#IAmNYAS: Fumio Eto

Though he’s nearing retirement, Fumio Eto, MD, PhD, is still hard at work in the field of geriatric medicine, while also making time to indulge his passion for Kabuki theater.

Published February 03, 2016

#IAmNYAS: Fumio Eto

Born and educated in Tokyo, Japan, Academy Member and Annals author, Fumio Eto, MD, PhD, still resides in his hometown. Today he is a practicing physician and an advisor to the National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities, where he served as the President for a number of years.

His continued commitment to his work hasn't slowed down at all after numerous publications, as well as teaching and professorial positions since the 1970s, primarily at the University of Tokyo. And in 2012, he co-authored a report with several colleagues that explored the implications of Japan's aging population:

"Recent medical advancements, and improvements in hygiene and food supply have led to Japan having the longest life expectancy in the world. Over the past 50 years, the percentage of the elderly population has increased fourfold from 5.7% in 1960 to 23.1% in 2010 ...  In such a situation, many elderly Japanese wish to spend their later years healthy, and wish to achieve great accomplishments in their lives. To achieve that, rather than considering an aging population as a negative social phenomenon, we should create a society where elderly people can enjoy a healthy, prosperous life through social participation and contribution."

Below, learn more about what Fumio is up to today.

What project are you currently working on?

I am engaged in a research project focused on the certification system that persons with disabilities use to become candidates for welfare and health services supplied by the government and local authorities.

What has been one of the most rewarding moments of your career?

In 2001, I established the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine in the Postgraduate School of Medicine at the University of Tokyo Hospital in 2001.

Who has been your biggest science inspiration?

Professor Bernard Isaacs in the Department of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Birmingham was my science inspiration. He gave me an exciting opportunity in a very difficult research environment, after our research budget disappeared in 1980 due to government cuts. I realized that our study could be executed in everyday clinical practices in spite of minimal research funding.

Tell us about one of your hobbies.

My hobby is to appreciate Kabuki theater. Every month my wife and I attend the Kabuki-za Theatre in Tokyo. One of my favorite Kabuki plays is Meiboku Sendai Hagi, which is about a real plot to take over one of the most famous Samurai households of the Edo era. [See Japanese prints inspired by this play here and here.]


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