In Honor and Memory of the Legendary Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki

Jane W. Newburger, M.D., M.P.H.

Commonwealth Professor of Pediatrics,
Harvard Medical School,
Associate Chief for Academic Affairs,
Department of Cardiology, Boston Children's Hospital,
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Former IKDS President

I first met Dr. Kawasaki at the First International Kawasaki Disease Symposium organized by Marian Melish on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. I was only just learning about Kawasaki disease, and most of the others at the meeting were established experts. Dr. Kawasaki was warm and welcoming, humble, and fun-loving. He was excited to share his knowledge with Americans who were still learning, and curious to learn from others. He was also courageous in defending his observations against skeptics in the academic community. With these traits,
Dr. Kawasaki inspired academicians from around the world to improve the clinical care and research in Kawasaki disease. As a person, he was also engaging, gracious, and joyous in his enthusiasm for new people and places. He loved travel and was the life of every party. At each KD symposium, he was a rock star, surrounded by cameras snapping photographs of him together with meeting attendees who were vying for his attention. When meetings were in Japan, he was an extraordinary host, who made each guest feel welcome. Moreover, his warmth, openness and inclusiveness extended to residents, fellows, and junior faculty attending their first KD symposia, inspiring them to work in the field of Kawasaki disease. Dr. Kawasaki retained his passion to push the research agenda even when old age took its toll on his health, and he continued to deliver the kampai at the opening and closing of each symposium. Dr. Kawasaki was an iconic figure and a remarkable human being. We will miss his buoyancy, warmth, humility, and love for improved understanding of his namesake disease. He serves as a model for all of us who were privileged to know and work with him.

Dr. Kawasaki in photos

Drs. Kawasaki, Kato, and Newburger, 1999, Big Island of Hawaii, 6th International KD Symposium Opening Ceremony
Dr. Kawasaki and Newburger, 1995
Drs. Kawasaki and Jane Newburger at 10th International KD Symposium.
Dr. Kawasaki with faculty from Boston Children’s Hospital
(from left to right, Sarah de Ferranti, Olha Halyabar, Audrey Dionne,
David Fulton, Kevin Friedman, Annette Baker, and Jane Newburger)

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