Professor Ritsuko Hayakawa 1938–2006
Born in Kyoto in 1938, Professor Ritsuko Hayakawa was educated at the Nagoya University School of Medicine and became a resident in 1963. She trained in dermatology at the Nagoya University in 1964 and started working as a dermatologist at Nagoya National Hospital in 1965. She was appointed Senior Resident at the Nagoya University School of Medicine in 1967 and became an Assistant Lecturer at Nagoya University School of Medicine in 1971. She was then appointed Assistant Professor of Dermatology of the Nagoya University School of Medicine and Director of the Division of Dermatology, Nagoya University Branch Hospital in 1975. She was also the Vice Director of the Department of General Medicine between 1997 and 2001 and Professor of Environmental Dermatology, Donated Kowa Department of Nagoya University School of Medicine between 1998 and 2001. After her retirement from Nagoya University Branch Hospital, she continued her academic career as Visiting Professor, Aichi Gakuin University School of Odontology in 2002 and Director of Dermatology and Allergology, The First Clinic, Nagoya (a group of out‐patient clinics) in 2005.
Professor Hayakawa was an excellent dermatologist with a quiet and meticulous approach to patient care that endeared her to patients, peers and colleagues alike. She was a great teacher of dermatology and was a role model for medical students and dermatology residents in Japan. She was a champion for contact and occupational dermatology both in Japan and internationally. She was instrumental in the early development and promotion of the subspecialty of contact dermatitis in Japan. She had a passion for cosmetic contact dermatitis and together with her dermatology colleagues in Japan, unraveled the cause of pigmented contact dermatitis from Japanese cosmetics, which included Sudan I or 1‐phenylazo‐2‐naphthol in Japanese cosmetics. She also identified Naphthol AS, a coupling agent of azo dyes used for cotton flannels, as a cause of pigmented contact dermatitis. Throughout her academic career, she contributed to 992 scientific papers in local and international journals and 93 books.
Professor Hayakawa with her colleagues launched the journal Environmental Dermatology in 1994, to enhance interest in contact and occupational dermatology in Japan and internationally. She was an Associate Editor of the journal between 1994 and 2003.
She became the General Secretary of Japanese Society for Contact Dermatitis between 1975 and 2003 and its President between 1998 and 2003 and was the Chairperson of the Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting twice (in 1979 and 2000). She was also a Board Member of the Japanese Society for Dermatoallergology (1994–2004), the Japanese Society for Cosmetic Sciences (1985–2006) and the Japanese Association for Latex Allergy (1995–2006).
Professor Hayakawa was a member of the International Contact Dermatitis Research Group from the early 1990s and was its General Secretary for many years. She organized the 10th ICDRG meeting in Nagoya in 1995.
In recognition of her contribution to contact and occupational dermatology in Japan, Professor Hayakawa was awarded the Dr Yayoi Yoshioka’s Prize in 1990.
She died on 14 April 2006 at the age of 67. The generations of doctors she taught, trained and nurtured will always be immensely grateful to her. She was also a devoted family person and was survived by her husband and 3 children.