A few words of self-introduction


   As Dr. Yuji Okazaki’s successor, I will be assuming the post of director of Matsuzawa Hospital starting on July 1. With the goal of further improving psychiatric care in Tokyo, I look forward to working closely with all the staff.

   I graduated university in 1980 and from the Spring of 1982 to 1991, I was employed at Matsuzawa Hospital. Having just completed my internship and found employment as a member of the regular staff here, I began my duties in the chronic diseases ward treating patients with a 20 or even 30 years’ history of hospitalization.

   It was around this time that I received a sage bit of advice from then director, Dr. Haruo Akimoto, who warned me to avoid what he called the YAVIS syndrome, an acronym for Young, Attractive, Vivid, Intellectual, and Successful. To wit, his advice was an admonition not to treat only those patients one found it comfortable to treat while avoiding those who were less complaisant.
As I made my rounds of the same ward after a lapse of some 30 years, I was dumbfounded to be addressed by name by patients who knew me from my earlier days. There were evidently many patients who had continued to be cared for at Matsuzawa Hospital over three decades. While I was busy building my career as a physician, growing a family, and enjoying the company of my friends, the patients had spent this time alone, in some corner of the ward at Matsuzawa Hospital…a sobering thought which impressed upon me the gravity of the patients’ lives and a sense of the powerlessness of the psychiatrist to better their lot, but simultaneously inspired me with the humble determination to work diligently towards this end. Director Akimoto’s words had finally found their mark.

   For many of these patients, perhaps it is too late. But the development of new medications and rapid diagnostic and treatment methods have improved the prognosis of psychiatric disorders by leaps and bounds. Nonetheless, the fact remains that in the face of mental illness, the power of psychiatry is still feeble, and as ever, the lives of the patients are fraught with suffering. As the director of Matsuzawa Hospital, even as I am confronted by this harsh reality, I am determined to expand our policy of patient-based, nurturing care. I look forward to working with all of you toward this worthy end.