In Memoriam: Morimichi Fukuda (1929–2021)

      Dr. Morimichi Fukuda passed away on April 1, 2021. We express our deepest condolences to his family and friends and express our sincere gratitude to him for his contributions.
      Here, I review Professor Fukuda's career and achievements and remember the deceased. Professor Fukuda was born in Sapporo, Japan, on June 20, 1929. After graduating from Hokkaido University School of Medicine in 1953, he completed an internship at the Sapporo Medical University Hospital in 1954 and served as a research assistant in the Department of Internal Medicine, Clinical Division of the Cancer Research Institute, where he was appointed Assistant Professor. From 1958 to 1960, he conducted cancer immunity research at the University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA. He conducted biochemical research on cachexia syndrome in cancer patients and served as a clinician at the Department of Internal Medicine, Cancer Institute, Sapporo Medical University, as the Associate Professor. He was appointed Professor at the Department of Diagnostic Ultrasound and Electronics, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, in 1984.
      Using high-frequency probes to improve spatial resolution, Professor Fukuda contributed to the development of an ultrasonic laparoscope and an endoscope that aided in the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma. He felt the need to observe and record a lesion from a short distance to obtain a superior diagnostic image. In addition, he aimed to observe upper gastrointestinal lesions. This transmucosal endoscopic ultrasonography method is used to study the submucosal invasion of early gastric cancer, submucosal tumor, adjacent hepatobiliary and pancreatic lesions and superior mesenteric artery lesions. Transesophageal ultrasonography is now widely used to image left atrioventricular lesions and mediastinal lesions.
      Professor Fukuda employed an automatic scanning device with long-focus ultrasound probes, developed by Dr. George Kossoff, to compare the manual acquisition of 2-D ultrasound images that often depended on the diagnostic technique of the examiner. The clinical usefulness of the ultrasonic diagnostic device, the Octoson, was examined. With a limit to the size of the scanning cross-section, the electronic real-time automatic scanner was realized and is widely used today. The images acquired by modern ultrasonic devices were compared with those acquired with other modalities such as X-ray and computed tomography. Professor Fukuda led the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare project entitled, "Research on Multimodality Imaging in the Diagnosis of Cancer," which developed diagnostic equipment and performed multicenter research on diagnostic image interpretation methods, accuracy and efficacy. He paved the way for standardization of measurements of objective evaluations of individual differences in image interpretation ability.
      Professor Fukuda was Chairman of the International Exchange Committee of the Japan Society of Ultrasonics in Medicine from 1988 to 1992, Vice Chairman from 1992 to 1994 and a committee member from 1996 to 1998. He was also President of the World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (WFUMB) from 1991 to 1994 and chaired the WFUMB94 Sapporo Congress in July 2014. He was a laureate of a Special Prize by the Japan Society of Ultrasonics in Medicine for ultimate discovery in medical ultrasonology in 2003. After retiring from Sapporo Medical University, he was an active professor emeritus and trained younger generations of physicians. We believe that these achievements will remain in the future education, clinical and social activities of many people who have been influenced by his activities. Dr. Fukuda was conferred the imperial decoration in recognition of his contribution to the academic world posthumously in 2021.


      English translation was provided by Iwaki Akiyama with feedback from Hiroshi Natori.