Pediatric Rheumatology Association of Japan (PRAJ)

Pediatric Rheumatology Association of Japan (PRAJ)


History and Development of the Pediatric Rheumatology Association of Japan

Around 1965, when I entered the medical office, rheumatic diseases in childhood referred to rheumatic fever. The children’s wards always had one or two children who were hospitalized due to acute rheumatic fever; some had pericarditis, combined valvular disease, cardiac failure complication, or severe Sydenham’s chorea. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis(JIA) (which was called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis(JRA) or Still’s disease), systemic lupus erythematosus(SLE), and Juvenile dermatomyositis(JDM) were rarely hospitalized, and progressive systemic sclerosis(PSS) was put into in-hospital educational programs. The Japan College of Rheumatology, at that time, held symposiums and panel discussions annually where bacteriologists, immunologists, and cardiologists listened to presentations in rooms. In such a situation, I tried to catch up with unfamiliar terms. However, I remember that the interactions among doctors from fundamental medicine were flowering.

The former Japan Society for Pediatric Infectious Disease and Immunology (Japanese Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases) was the place for pediatricians to make researches public, which seemed to me like borrowing the venue used for presentations of infectious diseases. My former teacher, Professor Kazuo Baba, Nihon University Hospital’s pediatrics department, who upheld the opinion that “a presentation should be made at an expertise meeting; if confident, at an international meeting,” seemed uncomfortable making a presentation in this society. At that time, subcommittees within pediatrics tended to name their society/association according to the Science Council of Japan. The Japan Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology, hence, changed its name to the Japanese Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and thus the number of reports about rheumatism dropped sharply.

Given this trend, it was natural that a movement to create a new place for pediatrics to discuss rheumatic diseases should rise. Although some doctors thought too many associations existed, there was strong support to launch an association. In this manner, the 1st Japan Pediatric Rheumatology Study Group was held in 1991.

Although the number of participants was not very large, the debates and discussions were more enthusiastic than in any other association. Naturally, no one intended to stick to the presentation times or stop the question and answer sessions; they would have continued talking until the next morning if the chair had not intervened. As such, the good tradition of embarrassing the organizer, which means a great place for active discussions, was already established from the beginning.

In 2001, our group was approved as a subcommittee of the Japan Pediatric Society and named the Pediatric Rheumatology Association of Japan.

Until 30 years ago, rheumatism in childhood referred to rheumatic fever, and the diagnosis was made by conducting a biological examination and the serum reaction of Streptococcus. Until 20 years ago, JRA treatment was mainly aspirin administration; then 10 years ago, MTX was introduced and aspirin became a contraindication. Thus, if an incident occurred due to the use of aspirin, patients would sue and the hospital would surely lose. In 2008, biological drugs were introduced in pediatric treatment; anticytokine therapies started, which have been leading toward an era of healing JIA. Besides, The Chronic Infantile Neurological Cutaneous and Articular(CINCA), TNF receptor associated periodic syndrome(TRAPS), Pyogenic arthritis with pyodermagangrenosum and ance(PAPA), and Periodic fever, aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis and adenitis(PFAPA) came to be known as autoinflammatory syndromes, and genetic analyses are required for diagnosis.

With this in mind, I feel excited about the next 5 to 10 years and the upcoming era; simultaneously, none of us can lose foci to keep up with the times. In addition, the association needs to maintain close relationships with other countries, especially in Asia, and encourage mutual interaction.

Satoshi Fujikawa
Fujikawa Pediatric Clinic

List of Past Presidents

  Name Affiliation Period
1st President Nobuo WATANABE Kyorin University 1991-2005
2nd President Shunpei YOKOTA Yokohama City University 2006–2009
3rd President Shuji TAKEI Kagoshima University 2010–2013
4th President Yasuhiko ITOH Nihon Medical School 2014–2017
5th President Masaaki MORI Tokyo Medical and Dental University 2018–2020
6th President Takako MIYAMAE Tokyo Women's Medical University 2021–Present

List of Past Academic Annual Meeting Chairs

Time Name Affiliation Date
1st Meeting Nobuo WATANABE Kyorin University November 30, 1991
2nd Meeting Teiichi ODA Fukuoka University November 21, 1992
3rd Meeting Satoshi FUJIKAWA Medical University November 27, 1993
4th Meeting Masashi HOKONOHARA Kagoshima University November 30, 1994
5th Meeting Junichi YATA Tokyo Medical and Dental University October 28, 1995
6th Meeting Shumpei YOKOTA Yokohama City University October 26, 1996
7th Meeting Osamu TATSUZAWA National Pediatric Hospital October 25, 1997
8th Meeting Yasuhisa KATO Kurume University October 17-18, 1998
9th Meeting Noriyuki WADA The Jikei University School of Medicine October 23, 1999
10th Meeting Yoichi KONO Chiba University October 14, 2000
11th Meeting Shuji TAKEI Kagoshima University October 27–28, 2001
12th Meeting Atsushi KOMIYAMA Shinshu University September 27–28, 2002
13th Meeting Kunihiko AKAGI Kanagawa Children's Medical Center October 11–12, 2003
14th Meeting Yasuji INAMO Nihon University October 09–10, 2004
15th Meeting Yasuhiko ITOH Nippon Medical School October 08–09, 2005
16th Meeting Hiroshi KAWAI Nagano Children's Hospital October 06–08, 2006
17th Meeting Takeshi NOMA Kitazato University September 28–30, 2007
18th Meeting Tadashi ARIGA Hokkaido University October 03–05, 2008
19th Meeting Takuji MURATA Osaka Medical College October 02–04, 2009
20th Meeting Noriko KINJO University of the Ryukyus February 11–13, 2011
21st Meeting Mari MIYOSHI Hyogo Prefectural Kobe Children's Hospital October 14–16, 2011
22nd Meeting Naomi IWATA Aichi Children's Health and Medical Center October 05–06, 2012
23rd Meeting Tsutomu OISHI Saitama Children's Medical Center October 11–13, 2013
24th Meeting Hiroaki UMEBAYASHI Miyagi Children's Hospital October 03–05, 2014
25th Meeting Akihiro YACHIE Kanazawa University October 09–11, 2015
26th Meeting Minako TOMIITA Chiba Children's Hospital October 21–23, 2016      
27th Meeting Ryuta NISHIKOMORI Kyoto University October 06–08, 2017          
28th Meeting Masaaki MORI Tokyo Medical and Dental University October 26–28, 2018      
29th Meeting Ichiro KOBAYASHI KKR Sapporo Medical Center October 04–06, 2019   
30th Meeting Takako MIYAMAE Tokyo Women's Medical University October 15–17, 2021      
31th Meeting (Tentative) Utako KANEKO Niigata University October 14–16, 2022      

・The association was approved as a subcommittee at the 11th Japan Pediatric Society meeting.

・The 2020 Congress has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.