Japanese Society of Kawasaki Disease: Our Culture

Japanese Society of Kawasaki Disease is an academic society dedicated to a single disease Kawasaki disease, which was discovered by the late Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki, and is a unique academic meeting of clinicians and researchers in multiple fields of medicine.

Fifty-five years, as of in 2022, have passed since the late Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki (passed away in June 2020) first reported Kawasaki disease in 1967. The first meeting of Japanese Study Group of Kawasaki Disease was held in 1981. The first meeting of the International Kawasaki Disease Symposium, a meeting of Kawasaki disease researchers around the world, was held in 1983. In 2009, Japanese Study Group of Kawasaki Disease was transformed into an academic society, Japanese Society of Kawasaki Disease, as a voluntary organization. In 2021, the 41st annual meeting of the Society and the 13th meeting of the International Kawasaki Disease Symposium, which is held every 2-3 years, were held. On December 1, 2021, Japanese Society of Kawasaki Disease transferred from a voluntary organization to a general incorporated association with the corporate status.

Japanese Society of Kawasaki Disease is an internationally unique society, based on the large number of cases, the acute care based on a high level of recognition of the disease, the experience in long-term follow-up until adulthood, and research achievements based on these experiences. The etiology of this disease is still unknown, and is the most important issue for our society. For this reason, research work is conducted by researchers and medical professionals in multiple disciplines and fields, including infectious immunology, genetics, vascular biology, pathology, epidemiology, clinical, socioeconomic and biopsychosocial issues related to diagnosis and treatment, and the medical transition in the life stage-based tailored medicine (lifelong medicine) for coronary sequelae.

In the epidemic of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which has become a problem in Japan and in the world after 2020, the disease called Kawasaki disease may be frequently heard of in the society. In 2020, COVID-19-associated multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a Kawasaki disease-like disease, was first reported from U.S. and Europe and has become a hot topic. MIS-C has been reported in Japan, albeit in small numbers, and has become an issue in the society. The deep understanding of the clinical and mechanistic aspects of MIS-C may lead to the promotion of the practice and research of Kawasaki disease at the same time and is therefore a new challenge for our academic society. In addition, a nationwide survey of Kawasaki disease revealed that the incidence of Kawasaki disease decreased dramatically in 2020. This is presumed to be due to the impact of national-level infectious disease control measures and provides a new insight into research on this disease. Furthermore, although face-to-face meetings among members have decreased, there are more opportunities for researchers to interact with each other online or on exchange websites, which should promote a different mode of personnel exchange, especially in our academic society with international communication. Furthermore, with the recent enactment of the Basic Act on Child Health and Development and the Basic Act on Countermeasures against Stroke and Cardiovascular Diseases, social contributions of the academic society are being expected. It will be important for the academic society to promote and educate the general public, interact with patients and their families, and collaborate with related academic societies and local research groups, as well as to release scientific information to medical professionals and to develop human resources. It is hoped that the Society’s contribution to the general public through its academic activities will ultimately lead to the promotion of research and resources in Kawasaki disease.

Finally, I would like to introduce the legacy of the late Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki, the discoverer of Kawasaki disease, which we would like to pass on to the next generation, as ‘Our Culture’ and ‘the gene’ of our academic society: