y. Irie:
    Super-infection of TT virus and hepatitis C virus among chronic haemodialysis patients. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 1999, 14: 796-800.
  • Kunio Okuda, Donald G. Mitchell, Yuji Itai, and Joe Ariyama, editors:
    Hepatobiliary Diseases: Pathophysiology and Imaging. Blackwell Science Ltd., 2001. 764 pages.
  • Kunio Okuda , Yasuni Nakanuma , Masaru Miyazaki
    Cholangiocarcinoma: recent progress. Part 2: molecular pathology and treatment.
    Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, October 2002, 17: 1056-1063.
  • Masahiro Arakawa, Takao Masuzaki, Kunio Okuda:
    Pathology of fundic varices of the stomach and rupture.
    Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, October 2002, 17: 1064-1069.
  • Kunio Okuda:
    Obliterative hepatocavopathy-inferior vena cava thrombosis at its hepatic portion.
    Hepatobiliary & pancreatic diseases international, Qingchunru, Hangzhou, China, November 2002, 1: 499-509
  • Kunio Okuda:
    Where we go with hepatocellular carcinoma: past, present, and future perspectives. Journal of hepato-biliary-pancreatic surgery, Tokyo, 2002, 9: 683-685.
  • Kunio Okuda:
    Non-cirrhotic portal hypertension versus idiopathic portal hypertension.
    Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, December 2002, 17 Supplement 3: 204-213.
  • Kunio Okuda:
    Past hepatitis studies in Japan.
    Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, December 2002, 17 Supplement: 506-507.
  • Masahiro Arakawa, Takao Masuzaki, Kunio Okuda:
    Pathomorphology of Esophageal and Gastric Varices.
    Seminars in Liver Disease, New York, 2002, 22: 073-082.
  • Shozo Iwamoto, Hayato Sanefuji, Kunio Okuda:
    Angiographic subsegmentectomy for the treatment of patients with small hepatocellular carcinoma. Cancer, February 15, 2003, 97: 1051-1056.
  • Shozo Iwamoto, Hayato Sanefuji, Kunio Okuda:
    Computed tomography angiographic findings in hepatocellular carcinoma less than 2 cm detected during follow-up in 29 patients.
    Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, September 2003, 18; 1076-1080.
  • Kunio Okuda, Nobuyuki Sigiura, Osamu Matsui:
    Hepatobiliary and pancreatic: A boy with anorexia and an abnormal gallbladder.
    Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2003, 18 (6): 739.
  • Kunio Okuda, Susumu Kobayashi, Kazuaki Nakajima, Yoshio Ohtake, Yasubumi Irie:
    Fat droplets around the liver and spleen.
    Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Melbourne, October 2003, 18: 1223-1224
  • Kunio Okuda, Osamu Yokosuka
    Natural history of chronic hepatitis C in patients on hemodialysis: case control study with 4-23 years of follow-up.
    World journal of gastroenterology, August 1, 2004, 10: 2209-2212. Biographical etc.
  • Paul D. Berk:
    Obituary: Professor Kunio Okuda. Hepatology, 2003, 37 (6): 1237-1238.
  • Kunio Okuda 21 May 1921 – 2 February 2003.
    Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, June 2003, 18 (6): 611-612.
  • Francisco Vilardell:
    Kunio Okuda, 1921-2003.

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