Tribute to Prof. Kenji Tasaka (January 16, 1929 to October 7, 2018)

Kenji Tasaka

Professor Kenji Tasaka M.D. Ph.D. died on October 7, 2018, in Okayama, Japan.  As an outstanding researcher, a warm-hearted boss, and a severe but beloved father both in his family and in research, he left behind many excellent research publications and mentored many young students with his generosity and noble attitude.

Kenji was born on January 16, 1929, in Hagi, Yamaguchi, Japan. After graduating from Okayama University Medical School in 1952, his research carrier stared at the laboratory of Prof. Hidemasa Yamasaki, a founder of histamine research in Japan.  After several years of research in Okayama, Kenji became a research fellow at Mayo Clinic, U.S.A. in 1963, and then became a lecturer at Virginia Medical School in 1966 and developed many seeds of research which bloomed later in Japan.

After finishing studies in America, Kenji come back to Okayama University Medical School as an Associate Professor in Pharmacology in 1970. In 1976, he was promoted to Professor of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University.

Kenji’s research interests extended widely including immunology, allergology, hematology and neurology, but his main passion was histamine; histamine release from mast cells, histamine in allergy, histamine-induced neutrophil differentiation, histamine in learning and memory. As head of the laboratory, he led the research team and got many outstanding achievements. He awarded EHRS best presentation in 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990 and 1992. He awarded the Copernicus Medal from the Polish Academy of Science and an honorary membership of Polish Histamine Research Society.

In 1979, Kenji and the late Prof. Hiroshi Wada, Osaka University decided to organize an annual meeting on histamine research which led to the establishment of the Japanese Histamine Research Society.

In addition to his research work, as Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University, he also devoted himself to the management and development of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University.

To my dear father in histamine research, may you rest in peace.

Mitsunobu Mio