Asian and Oceanian Outstanding Achievement Epilepsy Award (AOEA) 2021

Yoshiaki Mayanagi

Prof. Yoshiaki Mayanagi is an outstanding epileptologist and epilepsy surgeon, highly respected by current leaders of epilepsy field in Japan as well as adjacent countries in Asia and Oceanian Region.

After graduation from the University of Tokyo in 1963, he started neurosurgical training and epilepsy research under Professor Keiji Sano, the President of World Federation of Neurosurgery in 1960s there. The title of his doctoral thesis was 'DC potential in epilepsy', a topic much ahead of the current time. He was then engaged in experimental research on temporal lobe epilepsy under Professor AE Walker at Johns Hopkins University. After 3 years of clinical work in Steglitz Hosptial of Berlin Free University, he came back to Japan in 1976 and became a director of neurosurgery in Tokyo Metropolitan Police Hospital.

He was filled with hope and plans to develop epilepsy surgery program in Japan but was confronted with a difficult situation. Epilepsy surgery had become a target of the student activism against academia in 1970s. Against all odds, he started and continued epilepsy surgery in the most difficult era of 1980s and 1990s. There were only a few epilepsy surgeons who performed epilepsy surgery during this period in Japan and he was literally a light of hope for patients, epilepsy physicians and following neurosurgeons.

While mentoring many young neurosurgeons, he worked enthusiastically for academic societies in epilepsy fields in Japan. He was a president of 9th annual meeting of the Epilepsy Surgery Society of Japan (formerly Penfield Memorial Symposium) in 1986 and devoted himself as its secretary general until 2004. He also served as a member of the board of directors for Japan Epilepsy Society from 1990 to 2006, particularly as in charge of international affairs, and was a president of 34th annual meeting of the society in 2000. Internationally, he served as a primary vice president of ILAE in 1980s. He also was a member of Elections Commission and Regional Affairs Committee, ILAE and the board of directors of AOEO, ILAE. He served as a member of editorial board for ILAE's official journal Epilepsia.