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Shigeaki Hinohara

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 22 August 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3891
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. Hamburg
  1. ns{at}

Oslerian scholar, prolific author, and peace advocate

Shigeaki Hinohara was a friendly man with a childlike zest for life. He was vibrant and hardworking—when he turned 100 in 2011 he was still practising medicine, writing books, and giving inspirational talks and speeches. Perhaps Japan’s most famous doctor, he was loved by millions and was considered a national treasure.

Hinohara began his medical career in 1941 in Tokyo at St Luke’s International Hospital, founded in 1902 by a missionary doctor. A devout Christian, Hinohara remained at the hospital for the rest of his life. He was named chief of internal medicine in 1951 and hospital director in 1992. At the time of his death he was honorary president of the hospital and chairman emeritus of the board of trustees of St Luke’s International University (previously St Luke’s College of Nursing).

Discovering William Osler

Hinohara fell under the spell of legendary Canadian physician and humanist William Osler in August 1945 when, shortly after the end of the second world war, US Army chief surgeon Warner Bowers gave him a gift ofOsler’s book Aequanimitas: With Other Addresses to Medical Students, Nurses, and Practitioners of Medicine. The book became Hinohara’s “companion on the journey.” In 1983 he cofounded the Japan Osler Society and was an honorary member of the Osler Club of London and the American Osler Society.

In 1983 he and Shakespeare scholar Hisae Niki published a book of 20 of Osler’s lectures translated into …

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