After studying for several years in Germany, Jujiro KOMOTO (1859-1938) returned to the Tokyo Imperial University and became the very first Professor of Ophthalmology in Japan (photograph courtesy of the Collections of the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Tokyo). Komoto also produced the three-volume Textbook of Ophthalmology, the first comprehensive textbook on the subject to be written originally in the Japanese language. Komoto served as the first President of the Japanese Ophthalmological Society.
Three prominent figures in the early history of the Japanese Ophthalmological Society were Takuji SUDA (1869-1941), Yoshiakira OHNISHI (1865-1932), and Genjiro KAWAKAMI (1864-1915) whose photographs are shown here from left to right (photograph courtesy of Dr. Kyoichiro Nonaka). It was these three friends who organized the establishment of the Japanese Ophthalmological Society in 1897, with 552 ophthalmologists from around the country agreeing to become founding members. Ohnishi later served as the chief editor of the society's official journal for thirty years until 1928.
The First Congress of the Japanese Ophthalmological Society was held in Tokyo from February 27 to March 1, 1897 and was attended by 95 members of the society. This photograph was taken of participants of this first Congress (photograph courtesy of Professor Yoshitaka Ohnishi).
Mikito TAKAYASU (1860-1938) was Professor of Ophthalmology as well as President of the Kanazawa University School of Medicine. In 1905, Takayasu was the first to describe retinal vascular abnormalities in association with aortitis, a disease which became known as Takayasu's disease or Takayasu's arteritis. The original drawing published by Takayasu is shown, depicting peculiar vessels in the fundus of a 22-year-old woman (Juzenkai Zasshi, volume 50, 1908, photograph courtesy of the Collections of the Department of Ophthalmology, Kanazawa University).
In 1907, Chuta OGUCHI (1875-1945) described a form of congenital stationary night blindness characterized by a peculiar gray-white discoloration of the retina, and this came to be known as Oguchi's disease. Oguchi was Professor of Ophthalmology at the Nagoya Imperial University from 1922 to 1939, and served as a Councilor of the International Council of Ophthalmology from 1924 to 1938 (photograph courtesy of Professor Yoshihisa Oguchi).
The different stages of this disease of bilateral panuveitis associated with neuroauditory and dermatological manifestations were described separately by three ophthalmologists. In 1907, Alfred Vogt of the University of Zurich reported on his findings of anterior segment inflammation in a patient with poliosis and vitiligo. In 1914, Yoshizo KOYANAGI (1880-1954, photograph courtesy of the Collections of the Department of Ophthalmology, Tohoku University) published his observations of a patient with both chronic anterior and posterior uveitis, as well as fundus atrophy. Koyanagi went on to become the first Professor of Ophthalmology at the Tohoku Imperial University. Then in 1926, Einosuke HARADA (1892-1946) published his series of patients with acute onset of bilateral exudative retinal detachments and choroiditis. The contributions of all three ophthalmologists are recognized by the international medical community by the use of their names in referring to the Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease. In addition, in 1978, Seiji SUGIURA published his observations of perilimbal depigmentation in these patients, the so-called Sugiura's sign. Sugiura went on to become Professor of Ophthalmology at Hokkaido University.
Shinobu ISHIHARA (1879-1963) was Professor of Ophthalmology at the Tokyo Imperial University between 1922 and 1941, and he was well-known for developing the Pseudo-Isochromatic Plates for Color Blindness, or the "Ishihara test," that is widely used today (photograph courtesy of the Collections of the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Tokyo). Ishihara donated proceeds from the Japanese and international editions he published of the Pseudo-Isochromatic Plates to establish a foundation, Isshinkai, supporting research in color vision.
This potential devastating retinal disorder now known to be caused by various herpes family viruses was first described in 1971 by Akira URAYAMA (1918-1992) and colleagues. They named the disease after their teacher Naganori KIRISAWA (1907-1980, photograph courtesy of the Collections of the Department of Ophthalmology, Tohoku University), Professor of Ophthalmology at Tohoku University. Urayama later became the first Professor of Ophthalmology at Akita University.
The History of Ophthalmology in Japan, Saiichi Mishima (ed.), Volume 10 in The History of Ophthalmology - The Monographs, Wayenborgh Publishing, Belgium 2004.