Yukio Fukuyama

1928 – 2014

Dr. Yukio Fukuyama passed away peacefully at his home on Thursday, July 17, 2014, due to pneumonia. He had experienced a dramatic recovery from surgery in April 2012 for intracranial bleeding in the right putamen. He had decided to undergo surgery after receiving a full explanation, employing pictures, from the operating neurosurgeons, myself and a young colleague from our department. He was 86 years old. It is with great sadness that we announce this loss, the passing of a true pioneer in the field of pediatric neurology who chaired our Department of Pediatrics at Tokyo Women’s Medical University, for a quarter of a century, teaching and mentoring young doctors and leading us into the 21st century.

Dr. Fukuyama was born in Miyazaki, Japan on 28 May, 1928. He completed his medical training at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 1948-1952. His internship was at the University of Tokyo Hospital, Tokyo, 1952-1953 and he completed a postgraduate course, at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, 1954-1957. He obtained a PhD at the University of Tokyo, in 1957, and a Diploma of Medicine at the University of Tokyo, in 1959.

He completed his training at the University of Tokyo under Professor Tadao Takatsu (1910-1974), professor Toshihiko Tokizane (1909-1973), and Professor Seturo Ebashi (1922-2006). Professors Tokizane and Ebashi helped him to identify Fukuyama type congenital muscular dystrophy in terms of creatine kinase and electromyographic data. His major fields of Interest have been in child neurology, with emphasis on pediatric epileptology, pediatric neuro-muscular disorders, clinical neurogenetics, and international relations.

Professor Fukuyama presented a seminal paper entitled "A Peculiar Form of Congentital Progressive Muscular Dystrophy" (by Fukuyama Y, Kawazura M, Haruna H. Pediatria Universitatis Tokyo 1960 ; 4 : 5 – 8). The characteristics outlined were as follows: Early onset, usually before 9 months of age, Hypotonia and weakness in early infancy, later development of muscle wasting and joint contractures; Involvement is diffuse and extensive but most prominent proximally, myopathic facial appearance nearly constant, pseudo-hypertrophy in half of cases. Thanks to the success of professor Ebashi, it became possible to measure serum creatine kinase in patients who had been thought have so-called cerebral palsy. Furthermore, Dr. Kawazura discovered that some patients had high serum creatine kinase values. These investigators also found, with Professor Tokizane ‘s support, that electromyographic patterns are not neurogenic.

Fukuyama congenital muscular dystrophy is seen almost exclusively in Japan, where it is the second most common form of childhood muscular dystrophy (after Duchenne muscular dystrophy). Fukuyama congenital muscular dystrophy has an estimated incidence of 2 to 4 per 100,000 Japanese infants. (National Institutes of Health - Published: July 14, 2014). At the time of his passing, Professor Fukuyama had been eagerly anticipating assessment of the effectiveness of new treatments for Fukuyama congenital muscular dystrophy.

The depth and breadth of his accomplishments are a testament to his commitment to patients, their families, the university, his coworkers and advances in pediatric neurology worldwide. He will be sorely missed by friends and colleagues alike, thanks to his tireless efforts to advance Child Neurology, always based on his belief in “slow but steady, life is long” progress. His way of questioning students was both demanding and nurturing, as he guided students in figuring out facts on their own through the process of answering his questions. In this way, he inspired students to study more. He placed great importance on obtaining the clinical findings of each patient, as he dealt with them, by meticulously questioning them on medical history and the findings that can be obtained through our five senses. He thereby emphasized much more than the results of laboratory examinations. He was always striving to obtain a better quality of life for each patient that he cared for; he considered total care for patients to be of supreme importance. By leaving some mysteries of medicine unresolved when teaching, he was able to devise stimulating questions and promote lively and informative discussions at conferences and scientific meetings. He loved talking with young doctors and other colleagues during night-long social activities, fuelled by a little alcohol and good comradery. He had a mountain of literature in his home, which he managed with the help of his wife Ayako. His famous library was very impressive to the many people who visited his home. He and Ayako loved dogs, and they gave the name Fukutin (the designation of the Fukuyama type congenital muscular dystrophy gene) to one of their dogs. He had been concerned about the lack of global perspective of Japanese and Asian doctors and continued encouraging young doctors to be more international. Not only was Professor Fukuyama a life-long teacher and mentor, he was also a leader in the field of Pediatric Neurology throughout the world.

Most Recent Positions

  • Emeritus Professor, Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Tokyo
  • Honorary Chairman, Board of Trustees, Japanese Society of Child Neurology
  • Honorary President, Asian & Oceanian Child Neurology Association
  • Honorary Chairman of Infantile Seizure Society

Major Fields of Interest

Child neurology, with emphasis on pediatric epileptology, pediatric neuro-muscular disorders, clinical neurogenetics, international relations

Honorary Memberships in Academic Societies

  • Honorary Chairman, Board of Trustees, Japanese Society of Child Neurology (since 1993)
  • Honorary President, Asian & Oceanian Child Neurology Association (since 1992)
  • Honorary Chairman, Infantile Seizure Society (since 2013)
  • Honorary Member of the following societies:
  • American Academy of Neurology (since 1990)
  • American Neurological Association (since 2006)
  • Canadian Child Neurology Society (since 1985)
  • Child Neurology Society (US) (since 1986)
  • European Paediatric Neurology Society (since 2005)
  • International Child Neurology Association (since 2010)
  • Japan Epilepsy Society (since 1998)
  • Japan Pediatric Society (since 1999)
  • Japanese Society of Neurology (since 2000)
  • Japanese Society of Clinical Neurophysiology (since 1995)
  • Japanese Society of Human Genetics (since 1999)
  • Japan Teratology Society (since 1998)
  • Philippine Child Neurology Society (since 2008)

Active Member of the Following Societies

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Epilepsy Society
  • American Society of Human Genetics
  • Corresponding Member of the Sociétè Européenne de Neurologie Pédiatrique (since 2002)
  • 4th President, International Child Neurology Association (1982-1986)
  • President, The Joint Meeting of the 5th International Child Neurology Congress and the 3rd Asian & Oceanian Congress of Child Neurology, Tokyo, November 1990.
  • President, Infantile Seizure Society (1998-2001, 2005-2012)


  • University: Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 1948-1952
  • Internship: University of Tokyo Hospital, Tokyo, 1952-1953
  • Postgraduate: Postgraduate Course, Faculty of Medicine,
  • University of Tokyo, Tokyo, 1954-1957
  • Doctorate: University of Tokyo, 1957
  • Diploma of Medicine: University of Tokyo, 1959


  • Clinical Associate: Department of Pediatrics, University of Tokyo, 1957-1960
  • Assistant Professor: (same) 1960-1964
  • Associate Professor: (same) 1964-1965
  • Chief Pediatrician: National Children’s Hospital, Tokyo, 1965-1967
  • Professor & Chairman: Department of Pediatrics,
  • Tokyo Women’s Medical College, Tokyo, 1967-1994
  • Guest Professor: Department of Pediatrics,
  • Saitama Medical University, Saitama, 1994-1999
  • Emeritus Professor: Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Tokyo 1994-present
  • Director: Child Neurology Institute, Tokyo 1994-present
  • President: Infantile Seizure Society, Tokyo 1998-present 
Fukuyama group


  • 1989. Kimura Taro Prize, Japanese Epilepsy Association
  • 1992. Frank Ford Lectureship Award, International Child Neurology Association
  • 1993. Achievement Award, Japan Epilepsy Research Foundation
  • 1996. Bronze Medal, Societa Italiana di Neuropediatria
  • 1999. Duchenne-Erb Prize, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Muskelkranke
  • 1999. Achievement Award, Japanese Society of Human Genetics
  • 1999. Achievement Grand Award, Japan Medical Association
  • 2002. Lifetime Achievement Award, World Federation of Neurology
  • 2003. International Henri Gastaut Prize, French Chapter of the ILAE
  • 2004. The William G. Lennox Award, American Epilepsy Society
  • 2007. Ambassador for Epilepsy Award, ILAE/IBE
  • 2008. The Asahi Award 2007, The Asahi Shimbun Cultural Foundation
  • 2008. Achievement Grand Award, 2008, Japan Pediatric Society
  • 2008. Special Recognition Award, Japanese Society of Child Neurology
  • 2008. The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon,
  • The Cabinet Office, Japanese Government
  • 2010. The First Japan Epilepsy Society Outstanding Achievement Award.

Selected List of Books (first-author or editor):

  • Epilepsy. The Clinic and The Research. Igaku Shoin, Tokyo, 1974. 666 pp. (in Japanese)
  • Clinical Aspects of Epilepsy. Tokyo Igaku Publ, Tokyo, 1977. 314 pp. (in Japanese)
  • Child Neurology. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1982. 419 pp.
  • Epilepsies in Childhood. 2nd ed. Ishiyaku Publ, Tokyo, 1984. 204 pp. (in Japanese)
  • Child Neurology Atlas. Shindan To Chiryo Publ, Tokyo, 1986. 368 pp. (in Japanese)
  • Neurological Examinations in Children. Kanehara Publ, Tokyo. 1987. 324 pp. (in Japanese)
  • EEG and Evoked Potentials in Children. Kanehara Publ, Tokyo, 1990. 369 pp. (in Japanese)
  • Modern Perspectives of Child Neurology. JSCN, Tokyo, 1991. 360 pp.
  • Febrile Seizures –Modern Concept–. Nihon Shoni-iji Publ, Tokyo, 1991. 156 pp. (in Japanese)
  • Fetal and Neonatal Neurology. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1992. 388 pp.
  • Crossroads of Child Neurology. TWMU, Tokyo, 1995. 728 pp.
  • Congenital Muscular Dystrophies. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1997. 440 pp.
  • Epilepsy Bibliography - Books and Monographs. (1945-2003). 8th print ed. Seiwa Shoten: Tokyo, 2004. 234 pp.
  • Biology of Seizure Susceptibility in Developing Brain, John Libbey Eurotext, Montrouge 2008. 231 pp.
  • Epilepsy Bibliography – Books and Monographs (1945-2009). 10th ed. Online. ILAE website. 2009.

Recent Publications in Journals:

  • Fukuyama Y, ed. West syndrome and other infantile epileptic encephalopathies. Brain & Development 2001; 23(7): 441-769.
  • Fukuyama Y, ed. Chromosomal aberrations and epileptic syndromes. Brain & Development 2005; 27: 79-147 and 358-391.
  • Fukuyama Y, ed. Neuronal migration disorders and childhood epilepsies. J Child Neurol 2005; 20(4): 273-397.
  • Maeda Y, Fukuyama Y, et al. Rasmussen syndrome: Multifocal spread of inflammation suggested from MRI and PET findings. Epilepsia 2003; 44: 1118-1121.
  • Dravet C, Fukuyama Y, et al. Severe myoclonic epilepsy in infancy: Dravet syndrome. Advances in Neurology 2005; 95: 71-102.
  • Oguni H, Fukuyama Y, et al. Severe myoclonic epilepsy in infancy: Clinical analysis and relation to SCN1A mutation in a Japanese cohort. Advances in Neurology 2005; 95: 103-113.
  • Dravet C, Fukuyama Y, et al. Severe myoclonic epilepsy in infancy (Dravet syndrome). In: Roger J, et al. Epileptic syndromes in infancy, childhood and adolescence. 4th Ed. John Libbey Eurotext, Montrouge. 2005: 89-113.
  • Fukuyama Y, Sakauchi M. Syndromes des crises bénignes du nourrisson. Epilepsies 2006; 18(1): 8-23.
  • Fukuyama Y, ed. Epileptic syndromes in infancy and early childhood. Epilepsy Res 2006; 70 Supplement: 279 pages.
  • Kato N, Fukuyama Y, et al. Paroxysmal kinesigenic choreoathetosis: From first discovery in 1892 to genetic linkage with benign familial infantile convulsions. Epilepsy Res 2006; 70 Suppl: S174-S184.
  • Fukuyama Y, ed. Status epilepticus in infants and young children. Acta Neurol Scand 2007; 115 Suppl 186: 86 pp.
  • Fukuyama Y. History and perspectives of Fukuyama congenital muscular dystrophy research. Brain and Nerve; 2008; 60(1): 43-52.
  • Fukuyama Y. Japanese activities in epileptology assessed from an international viewpoint – On the occasion of winning the ILAE/IBE Ambassador for Epilepsy Award 2007 –.
  • Tenkan Kenkyu (J Jpn Epilepsy Soc) 2008; 26: 87-93. (in Japanese with English abstract)
  • Fukuyama Y, Takahashi T, Hirose S, Takeuchi Y, guest editors. Febrile seizures and related conditions. Special sections I and II. Brain & Development 2009; 31(5): 358-404; Brain & Development 2010; 32(1): 33-77.
  • Fukuyama Y, Takahashi T, Hirose S, Matsuishi T, guest editors. Epilepsy in autism spectrum disorders and related conditions. Brain & Development 2010; 32(9): 708-789.

Submitted by Makiko Osawa, MD, PhD. 
President, Japan Epilepsy Society
Chairperson,  Infantile Seizure Society
Professor Emeritus, Chairperson of Alumuni Association, Department of Pediatrics, Tokyo Women's Medical University