Only a few fortunate doctors have had the privilege to read the so-called “Okuda Papers,” which is probably the most comprehensive piece of work ever written about hair transplantation by a single physician. The articles, published in 1939, were written using old kanji (Japanese pictographs) and so are unintelligible in part to modern Japanese medical readers. Because of the outbreak of World War II, this seminal work remained virtually unknown outside Japan. Eventually, the Okuda papers were re-discovered and translated into English in 2004 by Dr. Yoshihiro Imagawa (a retired gynecologist trained in the US, father of the Japanese hair transplant surgeon Kenichiro Imagawa).
The scientific papers of Okuda could have changed the history of hair transplantation. Okuda should be recognized not only as a true innovator but also as a fine example of how a meticulous researcher should work. It is a shame that such outstanding research remained unavailable to most dermatologists, hair surgeons and hair researchers for more than 70 years. We hope that this series of articles included in this web page serves as a belated tribute to the figure of this exceptional scientist, and contributes to the divulgation of his work.
Article about Dr. Okuda, by Shigeki Inui, MD, PhD, 2009:Inui S, Itami S: Dr. Shoji Okuda (1886-1962): The great pioneer of punch graft hair transplantation.J Dermatol36:561-562, 2009
Article about Okuda Papers, by Francisco Jimenez, MD and Richard C. Shiell, MBBS, 2015:Jimenez, F, Shiell, R: The Okuda Papers: an extraordinary – but unfortunately unrecognized – piece of work that could have changed the history of hair transplantation.Experimental Dermatology2015; 24: 185-6.
Tribute to Okuda at ISHRS 23rd Annual Scientific Meeting
Featured Lecture: A Tribute to the Okuda Papers
Presented on Sept. 10, 2015, Chicago
16:29 running time
Francisco Jimenez, MD, FISHRS
2015 Manfred Lucas Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr. Shoji Okuda
Presented on Sept. 12, 2015, Chicago
Acceptance by grandson, Prof. Takahiko Okuda. In attendance also were Dr. Shoji Okuda’s great granddaughters, Yumi Okuda and Mai Okuda.
Prof. Takahiko Okuda giving acceptance speech on behalf of his late grandfather.
L to R: Yumi Okuda, Takahiko Okuda, Dow Stough-ISHRS Founder, Sharon Keene-2014-15 ISHRS President
Citation of “Okuda Papers”: Okuda S. Clinical and experimental studies of transplantation of living hairs. Jpn J Dermatol Urol 1939; 46: 537-587 (in Japanese).
English Translations of Okuda Papers
Original Okuda Papers in Old Kanji from 1939
We gratefully acknowledge Japanese Dermatological Association for providing permission and the scans of the original Okuda Papers.